The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief tells of Liesel Meminger, and her story. Narrated by Death, it covers the demise of her brother, her new family, and the boy she loves – with, of course, some adventures and thieving in between. For example, the famous Jesse Owens incident, playing football in the street, seeing Jews marched down the road, going to school, hiding a fist-fighting Jew in the basement and the greatest of all: learning to read and write. Whilst her adoptive Papa, Hans, teaches her to read, her adoptive Mama, Rosa, gets her to do the washing rounds and she meets the Mayor’s wife, Ilsa. In the future, Liesel will sneak into her house and steal books – even finding cookies on one occasion. And, not to forget, the accordion and its sounds keeps her going.
When I finished this book, I sat in a stunned silence whilst my mother laughed at the tears running down my face. Not the most sympathetic person, I grant you, but this book had me in that state of stunned-ness for rather a while.
Although I didn’t like the characters straight away, they grew on me, as did the story. The partnership of Rudy and Liesel was one I grew to love, and Hans was such an amazing character. I really loved Rosa, too – she reminded me of my own mother! The adventures shared with Liesel were incredible, and really fun – for example, I loved the Jesse Owens moment, and the times the book thief stole.
Her brother’s constant response kept me thinking about my own brother. The way it was written – as he kept popping up at Ilsa’s – kept Werner effectively on our mind all the while, and reminded us that Liesel still missed him.
Max’s struggle pulled at my heart strings, and the struggle of the Jews – especially as a lot of the German folk either weren’t aware or didn’t agree with it – was really heightened in this book. And the way that the story was told when the bombs began to fall, really made me feel for the Germans at this time. Yes, the Brits had the Blitz, but people forget about the Germans being bombed too – men, women, children, most of them innocents. Many people only remember one side of the story, especially if they are on that side.
I really enjoyed the way this book was told, also: narrated by Death. I have never read a book like this, and the constant comparing to colours makes me think a lot more about how lucky I am to be able to see, too.
5/5 stars, and I definitely recommend this book – even if you aren’t curious or interested about WWII Germany, it is an exquisite book anyway. The ending is rather satisfying, as well.