Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak || Book Review

The Book Thief
Markus Zusak

Genre: Historical Fiction, YA, World War II
Publication Date: July 1, 2006
Number of Pages: 552
Source: Purchased
My Rating: 

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who 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.

The Book Thief is an amazingly written, life changing book. Everyone should read this book. The research and accuracy and time and heart Zusak put into this book shows throughout the entire book. Zusak is one of the most creative authors I have had the pleasure to read. I was constantly astounded by the uniqueness of his writing style.

When I first read this book in 2008 I wasn't old enough to understand most of the book and it's themes. I also didn't spend a whole lot of time contemplating the deeper meanings of the book and how in depth the thoughts behind it went. I still loved the book back then but for very different reasons.

To start with, I didn't understand the narrator was Death the first time I read this book. With that knowledge, this book suddenly becomes not only the story of a little girl, but a commentary on life and death. Death is probably the best narrator I have had the enjoyment to read. The way Zusak utilizes Death's omniscience and experiences to tell Liesel's story is breathtaking.

Zusak also captures a side of World War II that most books don't. The story isn't of Jews or people desperately attempting to save Jews or soldiers. It is about a little girl who doesn't fully understand what is going on. A girl who loves words and reading and how it changes her life in a few short years. And it made me think about how much I take books for granted.

I wish that more people would read this book. I wish school's everywhere would use this book to accompany teaching about the Holocaust.

I happily and full-heartedly give this book a shining five gold stars and if I could I'd give it more. Now go read this book.


  1. I love how the narrator is Death, especially because of all the description that he uses in the color of the sky, etc. I think this might be my favorite book of all time! :) Great review!

  2. I had to read this book for summer reading last year and I don't think I appreciated it as much as I should have, but it's such an amazing story. Having Death narrate the story was so smart on Zusak's part because you focused less on the fear and sadness of death and more on the people who were living :) Great Review!