The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Amazon Synopsis: HERE IS A SMALL FACT - YOU ARE GOING TO DIE

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.

SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION - THIS NOVEL IS NARRATED BY DEATH

It's a small story, about: a girl, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter and quite a lot of thievery.

ANOTHER THING YOU SHOULD KNOW - DEATH WILL VISIT THE BOOK THIEF THREE TIMES

This book was bought ridiculously cheap from The Works but sat collecting dust for a really long time. It is not a small book (my copy is 553 pages) so I was hesitant to pick it up so early in the year. The movie is coming out in a month though so I felt the need to get it out of the way before I went to see it. Not to mention everyone has been all over this book recently and insisting that all human beings read it. This week I had mocks so I got the week of and thought I might as well read it whilst I have the time off before back to school next week. I am so glad I picked it up. 

The story is set in Germany just before and during the second world war as it follows Liesel Meminger, a girl abandoned by her mother to go live with a new family because she cannot take care of her. Liesel is only around 10 when she goes to the Hubermann family and is no stranger to heartache. The book follows her for the next 4 years as she lives with her new mother and father, makes friends and witnesses Hitler's regime as a part of it. 

The story is told from the narrative of Death, which was an interesting prospect. It is quite subtle most of the time but often it gives details about minor characters deaths and major characters deaths before they are anywhere near happening (they could be eighty years away). The narrative offers a simplistic view to what happens after someone dies and also makes the story that much more intriguing as you follow Death through a war that kills millions.

Liesel as a character was really tragic. She had a really sad back story and struggled with a lot of things but the character development meant you saw her grow into a strong, intelligent and interesting young woman. Each main character had their charm and worked well within the story to make you love them. What I really liked was that there was no overt 'bad guy' just a series of people who were in hard times and took it out on others, mostly the characters were just humans. 

Historically the book was also subtle. There were events in there that were so significant but had I not studied it last year I would not have understood its relevance, much like the characters in the book. The author has written so beautifully and not tried to shove the views on Nazis in your face but understands you will grow to despise the regime as the characters do.The story was mostly domestic and often I did not see what the point of the scene was but at the end each one just made it that much more emotional.

Most of all this book was heartbreaking. I will admit that it was not until about the last 50 or 60 pages that I truly became emotionally invested and began to blubber like a baby. I cannot wait to see the movie and am definitely taking some tissues with me.

Rating: 4.8/5

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