Markus Zusak, the Book Thief

Holy cow. I love this book!

The narrator is a compassionate and over-worked Death, minus the scythe, who takes mental mini-vacations by observing the varieties of colors in the sky. While working he always tries to avoid looking at grieving survivors, but his eye is caught by the face of a girl he keeps bumping into: the Book Thief.

I loved hearing about the power of words. The evil words of one man sway millions to do insane things, and the hope-filled words of one girl lift a Jewish soul from his metaphorical grave, comfort her terrified friends and family, and strengthen her own resolve to rise above her surroundings.

Without comparing it to the unspeakable suffering of Jewish people during WWII, Zusak does a brilliant job of showing how difficult life was for regular German citizens. He shows that very few of them were the intolerant madmen they’re sometimes made out to be. Most of them were just scared, hungry, and looking for a way out of their problems. Many Germans believed that minorities were being targeted unfairly, but felt powerless to meddle with that.

**Spoiler Alert** If you haven’t read this book yet, stop reading now!

I am not necessarily a lover of sad books and sad endings. It’s unbearable that Liesel looses her home and so many loved-ones. However I believe the story would have felt untrue or contrived without some great and terrible ordeal to overcome. For heaven’s sake, Death is the narrator, what else can be expected?

The great thing is the depth of Liesel’s sacrifice directly reflects the height of her victory by moving on once the dust has settled.

I wish we could have seen more of her post-war life, but it speaks well that Death didn’t come near her again until it was her time to go. The more I think about that, the more fitting and perfect it is to end the story that way.


8 responses to this post.

  1. Great Review!


  2. One of my all time favorites!


  3. La la la la. Oh no. Hands over my eyes, not my ears! I’ll be back to comment later after I’ve finished the book 😀


  4. Great review! I loved this book! I kept hearing about how good it was but I doubted it would live up to the hype. Not only did it live up to the hype- it surpassed it in my mind. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It definitely goes on my top 10 list.

    *Spoiler comment*
    I, too, am a fan of happy endings but I agree that if Zusak had given us that ending it would have been completely unrealistic. .


  5. I agree. I was very skeptical when I first started, but was pleasantly surprised.

    I’m glad you agree that her sacrifices make the ending more meaningful.


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