Saturday, June 5, 2010

Review-The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I recently met a YA librarian who recommended The Book Thief. It was already on my Fill In The Gaps list since it won awards and other people had mentioned they enjoyed it. Like 80% of the other books I read I didn't really know what The Book Thief was about. It's about a young girl growing up in Germany at the start of WWII. Yeah you knew that eh?
The book is narrated by Death. At first I wasn't sure that was going to work for me, but quickly got used to Death narrating. Death narrated in both a impersonal (this is how it happened) way and a deeply personal way. Death had a great way of going back and forth on his narration.
The main character, Liesel, lived in this deeply depressing town with little happiness. As she learns to read she finds other ways to escape from the dreary existence of her life and makes true friends along the way. But rather than losing herself in a good book, those books create bridges to other people. I think my favorite part is when she reads to everyone in the basement during the raids. As she reads people become focused on her words and the story and forget the bombs outside.
The writing is so beautiful. Despite that the setting of a war torn country, Zusak makes the landscape come to life. The town was definitely another character, the buildings and the streets became real in my mind. I enjoyed the little asides that were strewn through the book. It made the book less depressing. Honestly, I did enjoy it especially the last 200 pages or so. Before that eh. I liked the writing but I wasn't feeling it as much. I think I was afraid to care about the characters too much because you know something bad is going to happen to them. But the characters beat me down in the end and I was drawn into their lives. Overall I enjoyed it but still kind of pissed that I only got one page of what happens to Max and that did not answer my questions.


Emily Cross said...

When i read this book - it was just . . . amazing! I absolutely loved it and I loved how Markus Zusak writes and structures the story!

Delighted you enjoyed it!!