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Sunday, 17 September 2017

Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


Book: The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
Series: stand alone
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 14th, 2006

A story about, among other things: A girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

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. 
The Book Thief is one of those legendary books that you hear about from every person you meet and every review you read about it exclaims how it is simply phenomenal. Sometimes, when you see a book like that, it kind of puts you off reading it, as you don’t think it’s going to be that good, and you fear it won’t live up to the hype. Well I can tell you, without a shadow of a doubt, that The Book Thief definitely deserves all the love and more.

It was so amazing! I'd watched the movie when it was first released, and I really enjoyed it, but when I started this book I honestly couldn’t remember specific details from the movie, so I went into it almost completely blind. And of course, I watched the movie again after I finished this book. This isn’t a comparison review, but as far as book-to-movie adaptations go, this is one of the better ones by far. While they couldn’t match everything exactly, the good far outweighed the bad! Go watch it if you haven’t yet.

Anyway! I'm babbling. The best way I can describe this book is that it’s a coming of age story of a young girl during World War II. Liesel has been sent to live with foster parents after her own mother disappeared and was unable to take care of her. And so we see Liesel settle into her new life, bond with her foster father, make so many friends that will change her life, and learn about herself due to circumstances surrounding the war.

This book is narrated by Death and while that sounds really strange at first, it turns out Death is a great narrator! By observing these characters we can get a great insight into them and he’s deadly honest and not apologetic for it in the slightest. He would add in little notes, almost like an afterthought, and it made the book that much more unique and interesting. He made every one of these characters lovable and it makes you want to know the history of every one of them. I just loved it.

Liesel starts off as this meek little girl, who would barely say a word and simply kept to herself. Yet, through her foster parents, and Rudy (her best friend) and the wonderful act of reading, Liesel grows throughout the book and learns so much. All these characters change, and they all use horrible names to describe each other so that at first you think they all hate each other. But you learn that calling someone an idiot is basically saying “I love you”. If Liesel’s foster mother didn’t verbally abuse her, then something was wrong. All these characters are unique and amazing and funny and so full of love for each other; they are all there for each other no matter what.

Also, this book is set in World War II, so everything is not all rosy and happy. The characters have to find happiness and laughter whenever they can, and Liesel finds it in words and the stories she reads. When bombs are dropping on her street and everyone is cowering in fear inside a basement, Liesel uses her words to calm everyone and make them forget, just for a moment, that they are in the midst of a war.

I cannot say much else about this book except to READ IT. Read it and weep, but be enlightened by the story and the characters and the love everyone has for each other.


  1. Great review! I love this book so much that I wrote my grad school thesis on it. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read it.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. I wish I had written my school thesis on a book! It is fabulous though. I hope you got a good grade! Thanks a lot.


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