Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
Pages: Print 552
Release Date: March 14, 2006
Author: Markus Zusak
Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a copy I purchased on my own. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the publisher or author.
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.
By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.
But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.
This young adult fiction novel told from the perspective of death is both humorous and heartbreaking. Death, portrayed as a man, become fascinated by Liesel Meminger and during a routine soul recovery. Who is the soul he is coming to retrieve, her brother’s? Liesel is on her way to new her foster family with her brother and mother. Hitler has taken over Germany, and her mother is ill and unable to care for her children. The two are going to a foster family in Molching, Germany. Liesel notices her brother take his last breath on the train with their mother to their new home. At that moment, they must get off the train in the next town and bury her brother then continue their journey to Molching. Liesel stares as they bury her brother with only the gravediggers near and her mother. Then on their way from the gravesite Liesel notices a book in the snow, “The Gravediggers Handbook,” she takes the book as a souvenir from the day’s events.
“The Gravediggers Handbook” leads her to learn to read, sparks her love for books, and her receiving the name “The Book Thief” by Death. After her brother’s funeral, she continues the journey to her new home with her foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann. She will learn to love and trust her foster parents. Her first few months in her new home are challenging, and it gets worse when she starts at her new school and realizes she is behind the other students. She must learn to read and write to move up to her right grade. Liesel will make friends with the kids in her neighborhood, help her mother with the laundry business, learn to read with her foster father and learn to survive. Her love for reading and writing not only saves her life but benefits the lives of those around her. As Liesel learns to adjust to her new home the war around her continues to wage, and the poor small town of Molching must learn to survive as rations diminish. To make matters more complicated, Hans has agreed to be a haven for a Jewish male. The family keeps a huge secret as they sacrifice their lives for a friend. Will this poor small town and the occupants of Himmel street survive to see the end of the war? Or will everyone die trying to survive?
I tried to limit my summary but I loved this book, and it’s hard to hit every point. I adored this book and the writing style. I liked the fact that the narrator took breaks in the story to tell a bit more about himself and his journey to Liesel. This book touched my heart as it was filled with a variety of emotions. The connection that Liesel grew between Hans and Rosa Hubermann was described in great detail to paint a picture. Markus Zusak words painted a picture of emotional relationships, turmoil, loss, and family. I could tell that he meticulously developed each main character and the supporting characters as their stories started to intertwine. Each character had their own back story with was tied well into the story of Liesel. This book is one of my favorites by far. If you enjoy reading historical fiction and is a fan of “All the Light We Cannot See” then you will enjoy this novel. The Book Thief takes you on a journey through love, loss, immense tragedy, and redemption. I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book immediately.
To purchase your copy of this novel you can visit this link to view purchasing links https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19063.The_Book_Thief
Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!
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