Saturday, June 25, 2011
Review: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Synopsis: It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel 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 before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
Nazi Germany was a terrible time in human history. There was so much death on both sides and in that period, the true natures of humans were shown. There were many heroes, many cowards, and many survivors. The Book Thief is the story of a girl, Liesel, narrated by Death.
This story was original in every way. It explored a different and less seen side of that hard time. Liesel wasn't a Jew, but she was a strong girl who understood what was happening was wrong.
Liesel's story is unique and beautiful. She lives with many hardships like the death of close family members but she also finds joy in simple things like books, friends, and the accordion. Her family adores her and she begins to feel the same way easily. It's easy to like Liesel. She's fierce but gentle too. Though none of the story is told directly in her perspective, the reader will connect with her. Liesel isn't always a hero. She makes mistakes and is sometimes very rude but she's a good person at heart.
The plot of the story was like life- there were some parts that were intense and full of action but most of it was Liesel coping. You might have thought it would get dull reading over 500 pages of life but the narration was done with such amazing voice that each page was fun to read.
The end of the story had me in tears (don't worry- I won't spoil it for you!) even if I was expecting a sad ending from the beginning. The story never pretended otherwise. The Book Thief is all about the power of words. How they can affect a life. Hitler did terrible things because he had the power of words to persuade people to do what he wished. He was able to make a whole nation submit to him. That level of power could have been used for good or evil. Liesel also understood the power of words. She calmed and soothed, she saved lives with her words. Reading what her words did is inspirational. It makes me look at books in a whole new way.
I loved this book. It was a pleasure to read and it gave me insight on a harsh time in history. The Book Thief should be read by everyone because it has such a powerful message and a cast of lovable, 3D characters. A definite must read, 4.5 stars,
**** 1/2 *