Monday, March 1, 2010

Book Review: The Book Thief

The story of a young girl in Nazi Germany who finds comfort in words. That's a terrible way to sum up the story, but I'm not writing a book report here, it's a review, ok? I just feel like I can't adequately describe how hauntingly beautiful this book is. It's one that I simultaneously didn't want to pick up and couldn't put down. It's definitely a tear-jerker, so read it with a box of tissues handy.

When I originally heard that the story if narrated by Death, I worried that it was merely a plot contrivance that the author was using to do something "different". If there is one thing I can't stand it's an author who writes something that is obviously trying to be "different" or "edgy". But Zusak managed to pull it off well. The narration felt natural and Death made for a believable and sympathetic character. It worked well with the book and never felt like the author was using a device just for the sake of using it.

Another aspect of the book I appreciated was the German setting. Most of the books I've read surrounding World War II that include Germany show the rise of Nazism, the nationalism, the propaganda, and the way the German people were led into Hitler's web of genocide. This book showed a different side of the German people, the every day people, who were wounded by the war and lost loved ones for reasons they didn't understand.

For me, The Book Thief ranks with The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom for absolutely breath-taking and heart-breaking beauty and grief. Have you read it? What did you think?

7 comments:

  1. Well, you know I love this book. :-) I love Zusak's writing, it's just so beautiful. And Max is such a heartbreaking character. Love, love, love this book.

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  2. Nice - another great review for The Book Thief. I, too, loved the idea of the "sympathetic Germans" - a rarity in literature. And I also loved Death's voice - a wonderful gimmick that allowed him to narrate Liesel's story, but insert his own witticisms as well. And I think "a young girl who finds comfort in words" is a fine way to summarize this book! ;)

    I read this just a few weeks ago and enjoyed it a lot too. My review is here, if you're interested: http://thenewdorkreviewofbooks.blogspot.com/2010/02/book-thief-power-of-words.html

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  3. I too am completely in love with this book! I'm so glad you got through it and enjoyed it! Definitely one of those books you should read with tissues.

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  4. I loved this book.
    I really appreciated that it gave the German perspective of the war. It showed what an ugly thing it was, for so many people, and the effect that it had on all.

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  5. This has been on my TBR list for a while. It keeps getting such great review, I'm going to have to get my hands on a copy soon!

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  6. I also absolutely loved this book. I just gave you the sunshine award. :)

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  7. I just got it from the library last week and I am hoping to read it this weekend.

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