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Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Book Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief is a story narrated by Death, and when Death tells a story, you really have to listen. In WWII-Nazi Germany, following the death of her brother and being separated from her mother, Liesel Meminger goes to live with a poor foster family on Himmel Street. In such dangerous times, the family hide a Jew down in their basement and a beautiful friendship based on books and reading develops.

"I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right."


I absolutely loved this book and devoured it in 4 days (well, really 3 since one day I didn't get to read at all). It was unputdownable at times. One of my favourite things about this book (which was often cited as a negative in goodreads reviews) was the narrator of the story being Death. I thought this was a very unique idea from Markus Zusak and I really enjoyed the beautifully poetic way in which Death narrates the story. You can almost feel Death lingering over the story, similar to how Death lingered over those who lived back during WWII in Nazi Germany - you knew death was coming, you just didn't know when or for whom. Death sometimes spoilered certain characters' fates, but I felt that this only heightened my dread and anticipation.

So many beautiful characters...my favourites being Hans, Rudy and Max. All very interesting and rich and well-developed. Hans in particular stood out - his relationship with Liesel was simply beautiful. As a reader, you never forget the bond you form with the person who encourages your love for words and books, and Liesel received this encouragement not only from Hans, but also from Max. It really reminds you how important words are and what power they have.

The format of this book was interesting, with random interjections from Death. I felt this actually helped the story flow and broke up the text into more manageable chunks. Sometimes if I see a wall of text it takes me that much longer to get through it, but this format was much more suited to my way of reading.

I honestly can't think of a negative for this book...apart from the fact I wish there was more? I didn't want it to end, even though it felt tiring and heavy at times with such a dark theme as the Holocaust. I cried so much at this book, I could almost feel my heart splitting down the middle. Last year I got to visit Auschwitz and my memories of that harrowing place really contributed to the heartbreaking parts of this story. A beautifully written book that I feel everyone should read at least once. Often I read books knowing I'll never pick it up again (unless it's King, of course I'm reading those again!), but this is one I will definitely revisit, and one that I will recommend constantly to people. 5 stars out of 5 for me, if i could give more stars I definitely would!

"She was saying goodbye and she didn't even know it."

I'm off to cry again.......

Johann

1 comment :

  1. I have always been tempted to read this book but something put me off, maybe not knowing enough about it? But you have encouraged me to give it a go! 😀

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