Saturday, January 7, 2012
The Book Thief (Book Review)
Author: Markus Zusak
Source: Gift from my sister
Publisher: Alfred A Knopf
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
I love books about World War II. Not ones about the actual war but books set in the time during the war. And this book in no exception to that love. It shows a side of the war that most of us don't often consider: the life of a poor German girl who is trying to grow up in this environment. Liesel lives with her foster family who is a normal German family that does not hate Jews and is trying to scrape by in a country at war.
One of the striking things about this novel is that the narrator is Death. As he shows up at the many deaths that Liesel must confront during her lifetime, Death becomes interested in this little book thief and decides to share her story with the world.
In many ways Liesel is a typical teenager with a love for books. Only she lives a life that requires her to steal the books she read. She shares these books with many different people in their times of need. A powerful story about the power of books in our lives.