The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
rating: 4 of 5 stars
It is always difficult to write about books that have a profound affect on me. I suppose that is why I gave it four stars instead of the five it probably deserves.
This book is narrated by Death, not the hollow-eyed, hooded Death often portrayed by Hollywood, but a sympathetic Death who merely has a job to do. The main character is a young German girl named Liesel. On route to live with foster parents, Liesel’s six year old brother dies. Although she is unable to read, she steals her first book at his burial and takes the prized possession with her to Himmel Street. World War II begins. During this time her foster father teaches her to read and, subsequently, unleashes in Liesel a thirst for words that can't be quenched. Because of her poverty, she steals more books in an effort to subdue her need for reading; all the while the war rages around her.
Throughout her four years living on Himmel Street she learns the power of these words. She loves them and she hates them; she witnesses murders because of them; she learns life lessons through them; her life is directed because of them. Her family helps hide a Jew. She falls in love with her best friend but doesn't tell him until it's too late.
The horror of war resonates throughout the pages, throughout these words. Just as the New York Times noted, this book really can be life changing. I'm sure most of us have read plenty about WWII and in your head you may be thinking, "another WWII story." Don't pass by this book because of some artificial stereotype you may have in your mind about the many stories written about WWII. This book, in a morbid sort of way, gives a refreshing look at the war and it's effects on society, especially on a young girl named Liesel--The Book Thief.
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