Book Review: The Book Thief-Markus Zusak


I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.

Markus Zusak really propels the reader into his novel head first, gripping them by the shoulders and never really letting go. The Book Thief encapsulates the essence of a literary World War Two quite well. I was pleasantly surprised at how amazing this book truly was. When the novel first came to fruition I had heard very little of its impact. However when this novel became a film in theater, the buzz surrounding it was definitely worth noting. I have this habit of turning the other way, when books become films, and much to my dismay this book became not a priority to read. However a year later, this book has been on my TBR shelf for quite some time. I am happy I chose to read it later though; it’s magic was exactly what I needed. This book is a great winter read, as its tone is cold and snow layered. Many of you, I am sure have read this novel and with great acclamation can attest to its strong presence in the literary world.

Liesel Meminger is a young girl in the midst of Nazi Germany. She is swept away from her home, mother, and her brother whom died in the process of her moving. To maintain the memory of all that she has lost, she steals her first possession, a book by the title of The Grave Digger’s Handbook. When she arrives at her foster home, she begins her journey as a book thief and a Hitler Youth student. Liesel faces the turning of Germany and it’s transition into become a Jew hating country. Rudy, a young boy, befriends Liesel and together they steal things from the neighborhood, including Liesel’s favorite: books. In the wake of the progression of Nazi Germany, half Jewish Max Vandenburg flees his home and finds refuge in the home of the Hubermann’s-Liesel foster’s parents. Now holding in a dark secret, not only the Hubermann’s,but Liesel face the impending consequences if they are found hiding a Jew. Together both Liesel and Max become the best of friends uncovering the disparity between being a Jew and a German. They live through their quiet words whispered in a basement and the etchings drawn by charcoal.  The gravity of the war inflicts a pain and discovery that is found through the friendship of Max and Liesel. However the author makes no mistakes to take away just as much as he gives the reader.

It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on, coughing and searching, and finding.

I absolutely loved reading The Book Thief  and have nothing but praise for Zusak’s fine literary work. I was blown away at how Zuzak used Death (I capitalized because it’s a character in the novel) as the narrator. It really highlights the ever ominous presence in the novel and war. I found myself pouring through the pages and was constantly amazed at the beauty of the words. The author captures the essence of World War Two in a literary way that doesn’t seem overtly historical but not too fictional. There so many parts in the novel that took my breath away. Many say this book is a Young Adult fiction, and while I agree it could be for an older young adult, there are many elements in The Book Thief that are quite adult. I don’t have any criticism for the novel other than the ending, which may surprise some. I give this novel five stars for being so incredibly well written. Read read read!

Did you enjoy The Book Thief the same way as I did? Let’s hear your thoughts.

Happy Reading!


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