September 24, 2011

REVIEW: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book ThiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5/5 stars. I always round up in GR.

The Book Thief is about a young girl, Liesel, and her journey through Nazi Germany. Along the way, she makes the greatest of friends and the deepest of loves. She ties a little piece of her heart to all the characters she meets, from her papa Hans and her mama Rosa, to Jewish fist-fighting Max, to the mayor's wife and to her best friend Rudy. She blooms with each relationship, opening up her past, writing her story, and moving forward. Each book she steals is a memory, each book a reminder, each book an escape from a reality far from what she wanted. Her last book an escape for Death.

I loved this book. This may not be one of my very favourites, but it was a wonderful read nonetheless. It took a while to get going in the beginning, but at the same time, it kept me reading. Zusak has a way with words in this novel that left me breathless and nodding my head in agreement. It has so many passages worth quoting and loving. I really liked how Death seemed to not enjoy his job a great deal. It is very different from other portrayals of Death. Made dying a little more light, I guess.

I can only say so much about how well written the story is, however it did have its lows.

One thing that particularly annoyed me (which was why this didn't get a perfect 5) is the interruptions by Death. They are literally little interruptions and side notes that could have just been written normally along with the text. A little here and there would have all been well and good, but they constantly appear and after a while - when I was really into the story - they became annoying. Maybe it’s not the interruptions themselves but the way they were written, or organized that bothered me.

A second thing I was not fond of was that Death told me who died. Death told me, and the suspense was killed off. I really don't know if it was a good move or not, but it bothered me a little bit. However, I can see it as being something that added to the sadness in the book because by knowing, the reader lost all hope that maybe it will turn out differently. The closer I got to the end, the more heartbreaking every sentence seemed to be. Maybe, yes, it's knowing the inevitable, and having no hope that it might turn out otherwise.

I loved Liesel, Hans, and Rosa, but Rudy stole my heart. His outgoing personality, his friendliness, his resistance to bullies like Victor Chemell and Franz Deutscher. His completely stupid way of copying Jesse Owens. Even the way he always asks a kiss from Liesel. His unconditional love for her was beautiful to read about. And her clueless love for him was devastating. Rudy was a child, growing into a man, and I loved his character.

Even though this book had its lows, it was still a book worth reading for me.
View all my reviews


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Anne of Ingleside
Where She Went
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Life Is But a Dream
The Lost Hero
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
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