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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The summary in the front of the book is pretty good without giving to much away...
Trying to make sense of horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel -- a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.
Or even the summary at the back of the book right before the discussion questions...
Liesel Meminger is only nine years old when she is taken to live with the Hubermanns, a foster family, on Himmel Street in Molching, Germany, in the late 1930s. She arrives with few possessions, but among them is The Grave Digger's Handbook, a book she stole from her brother's burial place. During the years that Liesel lives with the Hubermanns, Hitler becomes more powerful, life on Himmel Street becomes more fearful, and Liesel becomes a full-fledged book thief. She rescues book from Nazi book-burnings and steals from the library of the mayor. Liesel is illiterate when she steals her first book, but Hans Hubermann uses her prized books to teach her to read. This is a story of courage, friendship, love, survival, death, and grief. This is Liesel's life on Himmel Street, told from Death's point of view.
I really liked this book. As said in the little snippets, Death is the narrator of this story. The author, Markus Zusak, is a great story-teller himself. And I found myself compelled to read as much as I could in one sitting. Death was funny at times but mostly he just told what needed to be told. I could envision the story as it was told to me. I saw a little girl being adopted by her foster parents. I saw Liesel's dreams and nightmares. I saw the carnage that the War brought upon their country. I saw the colors and the words.

I almost cried at times. Having Death narrate World War II was heartbreaking. The ending wasn't one I was expecting but it fit so perfectly. Liesel's story needed to end the way it did. And in the end I respect the story so much more. It's real and heartbreaking. In the end I did shed a tear or two.

I highly recommend this book. I loved every page of it. It made me cry. It made me smile. It made me think. I like a book that makes me think.

"Death and Liesel" by FluorineSpark via DeviantArt

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