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The Book Thief – Marcus Zusak

February 16, 2011

I finished reading The Book Thief several weeks ago and have been doing a lot of thinking about it since I finished it. The Book Thief, set in Nazi Germany prior to and during World War II, is a novel told from the viewpoint of Death, who takes an interest in the Book Thief, a young girl named Liesel Meminger. Liesel is taken to live with foster parents in Molching, Germany when she is nine years old, abandoned by her mother and left to deal with nightmares in the aftermath of her brother’s death.

 Over the course of the book Liesel steals many books, the first being The Grave Diggers’ Handbook, which she found after her brother died. As the book progresses, she steals books from the mayor’s wife and from Nazi book burnings. Eventually Liesel begins to write the story of her life, called The Book Thief.  

 This is a very sad and touching story told by Death. Liesel manages to escape death a number of times throughout the book, and death follows and plagues her throughout her life. Death is a sympathetic narrator and finishes the novel with the statement “I am haunted by humans.” Death repeatedly comments on the thoughts morals, and actions of humans and questions God by saying “I don’t understand.”

 This is a very good book, deserving of the many awards and honors it has received. The writing was fantastic, poetic, lyrical, and absolutely captivating. It is one of those books that grabs hold of your heartstrings and does not let go. It forces you to take a hard look at history and question the morality of human nature. Amazing and extraordinary, a phenomenal book.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 16, 2011 6:42 pm

    I read this book about a month ago, and I agree. It was a very touching story of a girls battle to continue her love of reading in a time where it was unacceptable.

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