The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

A story about, among other things: A girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.Winner of the 2007 BookBrowse Ruby Award. It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Ger...

Title:The Book Thief
Author:
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Edition Language:English

The Book Thief Reviews

  • Tamara

    I give this 5 stars, BUT there is a disclaimer: If you want a fast read, this book is not for you. If you only like happy endings this book is not for you. If you don't like experimental fiction, this book is not for you.

    If you love to read and if you love to care about the characters you read about and if you love to eat words like they're ice cream and if you love to have your heart broken and mended on the same page, this book is for you.

    This story is narrated by Death during World War II,

    I give this 5 stars, BUT there is a disclaimer: If you want a fast read, this book is not for you. If you only like happy endings this book is not for you. If you don't like experimental fiction, this book is not for you.

    If you love to read and if you love to care about the characters you read about and if you love to eat words like they're ice cream and if you love to have your heart broken and mended on the same page, this book is for you.

    This story is narrated by Death during World War II, and it is the story of a young German girl who comes of age during one of the most horrific times in recent history. Death has a personality. If something bad is about to happen, Death warns you ahead of time. My favorite part is when "he" stomps on a framed picture of Hitler on his way to retrieve a thousand souls from a bomb raid. Death is trying to understand the human race as much as the humans are. When "his" job becomes unbearable, he watches the color of the sky as he gathers the souls and carries them away. The descriptions of the sky are like nothing I've ever read.

    A few quotes: In years to come, he would be a giver of bread, not a stealer - proof again of the contradictory human being. So much good, so much evil. Just add water. p.164

    The town that afternoon was covered in a yellow mist, which stroked the rooftops as if they were pets and filled up the streets like a bath. p.247

    He was more a black suit than a man. His face was a mustache. p.413

    He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It's his only detriment. he steps on my heart. He makes me cry. p.531

    There was once a strange, small man. He decided three important details about his life:

    1. He would part his hair from the opposite side to everyone else.

    2. He would make himself a small, strange mustache.

    3. He would one day rule the world.

    ...Yes, the Fuhrer decided that he would rule the world with words. p.445

  • Colleen

    I put off reading this book for the library book club. Here are my three reasons for doing so:

    1) It's a Young Adult Book. I am an Adult. It can't be that good if it's written for young people.

    2) It's about the Holocaust, and I think we've all heard enough about that. The author will probably even focus on colors among the grays, as in "Schindler's List."

    3) I have WAY too many other books to read.

    After avoiding the book for as long as possible, I sat down, hoping to enjoy it enough to gain some c

    I put off reading this book for the library book club. Here are my three reasons for doing so:

    1) It's a Young Adult Book. I am an Adult. It can't be that good if it's written for young people.

    2) It's about the Holocaust, and I think we've all heard enough about that. The author will probably even focus on colors among the grays, as in "Schindler's List."

    3) I have WAY too many other books to read.

    After avoiding the book for as long as possible, I sat down, hoping to enjoy it enough to gain some clever comments for the book group.

    Turns out, most of my concerns were right. But one other thing was also true: THIS BOOK ROCKS.

    The first thing any review will say about this book is that it is narrated by death. So, I might as well get it out of the way. Death, the Hooded One, the Angel of the Night, narrates. He is very busy during the war years, as you might expect. Some people claim this is a mere gimmick, and that the story is strong enough as it is.

    I agree that this is a strong story-- it moves like a sailboat on a brisk day-- but I think the choice to tell it through Death was a good one. Death foreshadows constantly, so we know a bit about which of the characters will die. Instead of ruining the shock value, this heightened my anticipation and dread. And isn't that how people feel during war? They know some of them are bound to die. They know they will lose loved ones. It's one long, hellish wait to see how it will turn out.

    It's also an unusual take on the Holocaust because it focuses on Liesel, an orphaned German girl living in Hitler's birthplace. Liesel (The Book Thief) and the other characters in this book are rich, interesting, and wily. I say wily because at points in the book you hate them, but they change, and you grow to love them. For instance, Liesel's adopted mother is a foul-mouthed, abusive, sharp woman. (SPOILER--->) When Liesel's adopted father is shipped off to war, however, Liesel creeps through the house to see Rosa sleeping with her husband's accordian strapped around her waist. Rosa's changes prove one of the greatest reasons to read good literature-- to get insight into the type of people we don't usually give a second chance.

  • Shannon (Giraffe Days)

    This is a book to treasure, a new classic. I absolutely loved it.

    Set in Germany in the years 1939-1943,

    tells the story of Liesel, narrated by Death who has in his possession the book she wrote about these years. So, in a way, they are both book thieves. Liesel steals randomly at first, and later more methodically, but she's never greedy. Death pockets Liesel's notebook after she leaves it, forgotten in her grief, amongst the destruction that was once her street, her home, and car

    This is a book to treasure, a new classic. I absolutely loved it.

    Set in Germany in the years 1939-1943,

    tells the story of Liesel, narrated by Death who has in his possession the book she wrote about these years. So, in a way, they are both book thieves. Liesel steals randomly at first, and later more methodically, but she's never greedy. Death pockets Liesel's notebook after she leaves it, forgotten in her grief, amongst the destruction that was once her street, her home, and carries it with him.

    Liesel is effectively an orphan. She never knew her father, her mother disappears after delivering her to her new foster parents, and her younger brother died on the train to Molching where the foster parents live. Death first encounters nine-year-old Liesel when her brother dies, and hangs around long enough to watch her steal her first book,

    , left lying in the snow by her brother's grave.

    Her foster parents, Hans and Rosa Herbermann, are poor Germans given a small allowance to take her in. Hans, a tall, quiet man with silver eyes, is a painter (of houses etc.) and plays the accordian. He teaches Liesel how to read and write. Rosa is gruff and swears a lot but has a big heart, and does laundry for rich people in the town. Liesel becomes best friends with her neighbour Rudy, a boy with "hair the colour of lemons" who idolises the black Olympic champion sprinter Jesse Owens.

    One night a Jew turns up in their home. He's the son of a friend of Hans from the first world war, the man who taught him the accordian, whose widowed wife Hans promised to help if she ever needed it. Hans is a German who does not hate Jews, though he knows the risk he and his family are taking, letting Max live in the basement. Max and Liesel become close friends, and he writes an absolutely beautiful story for her, called

    , which damn near broke my heart. It's the story of Max, growing up and coming to Liesel's home, and it's painted over white-painted pages of

    , which you can see through the paint.

    Whenever I read a book, I cannot help but read it in two ways: the story itself, and how it's written. They're not quite inseparable, but they definitely support each other. With

    , Markus Zusak has shown he's a writer of genius, an artist of words, a poet, a literary marvel. His writing is lyrical, haunting, poetic, profound. Death is rendered vividly, a lonely, haunted being who is drawn to children, who has had a lot of time to contemplate human nature and wonder at it. Liesel is very real, a child living a child's life of soccer in the street, stolen pleasures, sudden passions and a full heart while around her bombs drop, maimed veterans hang themselves, bereaved parents move like ghosts, Gestapo take children away and the dirty skeletons of Jews are paraded through the town.

    Many things save this book from being all-out depressing. It's never morbid, for a start. A lively humour dances through the pages, and the richness of the descriptions as well as the richness of the characters' hearts cannot fail to lift you up. Also, it's great to read such a balanced story, where ordinary Germans - even those who are blond and blue-eyed - are as much at risk of losing their lives, of being persecuted, as the Jews themselves.

    I can't go any further without talking about the writing itself. From the very first title page, you know you're in for something very special indeed. The only way to really show you what I mean is to select a few quotes (and I wish I was better at keeping track of lines I love).

    Writing like this is not something just anyone can do: it's true art. Only a writer of Zusak's talent could make this story work, and coud get away with such a proliferation of adjectives and adverbs, to write in such a way as to revitalise the language and use words to paint emotion and a vivid visual landscape in a way you'd never before encountered. This is a book about the power of words and language, and it is fitting that it is written in just such this way.

    The way this book was written also makes me think of a musical, or an elaborate, flamboyant stage-play. It's in the title pages for each part, in Death's asides and manner of emphasing little details or even speech, in the way Death narrates, giving us the ending at the beginning, giving little melodrammatic pronouncements that make you shiver. It's probably the first book I've read that makes me feel how I feel watching

    , if that helps explain it.

    And it made me cry.

  • La Petite Américaine

    UPDATE: AUG 26, 2016: This review has been here 8 years, has 18 pages of 854 comments and 764 likes. There's no outrage for you to add in the comments section that hasn't already been addressed.

    If you want to talk about the book, or why you liked it, or anything else, feel free.

    UPDATE: FEB 17, 2014: I wrote this review 4 years ago on a

    , so I'm well aware that I spelled Chekhov's name wrong. I'm not going to fix it, so please don't drive my review further up in the rankings by co

    UPDATE: AUG 26, 2016: This review has been here 8 years, has 18 pages of 854 comments and 764 likes. There's no outrage for you to add in the comments section that hasn't already been addressed.

    If you want to talk about the book, or why you liked it, or anything else, feel free.

    UPDATE: FEB 17, 2014: I wrote this review 4 years ago on a

    , so I'm well aware that I spelled Chekhov's name wrong. I'm not going to fix it, so please don't drive my review further up in the rankings by commenting on the misspelling. You're very dear, but I know his name is Anton and not Antonin. On that same note, you don't need to add comments telling me that I didn't like the book because I "don't know how to read" and "don't understand metaphors." I actually have an M.A. in in English Lit, so I do know how to read -- much better than you do, in fact. Now quit bothering me before I go get my PhD and then really turn into a credential-touting ass.

    UPDATE: JULY 10, 2013: To all jr. high students who find themselves grossly offended by my review: please remember that every time you leave a comment here, you push my review up even higher in the rankings. Please save us both time and energy by not commenting. Thnx.

    This was the biggest piece of garbage I've ever read after

    . Just as with The Kite Runner, I'm (somewhat) shocked that this book is a bestseller and has been given awards, chewed up and swallowed by the literary masses and regarded as greatness. Riiiight.

    The whole thing can be summed up as the story of a girl who sometimes steals books coming of age during the Holocaust. Throw in the snarky narration by Death (nifty trick except that it doesn't work), a few half-assed drawings of birdies and swastikas, senseless and often laughable prose that sounds like it was pulled from the "poetry" journal of a self-important 15 year-old, and a cast of characters that throughout are like watching cardboard cutouts walking around VERY SLOWLY, and that's the novel.

    Here are some humble observations.

    First, chances are that you, Mr. Zusak, are not Antonin Chekhov. You are, therefore, incapable of properly describing the weather for use as a literary device, and you end up sounding like an asshole. Don't believe me?

    "I like a chocolate-colored sky. Dark, dark chocolate." Really? Do you, now?

    "The sky was dripping. Like a tap that a child has tried it’s hardest to turn off but hasn’t quite managed.” Really?? Wow. Next you'll tell me that the rain was like a shower. I'm moved.

    "Oh, how the clouds stumbled in and assembled stupidly in the sky. Great obese clouds." Yes. Stupid, obese clouds! They need an education and a healthy diet!

    Next, chances are that you, Mr. Zusak, are not William Styron or any one of the other small handful of authors that can get away with Holocaust fiction. They've done their research, had some inkling of writing ability, and were able to tell fascinating stories. You invented a fake town in Germany (probably so you didn't have to do any research) and told a long-winded and poorly-written story, and in 500+ pages you couldn't even make it to 1945, so you sloppily dropped off and wrapped it up in 1943. What's the point of writing historical fiction if you can't even stay within the basic confines of that hisotrical event? For me, this does nothing more than trivialize the mass murder of over 6 million people. Maybe that's why a 30 year-old Australian shouldn't write about the Holocaust. But that's just me. Moving on.

    But what really makes this book expensive toilet paper is the bad writing which is to be found not just in bizarre descriptions of the weather, but really on every page. Some personal favorites?

    "The breakfast colored sun."

    "Somewhere inside her were the souls of words."

    "The

    young man." WTF?!!?

    "He crawled to a disfigured figure."

    "Her words were motionless."

    "It smelled like friendship." (Remind me to sniff my friends next time I see them.)

    "A multitude of words and sentences were at her fingertips." (HUH?)

    "Pinecones littered the ground like cookies."

    Sigh.

    All of this is quite funny coming from a book where the main character supposedly learns the importance of words. Further, I love that the protagonist comes to the conclusion that Hitler "would be nothing without words." Really? REALLY? Would Hitler be nothing without WORDS? What about self-loathing, misplaced blame and hatred, an ideology, xenophobia, charisma, an army, and a pride-injured nation willing to listen? Don't those count for something??

    The shit-storm comes to an end when a bomb lands on our fictional town, wiping out everyone save for the sometimes book-thief main character. Of course. Because weak writers who don't know how to end their story just kill everyone off for a clean break and some nice emotional manipulation. Written for maximum tear-jerking effect, our main character spews out some great lines when she sees the death and destruction around her:

    To her dead mother, "God damn it, you were so beautiful."

    To her dead best friend as she shakes him, "Wake up! I love you! Wake up!" (Didn't I see the same thing in that movie My Girl?)

    Then she profoundly notes that her dead father "...was a man with silver eyes, not dead ones."

    And this kind of angsty adolescent prose just never ended! It went on and on to form the one long-ass, senseless, disjointed story.

    But that's ok. Take it all the junk, give it a quirky narrator, an obscure and mysterious title, throw in a Jew on the run from Nazis who likes to draw silly pictures of birds and swastikas, and market it all as Holocaust lit. Ahh, the packaging of bullshit makes for such a sweet best seller.

    Swallow it down, America. Put it on the shelf next to The Kite Runner. You love this. You live for this.

    SUCKED.

  • Kat Kennedy

    Just to clarify: Yes, I did cry.

    I've read a lot of positive and negative reviews for this book. I can see why people wouldn't like it - I really can. Perhaps because I took a lot out of it personally, I found I enjoyed it a lot.

    Quick test to see if you'll like this book:

    1. Did you like Anne of Green Gables?

    2. Can you cope with an off-beat, melancholy, caustic, dead-pan, self-righteous narrator?

    3. Do you like words?

    (Questions 4-8 were all about what kind of underwear you're wearing so don't worry

    Just to clarify: Yes, I did cry.

    I've read a lot of positive and negative reviews for this book. I can see why people wouldn't like it - I really can. Perhaps because I took a lot out of it personally, I found I enjoyed it a lot.

    Quick test to see if you'll like this book:

    1. Did you like Anne of Green Gables?

    2. Can you cope with an off-beat, melancholy, caustic, dead-pan, self-righteous narrator?

    3. Do you like words?

    (Questions 4-8 were all about what kind of underwear you're wearing so don't worry about them).

    So, let's all gather around for story time with Mistress Kat.

    Two incidents set me off lately.

    1. My neighbour came to me and complained about the Islanders (for those not Australian: the Tongan, Fiji, Papa New Guinea and New Zealand populations of Australia) causing trouble and otherwise defiling our great and beautiful nation.

    2. I was tooling around on Facebook when I noticed one of my friends (one of those friends you’ve never met except in an internet community) hosting a link to a video of a speech from a man addressing the American people. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that he is reminiscent of a neo-Hitler but let’s just say that the comparison would not be wholly unearned. Her comments on the video were that: everything he’d said was right, it was time that people sat up and listened for the sake of their country and that it’s about time “somebody did something”. (Fuck me, I’ve heard this phrase so many times. What is it exactly that they’re referring to? Do they actually know? I’ve yet to hear them pronounce what this “something” is or what it looks like. Is there some plan that I’m not aware of that they’re referring to? Does it involve chipmunks, honey and tequila?)

    To my neighbour, I simply mumbled that I had to leave and got in my car. I was offended on behalf of my friends so I blew him off and I haven’t really spoken to him since. To my Facebook friend, I resisted the urge to make any comments. I debated about starting a fight that would, in all likelihood, spill over to our community. In the end I ignored her and I haven’t spoken to her since.

    The Book Thief is not your typical WWII story. It doesn’t even ask you to sympathize with the Jews. Their plight is background to the story and their struggles and pains are rarely shown except through the pitiful/beautiful character of Max. This story actually focuses on the bad guys. Zusak assumes that you know about the struggle and the plight of the Jews. He assumes that you feel for them, that you are horrified on their behalf and so he doesn’t spend much time eliciting an emotion that you are expected to have.

    Instead it focuses on the BAD guys. You get to know and live the lives of a small and poor town in Germany. The thing is, though, that these aren’t really the bad guys. Zusak, probably rightly, assumes that we’d never be able to really empathize and enjoy reading a book about characters truly bad. They’re not really bad. After all, they may be Germans and they may have escaped persecution and death, but they’re still poor. They’re the tiny fraction of the German population who sympathizes with the Jews. They harbour a Jewish man in their home and come to love him. The thing is though that for most of the novel, they’re not the good guys either. They don’t speak up for the Jewish people, they don’t try to change popular opinion, they don’t stand for what’s right. They quietly try to get by without causing waves and without risking much of themselves.

    So you can see how I would sympathize. How could I think that I’m one of the “good guys” when I don’t stand up for people either? Shouldn’t I have challenged my neighbour and asked how he knew that the Islanders were to blame for all the crime? Shouldn’t I have asked him how many Islanders he knew? How he could make such assumptions about people? Shouldn’t I have challenged my facebook friend? Shouldn’t I have asked her why she’s spreading propaganda? Couldn’t I have probed her to think critically about this man’s claims, about facts and ethics?

    No. I didn’t want to cause problems and I didn’t want to make waves.

    The narrator of The Book Thief makes a claim that Hitler’s took over a country and started a war – not with guns or weapons but with words. I’ve read others consider this claim to be stupid and ridiculous but I actually agree with him.

    When I was a child I asked my Great Aunt Nell why she insisted on engaging me in long and tedious hypothetical debates about morality, human nature, ethics and theology. Her response was always the same: if you don’t fill a child’s head with all the right stuff, someone will come along and fill it with all the wrong stuff. It’s kind of like those corny motivational quotes that the teachers post in their rooms: Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.

    Well, I agree. When you don’t educate people, when you don’t teach them to think critically, with full understanding and proper knowledge, then other people come along and whisper in their ear and fill their heads up with mindless rot. Hitler told the German people how to think. He told them who was Wrong. Why they were Wrong. How to fix the Wrong. What was Right. Then he did the most powerful thing a person could do: he told them a story. When you tell a whole nation a story about the future – a gloriously bright future with Plenty and Joy; a future in which they are redeemed and have conquered their enemies; a future in which they are happy and Everything Is As It Should Be – and if you tell that story well enough, then you can conquer a country and wage a war without ever firing a single bullet.

    Coincidently when you don’t speak up, when you don’t proclaim the truth, when you’re too afraid to replace ignorance with knowledge then you’re no better than an accomplice to a crime. I can’t imagine how my friends would feel if they’d known that I stood by and allowed them and their family and children to be slandered like that. Pretty appalled, I imagine – and rightfully so.

    And now we come to the big reason why I think a lot of people didn’t like this book – the narrator.

    The Hunger Games did a similar thing to The Book Thief. It sought to instil in its readers a sense of proper shame. However, as opposed to The Book Thief, you didn’t feel judged. After all, for the Sins that The Hunger Games was preaching of, we’re all guilty – and in our combined guilt there seems to be a lessening of accountability. Perhaps there’s a sense that we’re all going down together. When we’re damned, at least we’ll have good company, right? The Book Thief, however, singles you out as solely responsible. It strips you naked and looks down on you as it asks you to account of yourself. Not even the narrator can sympathize with you because he is the only one left blameless and innocent, looking upon us with a reserved kind of pity and bewilderment.

    Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment. I don’t mind being stripped down. I don’t mind being reprimanded and so I loved this book. I loved this book for inspiring me to be even more outlandishly outspoken and persistently and doggedly forthcoming on my opinions of these issues. I loved this book because I loved the narrator. I loved this book because I loved the story.

    I loved this book because I now have the PERFECT excuse to start a helluva lot more fights.

    For some reason, that thought makes me very happy.

  • Emily May

    I hate it when this happens, I truly do.

    It makes me feel wrong inside when everyone else loves a book that I find to be underwhelming... I mean, what's wrong with me?? Did I not get it?? Obviously it must be a lack of intelligence or something because

    seems to rate this 5 stars. I was looking through my friend reviews hoping that someone would share my opinion - at least a tiny bit - and seeing 5 stars, 5 stars, 4.5 stars, 5 stars...

    I can appreciate that

    is a very talente

    I hate it when this happens, I truly do.

    It makes me feel wrong inside when everyone else loves a book that I find to be underwhelming... I mean, what's wrong with me?? Did I not get it?? Obviously it must be a lack of intelligence or something because

    seems to rate this 5 stars. I was looking through my friend reviews hoping that someone would share my opinion - at least a tiny bit - and seeing 5 stars, 5 stars, 4.5 stars, 5 stars...

    I can appreciate that

    is a very talented writer, some of the phrases he uses are beautiful and highly quotable - more reminiscent of poetry than prose. And the story idea? A tale narrated by Death and set in Nazi Germany... original and ominous.

    But it was the story-telling that never really worked for me. This is one of those

    that are told in a

    and are meant to cleverly build up a bigger picture...

    I could imagine I was reading a collection of short stories (and not a full-length novel) about playground fights, developing friendships, WWI stories and death.

    These stories are supposed to come together and form a novel that is all kinds of awesome, but it was so bland. I also think that

    can make you want to throw yourself off the nearest tall building... anyone read

    and spend 99% of it just wishing they'd get to the effin' lighthouse?!

    I'm giving this book 3 stars for the pretty words and the concept. But other than that this book unfortunately won't stay with me. I find it an easily forgettable novel. I'm sorry :(

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  • Nataliya

    Wow.

    what impact it had on me. But, like Liesel, words is all I have, so I will have to try.

    This is a lyrical, poignant, heartbreaking, soul-shattering story disjointedly told by a nearly-omniscient, fascinated by humans narrator -

    Wow.

    what impact it had on me. But, like Liesel, words is all I have, so I will have to try.

    This is a lyrical, poignant, heartbreaking, soul-shattering story disjointedly told by a nearly-omniscient, fascinated by humans narrator -

    And yet he becomes strangely fascinated with one particular human, the

    , whose childhood is marked by war, who learns to read and love and treasure books, who has her small rebellions against the force of society, who learns to love and be loved.

    Because the world is baffling, because it is a cruel place, because often it tries to stomp out love and beauty.

    The book is

    with the masterfully written language reflecting the alien, non-understandable, strangely fascinating nature of the narrator - Death. It is the mix of colors and strange metaphors, semi-dictionary entries and frequent strange asides, with skipping time, with

    It will note the strangest things, ruminate about the weirdest subjects, and casually in the middle of a lyrical passage, omnisciently will tell us that terrible things are about to occur. It is its job to know, after all. And this prescience does not soften the blows when they finally come;

    , who possessed so much integrity and courage, who became real parents to Liesel, who risked everything for what they thought was right.

    , the Jewish fistfighter, who dreamed of battling Hitler and gave Liesel the perfect gift with everything he had.

    Liesel, who learns more about the cold cruelty of this world than most children should ever know. Liesel, who learns to read from the Gravedigger's handbook, who rescues the book from fire, who would rather steal books than food, who is not afraid to show kindness in the face of very real threat, who finally gives Rudy that overdue kiss,

    All of them remained human despite the circumstances, despite the pressure to do otherwise, despite anything. And I love them for that.

    This is a wonderful, lyrical, surreal, excellent book that broke my heart into tiny little pieces and yet gave me hope that even in the worst of times we can find beauty.

    -----------------

    DISCLAIMER: This is the first review that I've wrote after working four 14-hour days in a row followed by endless reading of textbooks and paperwork, all sore from endless and painful retracting in surgery, having composed this review in my head as a means to not pass out from hunger in the endless surgery. So if something in it seems incoherent - that's why.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    A few days ago, when I was starting The Book Thief, my mother stopped by and saw the book on my coffee table. Having just read it herself (and knowing me better than anyone else in the world, I might add), she was determined to save me from myself. She did her very best to convince me not to read it. She described in detail the three day long head

    A few days ago, when I was starting The Book Thief, my mother stopped by and saw the book on my coffee table. Having just read it herself (and knowing me better than anyone else in the world, I might add), she was determined to save me from myself. She did her very best to convince me not to read it. She described in detail the three day long headache all the crying had caused her and the heartache she now has to live with, but I’m nothing if not stubborn. I guess I never learned to listen to my mother.

    I’m pretty sure her parting sentence was: “Don’t come crying to me.” And I didn’t. I huddled in a corner and cried inconsolably instead.

    Death himself narrates the story about a little girl named Liesel growing up with her foster parents in Nazi Germany. At the beginning, I felt somewhat intimidated by the idea of Death as a narrator. I assumed that his voice would be dark and thunderous, but for the most part, he was a ray of light illuminating earth’s saddest time. Incredibly insightful observations and occasional dry humor are only some of the things no one but Death could have brought into this story. Besides, we hear people calling God’s name every day for many reasons, but when Death calls to Him in despair and even those calls fall on deaf ears, no one can fail to understand the gravity of the situation.

    The Book Thief is not one of those books you read compulsively, desperate to find out what’s on the next page. No. It is, in fact, better to read it slowly, in small doses, in a way that allows you to savor every word and absorb the power and the magic it contains. All the while, you know what’s going to happen. Death has no patience for mysteries. However, anticipation of the inevitable makes it even worse. My whole body was tingling with fear because I knew what was coming and I knew that it was only a matter of time.

    Zusak found a way to give a fresh approach to a much-told story. He offered a glimpse at the other side of the coin. Really, should we feel sorry for the people hiding in a basement in Munich suburbs? Sure, bombs are falling on their heads, but most of them are members of the Nazi Party, willingly or reluctantly. Some of them truly think that Jews are no better than rats. Some, on the other hand, are hiding a Jew in their own basement. Some are just innocent children. But the more important question is, are we any better at all if we don’t feel compassion and sorrow? Death does a great job of asking all these questions in a calm, unobtrusive way.

    I’m not pretentious enough to believe that my clumsy words can ever do this book justice. I won’t even try. Time will speak for it, as I’m pretty sure it will survive for decades and generations to come. The Book Thief and Markus Zusak should find their place in every school textbook all over the world.

    Seven thousand stars could never be enough for this book.

    EDIT: A few words from the man himself:

  • Sophia.

    Liesel: Hi, I'm Liesel. I have no personality, but I'm a cute little girl.

    Death: Her name is not Liesel. Her name is THE BOOK THIEF and I shall name her that for the rest of the book.

    Liesel: Even though I stole, like, 3 books in total or something.

    Death: Shut up, Book Thief.

    Rudy: Hello everyone. Have you ever seen a lemon? That's what my hair looks like.

    Death:

    : this books is filled with many interesting facts. Very releva

    Liesel: Hi, I'm Liesel. I have no personality, but I'm a cute little girl.

    Death: Her name is not Liesel. Her name is THE BOOK THIEF and I shall name her that for the rest of the book.

    Liesel: Even though I stole, like, 3 books in total or something.

    Death: Shut up, Book Thief.

    Rudy: Hello everyone. Have you ever seen a lemon? That's what my hair looks like.

    Death:

    : this books is filled with many interesting facts. Very relevant and everything. We shall kick off with the definition from the dictionary of the word lemon.

    Reader: The fuck?

    Death: A lemon is a vegetable that is very yellow and acid. That's what the Book Thief's friend's hair looks like.

    Reader: That's not a very good description. That's how I picture Rudy now.

    Death: Shut up and read so you can cry, reader.

    *Intimidated reader keeps on reading*

    Liesel: Papa!

    Papa: Liesel.

    Death: Reader, are you crying yet?

    Reader: Can you just stop that?

    Death: What?

    Reader: That. Popping up out of nowhere?

    Death: Get used to it. And keep on reading before I killz you! And woohoho,

    : This book is not gonna end well.

    Reader: Are you serious? You could have used spoiler tags, man!

    *Annoyed reader keeps on reading*

    Liesel: Papa, can you play the accordion?

    Papa: Yes, Liesel.

    *Plays the accordion. Everyone else is bored*

    Rudy: Hey, Saukerl.

    Death: Listen, reader. Saukerl means bitch, basically, but I suppose it's less brutal if they say it in German.

    : A lot of random words will be in German for the sole purpose of making this book look smart and bilingual. But it really is useless as every, and I do mean EVERY word in German is immediately followed by the English translation.

    Reader: Errrr. What's the point then?

    Death: Who said it has to be useful? I bet you're one of those ridiculous people who thinks a book has to have a plot? Or that characters have to be multi-dimensional? And you probably think that two metaphors per sentence is too much? Well, YOU ARE WRONG. This book will show you exactly how wrong you are.

    Reader: Uh. Why did I pick up this book again?

    Death: Because everyone luurved it. And you will, too.

    *Skeptical reader keeps on reading*

    Liesel: Papa!

    Papa: Liesel.

    Liesel: Mama!

    Mama: Shut the fuck up, you slut bitch cunt fucking whore.

    Liesel: Okayyy. Rudy?

    Rudy: What, Saukerl?

    Liesel: I don't know. I'm just bored.

    Reader: So am I.

    Rudy: Wanna go steal something?

    Death: YO, READER. HAD YOU FORGOTTEN ME?

    . What the book thief and the lemon are about to do is going to end BADLY. You have the tissues ready?

    Reader: What?

    *Random shit happens*

    Death: MUHAHAHAHA DIDN'T I SAY THAT WOULD HAPPEN?

    Reader: I know. That's why I'm not crying. I kinda knew it, because you TOLD me EVERYTHING before it actually happened!

    Death: Shut up and keep on reading.

    Reader: But I'm already 524 pages in and nothing's happened yet! Sigh.

    *Goes back to reading.*

    Rudy: Saukerl, wanna play football?

    Liesel: Okay.

    *They play football and everyone else is bored.*

    Death:

    ...

    Reader: Oh, man, not you again!

    Death: I AM THE NARRATOR OF THE STORY AND THEREFORE I SHOULD BE TALKING AT ALL TIMES EVEN THOUGH I AM ACTUALLY INTERRUPTING THE NATURAL FLOW OF THE STORY.

    Reader: Stop yelling at me.

    Death:

    : This was Nazi Germany and A BOOK WAS SOON TO BE STOLEN.

    Liesel: Oh, a book. That's nice.

    Death: SEE? IT IS NAZI GERMANY AND YET IT IS FULL OF BOOK THIEVERY.

    Reader: Can you just stop glorifying book thievery? It's not that impressive. You make me expect something huge and it's not. So okay, she stole a book. BIG DEAL! It's not that amazing. Stop acting like it is.

    Death: *glares*

    Liesel: Papa?

    Papa: Yes, Liesel?

    Liesel: Can you read this book for me?

    Papa: Yes.

    *They read and everyone else is bored.*

    Mama: Hey, you fucking punk ass motherfucking slut, dinner's ready!

    Liesel: Coming, Mommy.

    Reader: THE FUCK?

    Death:

    . First, the definition from the dictionary of the word Dinner. Dinner is the main meal of the day, eaten in the evening or at midday. ...

    Reader: This is a joke, right? What's the second information?

    Death: A JEW IS COMING YOYOYO.

    Reader: Thanks. I love to be surprised, so it's pretty cool to see how you spoil EVERYTHING. And practically nothing happens in the first place, so everything that COULD make me care for the book is now ruined.

    Max: Hello, everyone. I am sweet and cliché and nice and Jewish. Love me?

    Liesel: Yes!

    Papa and Mama: Let's hide him!

    Rudy: Hey Saukerl, wanna play football?

    Liesel: No. Fuck off.

    *Goes to play with Max. Everyone else is bored*

    Max: Here Liesel. Look at these 16-pages-long drawings I made for you.

    Reader: Am I supposed to read that? Hey, Editor!

    Editor: Yeah?

    Reader: Why didn't you make the words of these stupid drawings bigger? I can't see shit.

    Editor: Not my problem.

    Reader: Fine. I just won't read it, then.

    Editor: 'S fine. You think

    actually read them? Ha, ha. *moonwalks away*

    Death:

    .

    Reader: You better tell me that the story is over, I can't take it anymore.

    Death: Fine. I will tell you how it ends.

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  • Jesse (JesseTheReader)

    It's going to take awhile for this book to fully sink in, but overall this was a masterpiece.


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