Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Review: THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak

5 out of 5 hearts

Where to begin? This is a 550 page book and by page 30 I knew. I knew it would amaze me beyond normal limits and, at the same time, leave a gaping hole when I finished it. This book had been on my "to read" list for months; even before I picked up, it was magnetizing. I am compelled to read it again, and I have a feeling it would always feel like the first time.

It is set in Nazi Germany, and explores the innocence of kindness and the power of words.   Liesel Meminger is an orphan and is taken to live with a set of foster parents outside of Munich.  Rosa Hubermann, her foster mom, is the loudest, most creative curser in the world.  Hans Hubermann, her foster father, is an accordion player with kind eyes like liquid silver.  Rudy Steiner, a little boy obsessed with Jesse Owens, becomes her first friend and first love.  The entire story is narrated by Death, as he opens a window to Leisel's innocent soul as she tries to find love, happiness, and justice, whether by stealing books or leaving crumbs of bread behind for a parade of starving concentration camp prisoners.  

This is undoubtedly the best book I have ever read in my life.  As my friend Nikki (btw, her blog is hilarious) once said:  "I remember finishing it and then, just staring at the ceiling feeling lost."  I can agree, absolutely.  While reading it, it becomes apart of you.  Especially if you are a writer, with the numerous references to the power of words.  If there is ever a moment I think my writing completely sucks, I can find a quote in this book to boost my spirits.

I would like to thank Zusak for not writing this tragedy as a typical tragedy. Instead, I felt that he understood that the event itself was agonizing and he did not dwell on the sadness. He made those moments eerily beautiful. His use of metaphor, allusion, and imagery is exquisite to say the least.  

I can't explain how good The Book Thief is with the use of words.  You have experience it.    I am not afraid to admit that I cried at the end, both because of the turn of events and because I was about to finish this piece of printed majesty.  I can feel a knot forming in my throat as I relive the experience of reading this book. 

Just read it and you can thank me later.


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Paperback, 550 pages
Published March 14th 2006 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN 0375831002 (ISBN13: 9780375831003)
Edition language:  English

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