The Book Thief {markus zusak}

Book Thief

Through the years, I have read many books set in World War II. Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief has now been added as one of my favorite books set in that era {my very first favorite read set in this period was Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars…anybody remember reading that back in school?}. I don’t want to give too much away, but I do want to share that the story takes a rather interesting and original approach by having it narrated by Death, which also immediately sets the tone of how fleeting one’s mortality can be. As Death is recounting events and retrieving souls during this horrific historic time period, it focuses on the story of a young foster girl named Liesel Meminger, and her childhood to adolescent upbringing in war-torn Germany. While reading this book, I really took the time to soak up the story and became quite invested in each of the character, particularly Liesel, her foster parents, and her best friend Rudy. The story chronicles how the uprising of the Nazi party and later, war-stricken Germany affected her upbringing and the people she eventually grew to love and accept as family. Of course, it also talks about how Liesel coped with her surroundings and struggle through her love of books, in a time period where books were not as easily accessible. It is a very heartfelt and touching read…and I think Zusak’s choice to give Death the capability of feeling emotions really does capture readers’ hearts a bit more. The characterization of Death here is in stark contrast to how it’s normally portrayed in movies and books, which often involves violence and chaos. The characters and Death finds a common thread in this story where they are haunted by the scale and magnitude of destruction the human race can wrought. Overall a fantastic read, but definitely not the most light-hearted story.

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