The Book Thief - A Book Review

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Published by Picador, ISBN: 9780330423304, Paperback, Aust RP: $19.95

Without a doubt, this is one of the best books I've ever read. I LOVED it. It is now in my Top 3, along with The Time Traveller's Wife and Harry Potter. It was just brilliant!

For those who, like me, have come to the Book Thief party late, here's what B.o.B says -
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still...By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow.It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery...So begins a love affair with the books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found...But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.

I really can't explain exactly what it is that is sooo good about this book. It's hard to put the feeling into words. The story is just so beautifully heart-breaking (I know that sounds weird, but that's what it is). I loved all of the characters, even some of the worse ones, and especially the main ones. Every person has a depth that goes beyond their story, and you really get a sense of knowing these people. Liesel's story is told by Death, which adds a great dimension to the story, as you not just see Liesel's story through her eyes, but you see the greater scope of the events leading up to WWII and the war itself, the scope of life beyond the understanding of young Liesel, through the unique perspective that is Death's.

The other thing that is so brilliant about this book is the imagery Zusak uses. (Definition of Imagery from - Vivid descriptive language that appeals to one or more of the senses. Spot on definition). The words almost become a character themselves, such is their power to evoke emotions and senses, just as the definition says.

Such beautiful words. An example -
The sky was like soup, boiling and stirring. In some places it was burnt. There were black crumbs, and pepper, streaked amongst the redness.
Ahhhhh. Word-porn!
If you haven't already, read it. Read this book.
Two Thumbs Up, ahh heck, this book is a High-Five!


Cat said…
Oh I AM SO GLAD you loved this one. I've been raving about it for years now...and believe it or not, read it directly after reading Time Traveller's Wife! I felt lik I hit the jackpot. I was pregnant when reading both and absolutely bawled my eyes out - especially with this one. It's in my top 5 too. Like you, I can't really say why I loved it properly, I just did.
Clarissa said…
I also love this book!!!! I read it at as soon as it came out! Unfortunatelt the book is currently stuck at my boyfriend's parent's house :( The first book I read by Marcus Zusak is "The messenger" which I really really love!! You shouled give it a try - it is marketed as a book for the young adult age bracket but I think it is great. I have been waiting for ages for his new book to come out "The Bridge of Clay" but the date keeps going backwards!! Sigh. GLad you liked the book thief
Vicki said…
Woohoo! I knew you would love it! I gave my copy to a friend to read, who gave it to another friend ....
I might just get another copy for myself.
Heather said…
I too loved this book. I wasn't sure because my friend that recommended it has different taste than me, but it was so good. I've been so slow to read lately. I think because I've been savoring the good books and don't want a bad taste in my mouth from the next one.
Okay, I'm sold. I normally find any books set in wartime far too disturbing, but after your review - and then the opinions above - I feel I need to track it down. Thanks!
Kerry said…
I really loved this book too..we had it at book club and there wasn't a single person who didn't love it...which isn't always the case with our wine (I mean book!) club. I put it right up there with Year of Wonders which is my current all time favourite.

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