Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Book 8: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Pages:  552.

How it was obtained: 2.99 from Goodwill.  Sometimes our Goodwill actually gets in nice looking books.  You have to be there the day they come in though.  Luckily ours is right next door to the video rental place, so I usually drop in to see if any nice looking, net books have come into the store.

Time spent on the "to read" shelf:  6 months.

Days spent reading it:  7 days.

Why I read it:  The book looked interesting, I had seen it a few times in the bookstores we frequent, so when I found it for a mere 2.99, I had to have it and read it.

Brief review:
In case you have missed it, I love a unique perspective in a book.  Therefore, when I read the dust-jacket and saw that this book was narrated by Death, I was hooked.
This book starts off a little disjointed, images are flashed quickly, and dropped quickly as Death begins his tale about the Book Thief.  However, as the tale begins to unfold I was sucked in and did not want to let go.

What can I say about this book?  It is a unique telling of Nazi Germany through the eyes of a girl, named Liesel, and her adoptive family who do not buy the Nazi propaganda and help to hide a Jew named Max.  The tale is wonderful, as we see Liesel's life through the eyes of Death.

I must admit, Markus Zusak has entered a very elite group of writers in my life.  I do not cry very often when I read books.  Not even if they are extremely sad.  However a few authors know how to pull my heart strings and make a few tears roll down as I read.  Kate DiCamillo does it to me in all of her books.  And now Markus Zusak.  If you are under the impression that a book narrated by Death about Nazi Germany is going to end with all sunshine and no gloom, look again at the pieces of the puzzle.  

The Book Thief will have you praising the virtues of mankind in the midst of despair, as well as cursing the hatred that mankind also possesses.  I would highly recommend this book to just about anyone.  The Book Thief makes us think about love, war, loss, friendship, and the perseverance of men to bring hope to hopeless situations. And these are good topics to think about and discuss with our families and friends.  This book is marketed to young adults, but once again it definitely transcends that genre and can certainly be enjoyed by adults as well.

One side note--This book truly made me think about the people in Nazi Germany.  I guess in my mind there has always been this monolithic idea that all Germans at that time were compliant and empowered Hitler.  I don't know why I have thought this, but The Book Thief brought a fresh perspective and names to the masses of people who were simply living life in Germany under one of the most evil tyrants in history.  Many were forced into compliance.  Some were killed because they dissented.  I did not cheer when bombs were dropped on Germany in this book, I cried.  And that alone was worth reading this book.  It brought a new perspective of war to me.  The Book Thief reminds me that our enemies are human, just like us.  That lesson is just as pertinent now as it would have been during WWII. 

Favorite quote:  "It kills me sometimes, how people die."  --Spoken by Death.

Stars: 4.5 out of 5

Final Word:  Provocative.

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