Monday, May 24, 2010

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This is a great book. I've taken awhile to write up this review because there is just so much to talk about. It was recommended highly to my by many friends, and now I recommend it to the rest of you!
It is told from a very unique perspective, Death. During the first part, the style was kind of bugging me, but after I got in about 50 pages or so, I was really hooked. I also hated the violence, especially when it was directed at poor Liesel.

The Book Thief takes place during World War II, so of course it is filled with sadness. And like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, it shows the horrors of war no matter which side you are on. It was very interesting to read about the less obvious ways the character's lives were affected by war, ways you don't usually think of. Thankfully, like Man's Search for Meaning, or Life is Beautiful, it shows the triumph of the human spirit, and the power of kindness. SO that is good!

I loved Liesel and her relationships with Papa, Rudy and Max. The characters are great in this story. Very original and well developed. While you feel terribly for all of them, none of them are pitiful. They have these small victories that make them heroes. For example, one day after finding a coin and buying one piece of candy to share (they count their sucks), the book says, "The day had been a great one, and Nazi Germany was a wondrous place." And you actually feel that way.

I love books that focus on the power of books. Liesel is at least 10 before she really learns to read, and then it becomes central to her life. I always love that. She underlines the words she doesn't know then paints them on the walls of the basement to practice. So great.

I enjoyed Death's narration more than I thought I would at first. He often foreshadows by saying, "the next time I saw him..." or talks to the reader directly about the significance of a moment, like "he put his arm around her, best-buddy style, and they walked on....You can love Rudy for that, if you like." And again, that's exactly how you are feeling.

One of my favorite parts in the book is when Liesel is reading aloud in a crowded bomb shelter and, "A voice played the notes inside her. This, it said, is your accordion." Her Papa was an accordion player, and it had brought comfort to many people through out the story. This was such a magical moment when she realizes the gift she has to share and bring comfort to others.
I really liked this book. I've mentioned it tons of times, but I enjoy how novels written for a young adult audience can touch on difficult topics, but still protect you from horrific details or imagery. This book made me cry, and did find its way into my dreams, but I wasn't haunted by nightmares.

What did you love about it?


The GruCru said...

I think I must be the only one not to love this book. I thought it was fine and did love her relationship w/ books, but I'm somonehow missing how EVERYONE loves it. Maybe I just wasn't in the right mood when I read it.

Just Julie said...

Great book! Amanda just read it for the second time and said she got so much more out of it rereading it again. Powerful and brilliantly written.

kim said...

hey kam!
loved this book too! i just loved the way it was narrated, so unique. hope you guys are doing well and enjoying the beginnings of summer!!

Bethany said...

This is one of my favorites. I sobbed at the end -- partly for what happened, and partly because there was no more to read. I loved the characters. I love that they were good people, even the mom who was quite hard. It's been awhile since I've read it, but I'm about to read it again -- this time with my daughter so I can make sure she appreciates it.

Oh, and NurtureShock is now on my list -- thanks!