Book Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Published: 2005
Genre: Young Adult Historical

Synopsis: 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.

My Rating: red-starred-starred-starred-star

The difficulty with reviewing books that everyone has read is that  one seldom finds a way to say something new, something exciting when so many others have done a great job of pointing out all of the attributes present in this novel.

The one thing I will mention is that I think I had a different idea of the content of this book, when I read reviews about it, quite often it was mentioned that it was a book about books and truly it’s not. This is a book about a girl and the five or so years that impact her while living in Nazi Germany with her adoptive parents. As many people know, this is a book narrated by death and quite frankly he’s the best character. His perspective is different, fresh and at times rather amusing.

This book does not read like YA, I will state that first and I, for one, welcomed that fact. I think that if was written like much YA is written now days this would’ve been drivel. This is written and it’s much more like literary fiction. Needless to say, I enjoyed this book a lot and I can see how it’s many people’s favorite book of all time.

I did have some problems with the pacing, I think it bogged down in certain parts, particularly the predictable middle. Yet this is expected with novels written in a literary fashion so that was not surprising. The ending was, as expected, a gut-wrencher, and I sobbed on a Sunday night waking up with a frightful headache first thing on a Monday.

I highly recommend this if you’re one of the 4 people that have yet to read this and you’re not a fan of YA, this will be palatable. Also, if you’re a strictly YA reader and want something with a bit more bite, this is also a good choice for you.



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