Book Review: The Book Thief

It’s Tuesday, so that means it is time for another book review!  Tuesday Book Reviews are a part of my Daily Post, to learn more about it, click here.

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A New York Times bestseller for seven years running that’s coming to movie theaters on November 15, 2013, this Printz Honor book by the author of I Am the Messenger is an unforgettable tale about the ability of books to feed the soul.Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking 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. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.-Goodreads summary

Favorite Quote from the Book (New Segment!):

I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.

MY THOUGHTS:

Judge the Book by its Cover:


For a long time I did not understand the significance of this cover. How is a stack of dominoes relevant to the story? After certain scenes from the book and much thought, I came to the conclusion that the game of dominoes serves as imagery for the overall plot. Think of the game: there’s a succession of domino cubes; with a slight nudge on one, the whole line begins to fall one after another. In my days of physics, my teacher would state Newton’s principle that “Every action has a subsequent action.” Boom. That’s The Book Thief for you. Regardless of how much good readers wish for the characters, World War II is beyond their control. They are forced to become domino pieces in the intricate design created by government, and like the game, they are destined to fall. What an awesome cover design by Zusak and his cover artist!

Things that Made Me Happy:

As an avid lover of historical fiction novels, especially those written about the World War II era, I am certainly displeased at how long it took me to read this book. Regardless, I read it, and I insanely love it.

Overall, the book bestows a variety of meaningful messages to its readers. The powers of love, friendship, family, and words are the most prevalent in this novel, as they are learned by the main character, Liesel Meminger, who is living in Nazi Germany during World War II. Her struggles, failures, and successes are felt by the readers because at some point in our lives, we have all been Liesel-lost, confused, and feeling trapped within limitations. Liesel finds comfort through these hardships in those around her and through reading/stealing books. These people and books leave withstanding impacts on her life, which teach her the importance of the aforementioned themes.

Liesel acquires this understanding within this 500+ pages novel in the most interesting tale that has readers laughing on one page and bawling on the next. Narrated by Death, Liesel’s story unfolds beginning with a timid young girl and ends with a mature knowledgeable woman. Death includes the various people, events, and objects, which impact Liesel. In short this novel is a coming-of-age story (in my opinion it is one of the best). However, Liesel’s character and the narration set this book apart from books with similar “maturation” plot lines. As mentioned, readers have been like Liesel at least once in their lives, feeling the pressures of peers, unwilling to conform to trends, not understanding the world around us, etc. Through Death’s narration, readers embody Liesel. This sets apart The Book Thief from other books.

Simply, this book encourages readers to think: on the surface one could think, “What would I do if I were in Liesel’s circumstance?” However, the more invested one gets in the story, he or she finds himself asking, “How do I respond to situations that call for me to fit a mold?” Moreover, this book transcends its 1930s-1940s plot and is has the ability to be relevant to modern times; to say that this book is a beautifully and artistically creation is an understatement.

I certainly could continue praising this book, but I must encourage you to read it for yourselves!

Things that Made Me Unhappy:

Nothing.

My Rating:

★★★5/5 stars!

Recommendation:

Regardless of your age, genre preferences, etc., I highly encourage EVERYONE to read this book!

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Book Thief

  1. Great review- one of my favorite books ever, though I have to admit I started reading it, put it down and came back and read it about a year later. I guess it was hard for me to accept Death as the narrator.

    • I think this is one of those books that gets better as you age, as you tend to have a greater appreciation for life and its blessings. Since I’m 20, I think that I have a greater appreciation for Death as a narrator, as I believe it holds lots of symbolism in regards to the WWII era. Had I been younger, I, like you, would have thought it was odd!

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