Published: March 14, 2006
Publisher: Knopf Books For Young Readers
Setting: Molching, German 1939
Source: Paperback, own copy
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time
The Book Thief starts off with Liesel, our main character, heading to her new foster family’s house. On the way, her brother ends up passing away. At the funeral, she steals a book, which ends up being the first book in her book stealing “career”. We go on an epic journey with Liesel as she steals books, learns to read, and becomes friends with a Jew. A Jew she’s not suppose to tell anyone else about because if she does, things may become fatal.
I found myself falling in love with all of the characters in this novel. They’re so beautifully written. They have striking personalities. They made my happy; they made me sad. I found myself laughing out loud a lot to what Liesel’s new found friend, Rudy, kept saying. He was a great addition to the story. I think my favorite character in this whole story was Hans Hubermann, Liesel’s papa. He was so kind and sweet. There really wasn’t anything to dislike about him.
This story wouldn’t have been as powerful if the following didn’t happen: Death wasn’t telling the story, the main character wasn’t a little girl, and if it’s wasn’t told from the German side of the Holocaust.
Death felt like a long lost friend to me. He didn’t seem like a bad thing. Reading this story actually made me accept death a little more because he doesn’t seem like such a bad guy. He hated some of the ways people died and that’s what I admired so much about this story. He had such a poetic way of telling Liesel’s story.
The thing I loved MOST about this story was that it was told from the German side. Every time I hear about the Holocaust, it’s always from the Jew’s. Don’t get my wrong, I love hearing about the Jewish side because I feel horrible about what happened to them. However, the Germans also suffered, and I feel like a lot of people don’t understand that because they go straight to hating the Germans. So it was interesting to see how they suffered and it made me sad just as much as the Jew’s.
There was so much heavy matter in this book. I love how this story touches prejudice and how it’s created, not made. I loved how a little boy just wanted to be Jesse Owens because he was a fast runner, but Jesse Owens was a black man. I also loved how this book teaches you to accepts others and to help those who are “smaller” than you are.
The ending. The ending was just beautiful. I absolutely loved it. There really isn’t anything I would change. It was so powerful. I actually felt a sense of peace. It was so a great ending to a great story.
Overall, I recommend this book. It’s so wonderful and powerful. It truly moves you. It moves you into a positive direction. I think everyone can learn something new about this book. That is not something you can say about many books now-a-days.
Some favorite quotes:
“The keep triggering me. They harass my memory. I see them tall in their heaps, all mounted on top of each other. There is air like plastic, a horizon like setting glue. There are skies manufactured by people, punctured and leaking, and there are soft, coal-colored clouds, beating like black hearts.”
“Summer came. For the book thief, everything was going nicely. For me, the sky was the color of Jews.”
“They were French, they were Jews, and they were you.”
“The first soldier did not see the bread- he was not hungry- but the first Jew saw it.”
“It kills me sometimes, how people die.”