It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.
By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.
But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Publication Date: March 14th, 2006
I have to say that although it broke my heart, I was, and still am, glad I was there.
The Book Thief wasn’t an easy read by any means—quite the opposite, actually—but in the end, the hardship was infinitely worth it.
I’m still reeling from all the emotions this book invoked in me, and I’m not sure I can find the right words to subsume exactly how much it moved me. This book made my heart ache beyond words, and made me feel so much grief, and love, and sadness.
I wasn’t sure what lay ahead of me when I started on The Book Thief. The story could have developed in so many different ways; matters could have been overdramatized—inappropriately so—the story could have been utterly misguided, shallow, superficial, or predictable … I could go on.
However, Markus Zusak avoided all these pitfalls, and managed to concoct an immensely raw and authentic tale. I had not anticipated in the least to be as impressed as I was with this book, and not as emotionally overwhelmed, but I ended up being rendered entirely speechless—in the best way possible.
There is no doubt about the fact that Markus Zusak is obviously an extraordinarily talented writer; he more than once made me wish I was able to assemble such wonderful sentences the way he does, and paint such vivid images with words alone—the style in which the story we’re being told was narrated was beyond question utterly breathtaking.
The words were on their way, and when they arrived, she would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like the rain.
What particularly impressed me, however, and was conducive to the feel of the story setting, was how he integrated German words and sentences in a way that didn’t come off as pretentious; the German phrases he used fit.
Markus Zusak’s beautiful writing was only surpassed by his incredible talent of forming characters that slowly, but surely, sneak their way into your heart, despite their flaws and misdoings.
He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It’s his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry.
There is a sensitivity and a sincerity in them that makes you love them all the more, and you can’t help but feel for every single one of them, no matter how despicably they might have seemed to you at one point.
This book did not only bring tears to my eyes—it made my heart feel hollow and my chest hurt with sadness, and it made me want to stop reading as my heart grew heavy, while, at the same time, I was eagerly turning another page, unable to tear my eyes away.
There is really nothing left for me to say but this: The Book Thief deserves nothing less than five brilliant, glowing stars.
I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.
You’re interested in this book?