Book Reviews

Book Review: The Book Thief

Here is a small fact: You are going to die.
These are the lines on the first page of The Book Thief; a novel by Markus Zusak set in the time of Nazi Germany. The novel is narrated from Death’s point of view. Yes, you read it right. Death tells us the story of the Book Thief. The book begins with Death introducing himself to us, following which, he introduces us to The Book Thief — Liesel Meminger.
9-year-old Liesel is given away to a foster family by her mother who can no longer care for her. On the way to the foster family, Death visits them and takes away Liesel’s brother. And it’s at her brother’s funeral that the Book Thief steals her first book. Just as a reminder of her brother. Because, you see, Liesel Meminger cannot read.
Liesel is taken into care by the Hubermanns: Hans and Rosa. Hans is a loving and caring foster-father while Rosa shows her love in her own unique way — by referring to Liesel and Hans as pigs. Death takes us through Liesel’s childhood — adjusting to the death of her brother, to the fact that her mother abandoned her, to a new family, a new life.
Liesel befriends Rudy who is the boy next door and goes to the same school. Liesel is also put in a class well below her age due to her inability to read. And it is her foster-father who assists her. He spends nights with Liesel teaching her to read the book she stole at her brother’s funeral. And slowly, Liesel loves reading. However, the Hubermanns are not exactly the richest people on the planet and Liesel decides to continue getting hold of books through the only way she knows — stealing.
Liesel’s life is intertwined with what is then happening in Germany under the rule of Hitler. Jews are being tortured. Young men are being sent to war. Innocent people are dying. And Liesel…well, she has no idea why she has to “Heil Hitler” but does so anyway because if not, she and her family will have to face the consequences. Liesel’s life is in for a twist when Hans and Rosa decide to shelter a Jewish man in their basement. Liesel makes a new friend and spends time reading to him and describing the world to him.
The book is a wonderful tale of a young girl who goes through hell but is resilient and cheerful and strives for her goals. A young girl who will do anything to attain her passion for reading. A young girl with a pure heart who cannot understand what is so bad about Jews. It is a sad book and brought tears to my eyes in the end. It is also a quirky book…after all, how many books do you know narrated by Death himself?? I would highly recommend this book if you like something meaningful that will bring tears to your eyes as well as a smile on your face.

My rating:

And another thing you should know:
Death will visit the Book Thief three times

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  • Titaxy
    23 January 2010 at 12:38 am

    I’ve ordered the book last week. Can’t wait to get my hands on it. I’ve heard that it’s really good, so :)..

  • Psych Babbler
    23 January 2010 at 1:19 am

    Yeah it was good…it’s a pretty easy read (even though I took ages) with short chapters and really quirky presentation style. And of course, enjoyed the story 🙂 Let me know what you thought about the book once you read it…

  • BlueMist
    23 January 2010 at 5:04 am

    I like it. and I loved the cover too. 😛

  • Titaxy
    23 January 2010 at 9:50 am

    Yes yes. Actually cover was what caught my attention..and then I went ahead to read about how good it is, and then ordered 🙂

  • Psych Babbler
    23 January 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Yep…I liked this cover better than the other cover….my friend bought the book first and that one has a different cover. This one was quirkier for me…so I was glad to find it! 😀

  • soin
    26 January 2010 at 11:45 am

    interesting story line.the other day i read a review of a book whose story was about nazi war,with gargoyles thrown in.also an american lady.strange stuff.

  • Psych Babbler
    28 January 2010 at 3:59 am

    Gargoyles?? Hmm…wonder how they managed that. Death and Second world war kinda go hand-in-hand…so it makes sense. If you read the other book, let us know what it’s like… 🙂

    Zusak is of German heritage but is Australian.

  • Titaxy
    28 January 2010 at 10:22 pm

    My book arrived yesterday, but it has the other cover. I didn’t know there were two covers to it 🙁 When I saw it in Borders weeks ago, I spotted the cover here on this post…so when it was ordered online, I guess I didn’t notice the other cover :(.

    Oh well…that’s that. I started reading the book and so far love it (20pages or so done 🙂 ) Can’t wait to read more 🙂

  • Titaxy
    17 May 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Ok, so I finally finished reading this book and the only way I would describe it would be – Brilliant. I loved walking through the Liesel’s life as death narrated it. The funny bits every now and then, the emotional ending, the bonds that are formed, the constant fear during war – very well captured. A very well written tale of life, death and everything in between. 🙂 I totally agree with your review, I would give it a 5 too 🙂

    If death’s really this witty, I wouldn’t mind meeting it 😛

  • I am the Messenger « Bond with Books
    12 August 2010 at 12:11 pm

    […] though that I might be partial with my review here. After I read The Book Thief by this author (reviewed by Psych Babbler), I was so totally in love with his writing that I couldn’t wait to […]