Review: The Book Thief


The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak






The Down and Dirty

It's a simple story, really. A young German girl named Liesel is delivered to foster parents in a small town outside of Munich while Hitler rises to power. Her life is changed forever when her family hides a Jew in their basement.

The Literary Criticism

The beauty of this story lies in it's simplicity. The ease of the storyline allows author Markus Zusak to focus on the human condition. Interestingly, Death is chosen to narrate the story. This takes a bit of getting used to as the reader gets accustomed to Death's "voice." As it turns out, Death is a brilliant narrator who masterfully foreshadows the story, compelling the reader to turn the page.

This novel is chock full of poetic and simple illumination about the human condition. Evil exists in the world and while the universal question of "why?" cannot ever be fully answered, Zusak reveals both the beauty and ugliness of the world through his young characters.
Liesel calculated that there were four more reading sessions like that with Frau Holtzapfel before the Jews were marched through Molching.
They were going to Dachau, to concentrate
The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
You may well be wondering where the title The Book Thief figures into the story. That's easy: Liesel, a good girl at heart, feels compelled to steal books and the impact of books on her life cannot be overstated.

Indeed, the power of the written word is laced through the novel. The witholding of words when books are banned and the misuse of words to accomplish evil deeds are an important theme.

The words. Why did they have to exist? Without them, there wouldn't be any of this. Without words, the Fuhrer was nothing. There would be no limping prisoners, no need for consolation or worldly tricks to make us feel better.
What good were the words?
The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
Zusak's words are simple yet powerful and even illuminating. The novel is certainly well-written.


Our Recommendation

This is a young adult novel, but recommended for teens and adults alike. The story is certainly a powerful one and probably ought not to be missed.


19 comments:

  1. I keep meaning to read this. It sounds so good.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looks like another good candidate for the WWII reading challenge! I think I'm going to have to lengthen my goal!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is a perfect book for the WWII challenge! I loved this when I read it a couple of years ago. Sound unusual, so powerful, and such a compelling read.

    ReplyDelete
  4. My niece (12 at the time) talked me into reading this last year. Powerfully told story. I also loved the way the book was designed/printed.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I loved this book when I read it last year, like you say, it is its simplicity that gives it so much impact. My copy is now working its way around our office!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is on my TBR Challenge list and I intend to read it soon, I've heard so many good things about it, I'm looking forward to it - thanks for the review!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh I loved this book and the death as a narrator angle worked really well. I wouldn't classify this as YA too, it has a much wider appeal.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for the great review Michele...I definitely would like to read this one sometime this year.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've really been wanting to read this one for a while now as I've only heard great things about it. Now I really want to read it. Thanks for the great review.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Liesel sounds like my kind of girl. All joking aside, this sounds like a wonderful book, well worth reading. Thanks for the review.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for a great review Michele. I've got this one coming up for the WWII challenge and I can't wait to read it. I haven't run into anyone who hasn't like it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Nice review. I'm adding this to the TBR stack(s). I've heard or read more people praising this book than just about any other.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I LOVED this book! I agree that the story was simple and beautiful.

    I've created a post for your review here on War Through the Generation.

    --Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is in my tbr pile, except it keeps running off and hiding. I need to find it again, because I'm reading it for the Dewey's Books Challenge.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Love, love, love this book, and love, love love Zusak's writing style! Your review reminded me that I've been meaning to re-read it; I'm glad you enjoyed it as well!

    ReplyDelete
  16. This is in my TBR pile awaiting my attention (what isn't?). I'm looking forward to reading it, all the reviews I've seen have been positive. Thanks Michele!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I quite liked this, and I loved I Am the Messenger.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Charley -- I fully intend to read I am the Messenger soon. It's funny how one book leads you to another that you might not ever have seen.

    ReplyDelete

Fire away!