Tuesday night, I finished The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and I must say that it was an amazing read. I highly recommend it. Thank you, Amy, for the recommendation. Speaking of which, any recommendations that I receive, I try to add them to the list on the right side of the screen. If you think of any I might like, please email me or leave a comment.
At first I was kind of skeptical — considering that this book was classified as a young piece, I was curious as to how much raw history this book might share with the reader. I am impressed. On Facebook, I believe I described the book as beautiful, raw and full of feeling. I stand by that statement. The piece is narrated by Death which gives an omniscient perspective. Death picks and chooses what is shared and when which gave a taunting feeling that kept me wanting to know what was going to happen.
Wikipedia gives a pretty decent summary of the plot:
The Book Thief takes place in Germany before and during World War II. The story is told from the point of view of Death who finds the story of the Book Thief, Liesel Meminger, to be very interesting. As she brushed Death three times in her life. The novel begins when Liesel’s mother takes Liesel and her brother Werner to live with foster parents in Molching (Hans and Rosa Hubermann). As she can not provide for them. Her brother dies during the trip and Liesel steals The Grave Digger’s Handbook, fallen in the snow. This begins her love for reading and words, as well as kept her close to her brother. Liesel’s foster mother and father, Hans and Rosa Hubermann, treat her well. Though Rosa often insults Liesel by calling her a “dirty pig” (saumensch in German) – affectionately, of course. Hans teaches her how to read using “The Gravedigger’s Handbook”, which she took after a gravedigger dropped it while burying Liesel’s brother. She continues stealing books from various sources – mainly the library of Ilsa Hermann, the mayor’s wife, with a friend of hers who enjoys and tolerates her thievery. She also steals once from Nazi book burnings. Liesel also befriends the other children of Himmel Street, including Rudy Steiner, who is in love with her and is also her best friend. Her family helps a Jewish man named Max Vandenburg, whose father saved Liesel’s foster father himself, get back up on his feet.
Liesel begins to write her own book, The Book Thief : the story of her life. When Himmel Street is bombed, she is the only survivor, as she was writing in the Hubermanns’ basement. She finds the body of Rudy, then her foster parents. This is Death’s third encounter with Liesel. Distraught, she drops the book, which Death finds and keeps. She goes to live with the Hermanns (the mayor and his wife) and when Alex Steiner, (Rudy`s father, drafted into war,) returns and works in his tailor shop. In 1945, Max Vandenburg walks into the shop and he and Liesel are reunited. At the end of the book, Death tells us that she dies in Sydney, Australia, along with few other details of her life revealed, and he gives her back the book, along with a truth he can not tell anyone else: “I am haunted by humans.”
The relationship between Rudy Steiner and Liesel Meminger melted my heart. At the end of the novel, I was left pondering if Liesel and Max ended up together (married).
Lovely book. I think I going to move onto another recommendation by Amy: Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. According to SDL’s OPAC, they have a copy.