25 January 2016

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - Book Review

If you ever do, the Book Thief is one of the best books you will read in your life. Its length might frighten you at first, but I can assure you that it's not going to be an issue once you get started.
There are a few elements to the book that make it so smooth, intriguing and original:
·     - the irony of its narrator (Death), who knows alive humans more than one might think;
·     - its incredibly human characters;
·     - the brief but clever descriptions of those people and situations;
·     - its historical authenticity.
If you read this masterpiece, you'll know what I'm talking about.

The Book Thief is about a young girl, Liesel Meminger, whose communist mother is forced to leave her to new foster parents in Molching, Germany, during the Second World War. After the first hard moments, Liesel settles in her new household thanks to her amazing father Hans and their nights spent reading together, and partly to her strict but big-hearted mother Rosa. She is also lucky enough to have a new best friend, Rudy, with whom she has fun stealing fruit and books. Things become harder, but also more fun when Max, a Jew, is hidden by the Hubermanns in their basement, because he becomes a family member and someone they need to get rid of. Because being human or defending innocent people wasn't possible in Nazi Germany.

The topic of a book thief fascinated me from the first moment I heard of it. The idea of a young girl eager learn and read so much at a young age is beautiful. Liesel is an incredibly clever girl and one who has already gone through many hard times in her short 13 year-old lifetime. She is grateful for her life and enthusiastic about reading, stealing books and food with her best friend Rudy.

Another amazing character is Hans Hubermann, Liesel's foster father. The relationship between the two is described as one full of understanding and love, and many sensations described reminded me of those felt with my father and grandfather when I was younger.

As for the style, something I really enjoyed was the mixture of English and German. I'm still a beginner but those key words the writer inserted with their respective explanation was interesting and enriching. Not sure if non-linguists would agree!

The layout of the book is very peculiar in that many pages are broken by a little and clear explanation of a word, a situation, etc. Since the narration was so good, I would have rather just read a smoother page, but this was another of the things that made the book great.

I recommend this book to historical fiction and WWII fiction lovers, big and small readers and everyone else.

My edition: Markus Zusak, 2007. The Book Thief. London: Transworld Publishers. Pages: 542. This edition looks beautiful but it's quite heavy because of its bulk. Clear font and nice drawings. 


  1. I always heard this book was great! I feel like it's a read Brian would like (he pretty much loves anything taking place in the WWII era). :)

    -Lor //

    1. It is, pick it up and you won't regret it ;) I am also very into WWII, and the Middle Ages - Renaissance :)