Newest Review: ... who are to be Liesel's new parents from now, we get a: Some facts about Hans Hubermann indented snippet. Even though it breaks up the pr... more
♥♥♥ It stole my heart ♥♥♥
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
Member Name: burtybookworm
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
Date: 21/10/08, updated on 03/12/08 (217 review reads)
Advantages: Really beatuifully written, different perspective, great plot
Disadvantages: Writing style may be offputting at first - stick with it
About the Author & The Plot
Markus Zusak is an Australian author who as a child heard many stories of his mother's life in a small German town during the war. Zusak says he particularly remembers his mother telling him of the Jews marching through their town and how there was an elderly gentleman at the end of the march who was so badly beaten and worn out that he was struggling to keep up. One of the German boys in the crowd watching saw this and in an act of compassion and bravery ran and gave the elderly Jewish man a bit of bread.
The consequences for both the Jewish man and the boy were severe but this story must have captivated Zusak so much that he wrote this wonderful book about nine year old Liesel living in Nazi Germany in 1939 where she also does a similar act.
As I have mentioned, the narrator of Leisels story is Death, he is drawn to Leisel when he encounters her on three separate occasions whilst doing his job during the war and almost falls in love with her courage and endurance. We follow Leisel from when she is shipped off to live with foster parents, the death of her brother, through new friendships and family trials and tribulations and through war time tragedies.
This is a story about redemption, friendships against all odds, harrowing accounts of life and death during war time Germany and the love of books and the beauty of words. It's the story of how Leisel coped, survived & befriended a Jewish man who lived in her basement for a period during the war.
Death As the Narrator
Death is actually a likeable and unusually compassionate narrator who doesn't relish his job collecting souls, even more so during the miserable times that is during a war.
Death comes across not only as unusually compassionate (especially with regards to young Leisel) but full of humour and wit, and through this narration comes the most beautiful writing that I have ever read. The contrast between life in Germany during this period and the language and descriptions used is incredible and unbelievably moving.
At first, the style of this book is very difficult to get used to, but once through the first couple of sections, you will find it so beautifully written and so wonderfully descriptive (you will want to remember how some of his descriptions are phrased they are so wonderful!) that this soon doesn't matter and you quickly get used to Markus Zusaks style of writing. It is beautiful and almost poetic - it's hard to describe but his style of writing just left me breathless!
Heartwarming & Loving Leisel
Leisel in particular is a character that is heart warming, strong, loving and whom you can't help being drawn to as tragedies strike her young life. However, it is her relationship with books that is touching - she learns how to read and books become a comfort to her in times of trouble.
Leisels relationship with Max also makes interesting reading. Max is a young Jewish man who comes to Leisels foster father for help when Jews are being captured, and the family agree to harbour him in the basement. Leisel and Max's relationship blossoms and she sees the war from an entirely new perspective.
Overall this book is just incredible! The writing is pure magic, the way that colours are used to describe people and emotions, the character descriptions are vivid, the storytelling is exciting and fairly fast paced, and the general story is riveting. I can't find fault it and would recommend it on the beautiful descriptions alone!
It's such a wonderful change from the usual stories of WWII - the writing style forbids it from being just a historical account, it's from a fresh and interesting perspective, and the characters jump out of the page and are full of life so much so that despite the subject matter, it is not at all depressing.
I mentioned at the beginning of this review the story that haunted the writer Markus Zusak, he says that that story showed him how there was great kindness and also great cruelty in the world - and he saw it perfectly as how humans are in this balance. He has summed this up beautifully in this book, It's a story of faith, love and hope and one that will remain with me for a long time.
It does not do it justice to just say how wonderful this book is, I suggest you go out and buy it and see for yourself!!
Summary: A trully beautiful book that will be remembered for the right reasons.