Review: “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak

Woah, I nearly forgot to write a review for this because it was just that dull. Truthfully, I find reviews for books with this kind of subject matter hard to write because I don’t want to seem insensitive. I try to put myself in the shoes of the characters and figure out if I would make the same decisions. Often times that doesn’t work too well because I would never really know. (I’d like to think I’d feel the same way as Papa as he was one of my favorite characters.)

the-book-thiefTitle: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release date: March 14, 2006
Length: 550 pages (paperback)
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.”

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One of major problems with this book is that is was slow and rather dull, like I stated above. I wasn’t too keen on the writing style either…or maybe it was the narrator I didn’t like–I’m not certain even now. Despite that, I did like how…poetic the narrator was at times. Those were the moments I liked the most especially with such a heavy subject matter.

Something else I can appreciate is the main character’s, Liesel, desire for books. Words became incredibly important and valuable to her, and yet… I don’t quite understand why. Don’t get me wrong, please. I appreciate it, and maybe I understand just a little bit but only how important it was one one of the characters, Max, considering a particular book saved his life in a sense.

I’m not sure I liked any of the other characters except Papa. His internal struggle was heartbreaking and you can tell her loved Liesel, and everything he did was to protect his family. As for his wife, Rosa, I don’t know what to make of her, especially her constant verbal abuse towards Liesel. It’s almost as if Rosa doesn’t know how to express love towards her husband or Liesel so she simply lashes out and complains on nearly every page. That was incredibly frustrating to keep reading her interactions with other characters.

I was surprised to find that I enjoyed the ending. I wasn’t sure I would enjoy much else about the book but alas, the ending really got to me. It’s probably because I like seeing things come to full circle and this one did and was handled very well by the narrator.

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2 thoughts on “Review: “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak

  1. Sarah says:

    Funnily enough, the ending is what let me down! Haha. I suppose I think things at least a little bit open ended. I found this one a bit of a let down due to it being over hyped, but like you I did enjoy Papa’s character and Liesel’s love for books.

    Liked by 1 person

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