Tuesday

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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. . . .

Death is the narrator of our tale - and as narrator’s go, I actually thought he was quite interesting. He’s not as depressing or as loathsome as you might think Death would be. He doesn’t wear a cloak or carry a scythe - although he does like that image of himself. And I found it quite beautiful when he describes how he would come for a dying person’s soul.

Our story takes place during World War II, Germany - where Death first encounters Liesel at 9 years of age, as he comes to collect the soul of her little brother. He becomes captivated by her, watching as she steals her first book. Liesel is on her way to meet the new couple who will be her foster parents and eventually her new family and home. I fell in love with Liesel and willed her to survive from chapter to chapter, and cheered on her relationships with her accordion playing Papa, a potty-mouthed Mama, a fist fighting Jew hidden in her basement, a boy with hair the color of lemons, a spitting neighbor, a depressed mayors wife, bonfires, air raids, drawing, reading, stolen books and the power of words.

Mr. Zusak has used a teenager as the voice for the struggling German people. When we think of Nazi Germany - we think of concentration camps, the millions of deaths, and a society that just went nuts. But this gives us a view of the German people and how they were affected by a leader who knew how to use words as his weapon - making them believe that his way was the only way for their country to prosper and be great. Liesel’s story focuses on what the situation really was like for normal-everyday German citizens.

I really can’t say I loved this story. Don’t take me wrong, I found it very interesting and I really did fall in love with the characters, but I found that I wasn’t fully engrossed by it. It was a bit difficult to get through the first couple of chapters and even took me a bit to accept that Death was our narrator. I also didn’t like that there was so much foreshadowing - meaning by mid-book I already knew what the outcome of most of our characters would be. When Death is your narrator - you sorta know what the outcome is. I also felt that the epilogue was a bit rushed, I would have liked more details - so it really didn’t leave me as fulfilled as I would have liked. But all in all, it is a book that I would still recommend. The story line, the details and the characters are well worth it.

6 comments:

Jess said...

I liked this book, but loved Zusak's I Am the Messenger. Great review!

Vanessa said...

Great review =D

Beth F said...

I agree that the ending was a bit rushed. But I loved the idea that Death was the narrator.

Nymeth said...

Ah well, we can't all love everything! I'm glad you enjoyed it still, though :)

Dar said...

Too bad you hadn't liked it more Nely. I'm still planning on reading it for the War Challenge this year.

Emily said...

I'm reading this right now, and so far I like Death as the narrator; it's a very unique perspective. I also, like you mentioned, like how it is the common German people that are portrayed.

I agree with the foreshadowing though; it's a bit too much.

Overall though, I'm enjoying the book so far!

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