Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 5/5 stars
Goodreads Synopsis: It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still. By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down. In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
Spoiler Free Thoughts: Wow. This book. Let me start off by saying, even if you aren’t a big historical fiction reading, please read this book. It was phenomenal. My absolute favourite part of The Book Thief was the point of view and writing style (and characters… Okay the whole book was amazing but I’ll just start of with talking about the writing.) This book is told in a very interesting way, it is from Deaths point of view. I have never read any books told this way and I don’t think there are many books even out there told from such an interesting perspective. (If there is please let me know in the comments, I’d love to read some more!) But it was like Death was its own character (that’s why I’m capializing it) and it was so interesting to read. Also the way Zusak wrote gave me this very raw and authentic feeling. I don’t normally read historical fiction, ever, I’ve probably read less than 10 historical fiction books in my life but ones that take place in and around World War 2 are by far my favourite. The more of them I read the more of them I want to pick up. It was a book well over 500 pages and sometimes books seem to drag on when they are that long but not The Book Thief.
The plot was interesting but not too fast paced but the chapters were also short so even at slower times in the book it didn’t feel like it was dragging at all which was an aspect I really loved. It was very thought provoking so it gave you lots of time to think about everything that was going on but it also gave you time to get to know and love the characters.
Ah the characters. There were many of them but again as I mentioned before,because of the length you got to know them all and they were all developed so well. Even minor characters like the mayors wife had a little back story that was necessary and made the book better. And of course, our main character, Liesel was so loveable. Me, a book lover, reading a book about a girl who learns to read and then goes off to steal books because she loves them so much was just a really nice thing to read about even though stealing is obviously bad. And then there was Hans, Liesels foster father. A lot of times in books you read about orphaned children who go to their new foster parents house and the foster parents are rude but not Liesel’s. Her new foster Mama and especially Hans, her new Papa were so very kind. Liesel and Hans’s relationship was one of the best and probably my favourite relationship between two characters that I have ever read. Rudy, Liesel’s best friend and partner in crime for the novel was adorable. The Jew, Max, who they hid was also just so nice. I loved his relationship with Liesel almost as much as her relationship with Hans. In conclusion to my non spoiler thoughts, this book was heartfelt, interesting and tear jerking. If you are picking this book up soon make sure to have a box of tissues near by, you will (well I did at least) need them.
Spoilery Thoughts: SO hello to everyone who’s read the book (please do not read this part of my post if you haven’t read The Book Thief, I know you might want to but don’t spoil it for yourself.) I want to start off my talking about how Death technically spoiled the book for us, multiple times throughout the story. In any other book I would have been upset but the way it was done in this novel didn’t effect the impact that the end of the book had on me so I didn’t have a problem with it. I think knowing basically everyone was going to die even added a little more suspense to the book because every chapter nearing the end I was thinking Is this it? Is this when they all die. It also made it more like the book was about the whole story and not just the very sad ending. Also thank goodness Zusak didn’t kill off Max as well. I was so emotionally attached to him by the end of the book (to be honest I was attached to every character) but after all Max went through I just wanted someone other than Liesel to not have died. And the scene where Liesel and Max reunited was so special and so sad. After Liesel read to him in the basement and in her bedroom when she didn’t even know if he would survive or not, she was always there for him and he came back for her too. What were your thoughts on The Book Thief? Let me know below but if your comment contains spoilers please note that at the begining of your comment just so people who haven’t read the book don’t read it. 🙂