Monday, November 14, 2011

Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: March 14, 2006
Genre: YA, historical
Pages: 550

*Read for Summer book club.
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.

I really, really, REALLY wanted to write an acrostic about this book for this week's Must Read Monday (the category this week is "A book so powerful that it changed you in some way". The problem is that I've never been able to put into words how I felt about this book, except in brief. It's the reason I never wrote a review. But since I started thinking about it again, and I wasn't able to write an acrostic, I at least want to be able to write a review. So here it goes...

The Book Thief is the story of a little girl living outside Munich, Germany during World War II. Nazi Germany. She can't resist books, so she steals them. Her foster father teaches her to read. He plays the accordion. They hide a Jewish man in their basement. People die.

I felt like this book tore my heart out, that's why I wanted to write an acrostic about it. And that's all I can ever think to say when it comes to this book. That it tore out my heart and stomped on it. I can't explain what it is about this book that affected me so much. Maybe because it's so raw and true. Maybe because it's about a little girl. Maybe because it's told from Death's point of view. Whatever it was, it sucked me in and kept me turning pages until I'd read all 550 of them. And I cried. I just had so many conflicting emotions in this book.

The way it was written, you knew what was going to happen, you just didn't know when. Death would mention something that was going to happen, but then say it comes later and leave it at that. I always felt like I was tensing for the impact that I knew was coming, but after a little while I started to loosen up, and then BAM! Markus Zusak would just hit me with the reality of it all. Whether it was Rudy or Max or Hans or even Liesel who was affected, it hit me just as hard each and every single time.

I didn't think this review would be coherent, so I apologize! I just have so much trouble voicing what this book did to me emotionally. I can't describe it, even when I try. This will forever be one of my favourite books of all time.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery


  1. I tried reading this once. Then I tried listening to it. I don't know why I can't seem to get into it even though I have only read positive reviews on it. Your raving review makes me want to give it another shot one day. Great review :)

  2. A friend of mine told me to read this awhile back, but I haven't... yet. I think when you love a book so much, that it's hard to explain why, says a lot. I like the idea of Death telling the story. I'll definitely have to get a hold of this one soon.

  3. Great review! I haven't ever done a review over it either. As you said, it's so hard to put in words what exactly makes you bawl your eyes out. I'm glad I got to read this:) It was exactly how I felt.
    -Jenna @ Fans of Fiction