Review of ‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak

I’d had a copy of The Book Thief on my shelf for a while, and my friend and I were talking over books we had recently read, and she said “I assume you’ve read The Book Thief?’ and I said I hadn’t go round to it yet. She told me I should start it as soon as possible, so I started it the next day. I finished it in 3 and a half days! This book was so much more than I ever expected!!

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book

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‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak

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. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she 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.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

My Review

The Book Thief is technically classes as a YA novel, although it’s one of those books that could easily be enjoyed by teens and adults alike, with a definite historical fiction element as well. Set in the Nazi Germany during the war, the story follows Liesel Meminger and her journey to Munich to live with a foster family. Liesel steals books, that’s all I shall say in regards to the plot line, because I wouldn’t want to spoil anything! What I think makes this book special is that it wasn’t narrated in the usual manner of main character first person, or second or even third person. This book is in first person narrated by Death. That ind of gives something else away in this book. People die, although I will not say who, but I think the fact that people die is inevitable really. The story line throughout the book was completely unpredictable, and the climactic ending that every reader longs for was very much present. Due to the unpredictability of the book, the pace was fast and everything was logically set out with all threads tying together at the end.

In many ways for many reasons, Liesel was my favourite character, although I envied her skills in stealing books, and wished I could somehow accomplish that myself. I also absolutely fell in love with Rudy (Liesel’s new friend and partner in crime and ‘young love’ interest in the book) and his childish charm and amazing character development. I think, in terms of character development, it would be rude not to mention Hans and Rosa Hubermann, and Max Vandenburg, who are all living under the same roof which is practically bursting with so much background history and life that has been brought to these characters. This made all of the characters feel very real, and made me feel like I was an onlooker in their house and actually living in the story. I was constantly trying to guess what was going to happen to the characters, always wondering whether they were going to be the ones to die in the end or not (again, not telling!)

My favourite part of the book was definitely the final part out of the 10 parts included. Of course, I was balling my eyes out by this point and I don’t recall the tears stopping until long after the book was finished. I feel like the reason it was my favourite part was because it was so well written, splitting the two very tense scenes and sandwiching them at the beginning and end of part 10 to hold the reader in suspense and tears for as long as possible.

Before reading The Book Thief, I must admit I had very basic school-taught knowledge about the war and what was going on throughout it, but reading this amazing story has given me an insight into what life was like on the enemies side of the war, as I only really knew about life in Britain a the time. This really opened my eyes and shed a new light on life during the way in different countries.

I would certainly recommend this book to any one, there is some slightly profound language, but anyone 16+ needs to go and read this book right now! I don’t care if you don’t think it’s ‘your type of book’ I can assure you it is and I hope you fall in love with it as much as I have. I will definitely be reading it again!

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My Rating: 5 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)

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5 thoughts on “Review of ‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak

  1. I’m so glad you liked The Book Thief; I’ve been really curious about it for a while now! My nephew read it for high school English last summer and he really enjoyed it as well! Happy reading and have a wonderful Sunday! 🙂

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  2. I read this book a couple of years ago as an optional Christmas vacation book (technically, my teacher really wanted us to read the book. She gave each and every one of us a copy, and said she’d take us to the movies to see it on the screen if we read it). It was highly recommended. 🙂 The book itself was good, as was the movie. Isn’t Rudy the best?

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