Thursday, March 4, 2010
The Book Thief
Liesel Meminger is a 9-year-old German girl when she is brought to live with her new foster family in the late 1930s. During the course of her stay she would learn to read, steal, fall in love, hide a Jew, and lose everything. This is the story of the book thief, told by the one being that most felt was constantly present during WWII.
With all the material on WWII (fiction, non-fiction, young adult, adult, etc.) it's hard to come up with something original. Zusak, however, took everything we knew about the war and showed it to us through two new pairs of eyes. Liesel is not Jewish. She doesn't have the same relationship with Nazi Germany that Anne Frank had. Zusak shows us Nazi Germany from the Nazi Germany side; few authors have the courage to make us feel compassion for those that are demonized.
The second pair of eyes we have the privilege of looking through is that of the narrator: Death. Zusak brings Death to life, humanizing him. In fact, Death was one of my favorite characters.
Zusak not only tells a great story, but he knows exactly how to hammer it home. He uses colorful twists of words to lace together short, simple sentences that scream the truth. We've heard it all before. But not in this way.
5 out of 5 stars. You will love this book. There's a very good possibility that you will cry. When you turn the last page, you will want to savor it, to share it, and to read it again. If you haven't already read it, run to your nearest bookstore (yes, I think you should buy this one) and if you have read it, read it again. You know you want to.