The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book ThiefPublished: 2007

Genre: historical fiction

Length: 576 pages

Interest: It was recommended by a good friend.

Setting: Germany during WWII

Summary: The story is about Liesel Meminger and told from the viewpoint of Death, who is kept quite busy during WWII. Liesel is taken to a foster family – the sweet, silver-eyed Hand, and foul-mouthed Rosa. Her brother dies on the way to the Hubermans and Liesel steals a book at the gravesite – the first of many. Liesel slowly integrates into the family and neighborhood, becoming good friends with Rudy, a neighbor boy. The family also hides a Jew in their basement. Liesel learns how to read so she can read the books she steals from the mayor’s wife. Books become a key part of Liesel’s life and those around her.

Final thoughts: Not only was this an interesting story, but it was told in a unique voice. Having Death be the omniscient observer added an interesting twist to the story. With Death narrating, the story was grounded in a larger, historical context, while Liesel’s story provided the small-scale picture of how people lived through the war. The book is definitely more than the summary really expresses. Even though this is considered a YA book by critics (the main character is a young girl = YA), there is some adult language (usually from Rosa) and a fair amount of death (which should be expected based on the setting). It isn’t gruesome, but be aware for younger readers.

Title comes from: Death refers to Liesel as the book thief. She does steal several books throughout the story, and books are shown to be powerful within the story.

Awards won: Many, although none of the biggest prizes. I’ll just link to the Wikipedia page if you’re interested.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 7/12 in the Award Winning Book Challenge , 50/100 in the Read-a-Latte Challenge – half way through! We’ll see if I can make it to 100.

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5 Comments

Filed under Book review

5 responses to “The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

  1. I’ve had this book in my shelf for the longest time but haven’t had the chance to read it yet. Soon, I hope. Thanks for the thoughtful review.

  2. The August linky is up here: http://main.gatheringbooks.org/?page_id=488
    so that your review would be eligible for the book prize this month.

  3. There’s a movie based on this book right? It does sound interesting and I’ve got it on my list of books to check out – just that I’ve got soooooo much to read through already, haha!

    • natalieinne

      The movie is coming out later this year. I’ll be curious how they translate Death’s point-of-view into the movie. I do agree that there are too many good books, not enough time.

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