Thursday, 26 May 2016

Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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.

Kindle Edition, 576 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Young Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

I made a deal with myself to  try and read a few of the books on my TBR pile each month on top of my other book commitments. The Book Thief has been on the top of that pile for quite a while. I know, I know! Try not to judge...I'm quite embarrassed that it has taken this long for me to tackle it. I honestly don't have any excuses. I love historical fiction and more importantly books surrounding World War I and World War II. My Mother, Sister and Daughter have all read it as well as numerous of my friends. It was time for me to read it.

I knew I was in trouble after just a few pages. Not only did the story take place in WWII Germany but it was narrated by death. It did not have the makings of a happily ever after. First off, I wasn't sure how an entire book (particularly one that is 576 pages long) could be narrated by death without being completely depressing. I have to say though, that it worked beautifully. Of course there was a lot of depressing content, it was WWII after all, but at the same time there was a lot of beauty within the pages. Not only was the narration of the story unique but so was the writing and together it made for one of the best books that I have read in quite some time. The descriptors in this book were so vivid that I felt like I could reach out and touch them. It was pure 100% talent at its finest.

I won't go into detail about the plot because this book has been reviewed millions of times. I will say, however, that the synopsis did not do it justice. It was far bigger and greater than how it was described. Some of the best characters were also found within the pages of this book that I adored. Leisel Meminger was an amazing young girl with a love for books. How could I not love her and the people she loved like Max, Rudy and Papa to name just a few.

I won't lie and say that it was all rainbows and unicorns althought there was a lot of colour. There were times when I had a lump in my throat and a few times the tears ran down my face. I really can't properly put into words how moving and enjoyable this book was for me. After reading hundreds (yes hundreds) of books surrounding WWII you would think that they would all start to read the same. This was absolutely not the case. This was a uniquely beautiful story that would be suitable for readers of all ages. There really isn't anything that I can say other than it is a must read. I wish I hadn't waited so long to read it myself.

I loved every heartbreaking page of this book and won't soon forget it.

About the Author

Markus Zusak was born in 1975 and is the author of five books, including the international bestseller, The Book Thief , which is translated into more than forty languages. First released in 2005, The Book Thief has spent a total of 375 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and still remains there eight years after it first came out.

His first three books, The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe and When Dogs Cry (also known as Getting the Girl ), released between 1999 and 2001, were all published internationally and garnered a number of awards and honours in his native Australia, and the USA.

The Messenger (or I am the Messenger ), published in 2002, won the 2003 Australian Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award (Older Readers) and the 2003 NSW Premier's Literary Award (Ethel Turner Prize), as well as receiving a Printz Honour in America. It also won numerous national readers choice awards across Europe, including the highly regarded Deutscher Jugendliteratur prize in Germany.

It is The Book Thief , however, that has established Markus Zusak as one of the most successful authors to come out of Australia. To date, The Book Thief has held the number one position at,, the New York Times bestseller list, as well as in countries across South America, Europe and Asia. It has also been in the top five bestsellers in the UK and several other territories. It has amassed many and varied awards, ranging from literary prizes to readers choice awards to prizes voted on by booksellers. It was the only book to feature on both the USA and UK World Book Night Lists in 2012, and has now been adapted into a major motion picture. 

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