“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction
Summary from Goodreads:
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Narrated by Death, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she discovers something she can’t resist- books. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever they are to be found.
With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, Liesel learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids, as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
I don’t even know where to start with this book. It’s good. It’s as good as everyone keeps claiming it is. The only problem is it takes a while to build up to it. The beginning of the book was slow going for me. Really slow going. I’ve been cranking out the books for my summer class pretty quickly but this one messed up my rhythm. Don’t go into this looking for a fast read.
The story slowly carries on. That was one thing that really annoyed me. I just got grumpy and was angry at the book because by 400 pages or so in, the book should be more exciting. I kept thinking “Ugh, there’s no need for you to be this long!” Thankfully, the last 150 pages did pick up and I couldn’t but the book down.
The narration is very odd. It’s narrated by Death, which is kind of a cool idea. But Death is very intrusive and keeps butting into the story and ‘spoiling’ things and that got old really fast. I don’t know exactly how do describe the formatting/format of the book but it’s weird. The story is a bit jumpy and then there are random little pieces of information thrown in places. [Just pick up a copy of the book and flip through it to see what I mean.] It’s not bad, it’s just odd. You have to get used to it.
I really like the idea of a story about WWII told from a German child’s perspective. Most of the books I’ve read about the time period are told from the Jewish perspective so it’s nice to get a different take on the situation. I also really appreciated the idea that all the Germans weren’t “bad” people. They were only doing what they had to in order to survive and they hated Hitler as much as the Jewish people did.
Definitely read it. Make sure to stick to it and don’t give up on it though. It’s completely worth it to stick with it to the end.