Newest Review: ... it also underlines how people are trying to carry on as normally as possible can under very difficult and dangerous circumstances. The au... more
A Modern Classic
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
Member Name: Shrinking_Violet
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
Advantages: Original, easy to read
Disadvantages: Needs to come with a heartache warning
Back in the early days of Friends Joey and Rachel give each other books to read and Joey ends up traumatised with Little Women to an extent that he has to put the book in the freezer, just to get away from how intense it is. At the time I laughed and giggled, but...tbh, towards the end of this book I was seriously thinking Joey might have had the right idea and considered clearing out my own freezer and putting it in.
I really don't know what to say about this book apart from the fact that it's a book that everyone should read. I don't think I could really put into words the effect this book had on me. It made me smile, it made me laugh and it made me break down and sob. I'm an emotional person when it comes to books so crying is nothing new, but I literally cried for 20 mins because of things that happened in this book even though we knew what happened, and got reminded numerous times throughout about how it would end.
Death as a narrator is an original idea, but it isn't all morbid. The years of Liesel's life that is covered has the spectre of tragedy over it, but there are also moments of humour and playfulness.
The fact that the book is about a German girl, in a German house during WW2 is actually refreshing. We have Liesel and Rudy, our two young characters, being members of the Hitler Youth despite their, and their family's dislike of nazism. We have Liesel's adoptive father applying to join the Nazi party, despite the fact he protects Jews. We have the tragedy at the end happen because the Allies deliberately bombed a residential area...war's a shady business and even the 'good guys' do bad things.
There's nothing about the book that doesn't work - Death's narration, Liesel's experiences, the little asides, the books that she steals and is given, what we realise could have happened with the benefit of hindsight if certain decisions hadn't been made...you get the sense of what if? What if one little thing had been different?
This story hasn't been told before - about a German girl, in a German family, with German friends who are all bound by forces outwith their control. Disobedience leads to whippings, and father's being sent on potential suicide missions and being outcast. Compliance leads to making teary Heil Hitler proclamations at book burnings, or watching Jews be marched through the town towards a concentration camp, or being noticed by people you don't want to notice you. So much modern perception on WW2 has two sides - Germans=bad and everyone else=good. In the real world it doesn't work like that and this book shows that.
It's an amazing piece of writing and everyone should read it. Just make sure you have a box of hankies as well...trust me, there is no way that you won't need them.
Summary: A book that should be on everyone's to read list - you will remember it long after the last page.