The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
by Markus Zusak
My rating: A+
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.
Oh. My. Goodness. This has been on my to be read shelf for quite some time, but I just haven’t ever picked it up, despite all of the amazing reviews it received. Let me just be clear about one thing right now: If you haven’t read this yet and have been hesitating like I did, GO READ THIS NOW!
I really enjoyed Zusak’s other book, i am the messenger, but this one was so much better for me. The writing was absolutely beautiful, to the point of being poetic at times. The characters were so rich and perfectly flawed. This was by no means just another Holocaust novel. I’ve read a ton of books set during WWII, and this ranked right up there with The Diary of Anne Frank or Night. It was so refreshing to have a different point of view on the story. Zusak definitely made me examine myself and how I might have reacted to several of the situations in the book.
I don’t want to say much more than that for fear of spoiling it. I will give you a few warnings, though:
1) Have Kleenex handy. I didn’t cry, but I know many people that did.
2) Zusak’s style is a bit different and sometimes hard to get into. If you aren’t immediately hooked by this, that’s okay. Give it some time. I didn’t really get hooked until about page 250, but the other 300 pages were SO worth the wait.
What are you waiting for? Go get it!