Book Review #32 – The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

Hey guys!

Here’s a review for a long awaited read. It’s The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak.

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Find any edition of this book over at Book Depository

Oh man… The feels… I can’t even. I’m still crying.

But anyway, let’s get on with this. I’m pretty sure you’ve already heard about this one but if you’ve spent some time living below a rock, The Book Thief is an historical fiction book set in Germany, on World War II. It tells the story of Liesel Meminger, a girl abandoned by her real mother and fostered by a fierce woman and her husband, an accordion player. The girl starts to steal books when her brother dies and finds a true friendship in a hiding Jew. Oh, and the most awesome part about this book? It’s narrated by Death.

Markus Zusak is an australian author whose popularity has skyrocketed thanks to this book. I was curious to know what inspired this man to write a story like this. Turns out, he is a german and austrian descendent so his parents/grandparents might have spent some time under the destruction of nazism and war. I haven’t had time to research about this but it seems like a plausible justification. Anyway, he clearly had some first hand insight on what that time was like.

I don’t think there’s a single thing I didn’t like about this book. It’s been a while since I felt like this about a read.

The story was as beautiful as it was devastating. Going into this book, I knew what I was in for. I mean, there’s no way a book set on World War II could be joyful. I just really wasn’t expecting the extent to how much it was going to break my fragile self into a million pieces. I read the ending during a subway ride and I kept telling myself “don’t you dare cry in public!!”. I controlled myself but had to shed a tear when I got home.

Death was my favourite part of the book. At the beginning, it was very weird that Death was a man. In my mind, Death has always been a woman. Maybe this is affected by the fact that in my favourite book, Death With Interruptions, Death is a lady. Anyway, all of Death’s remarks were amazing. I’m particularly fond of a chapter where he tells that God, in times of war, is like a strict boss. You do everything you can to please Him but he just wants more and more. That really hit me.

I thought the book was beautifully written. Besides World War II being the most explored part of Historical fiction, it seemed to me that the author brought something new to the game. The characters all had their flaws but were completely lovable. The book appeals to the heart of each and everyone of us and, even though we don’t all know what war feels like, it’s easy to absolutely sympathize.

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There’s a few moments I’ll always keep close to my heart. After Max, the hidden Jew, realizes his best friend is Liesel and how much they have in common, he makes her a little book, with a beautiful story. It’s called “The Standover Man” and it absolutely broke me. The gorgeous handmade illustrations are amazing. That brings me to another favourite thing about the book. There’s beautiful little illustration throughout the pages and the formatting of the text varies in relation to the need of the story telling. It only made the read more interesting.

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After finishing the book, I needed some time to think it through. As the emotional ride as it was, it requires a bit of time to digest everything that happened. What I’m trying to say, I got a major hangover. In the meanwhile, I had the chance to see the movie. I was really looking forward to it and it did not disappoint me. That’s how you do a good movie adaptation! They took out the expandable and they let the most important, untouchable. I loved it.

It’s not only hard for me to talk about this book because of all the feelings but because it ends up bringing a lot of spoilers. Anyway, this book is definitely on my favourites list from this year already. It tells a beautiful story and it comes from a very talented man. The most important thing about reading, to me, is how changed I am after the book ends. I’m a different person now.

Here’s my favourite quote, which is incredible and totally meta:

I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.

Bonus favourite quote:

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I hope you enjoyed this review! I’ll like to know your thoughts on this one!

Have a great day!

Cat.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review #32 – The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

  1. I totally know how u feel about trying not to cry in the subway.. when i finished the book i was at work, and i really had to be strong!

    Love the review.

    Like

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