The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
Genre: YA | Historical Fiction | WWII fiction
Pages: 418 (iPad Bluefire Reader)
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.
For this one I feel I must start from the beginning. I purchased this book a while ago when I found it on a list of WWII fiction. Time and time I tried to start it but I couldn't get going. I couldn't figure out what was going on and soon abandoned it. I never thought it was a bad book or anything, I just wasn't sure if I'd like the style and wasn't convinced I could handle it for the entirety of the book. Then I started book blogging and saw positive review after positive review.
Then came the Holidays and a well-deserved break. I decided that this was the time for The Book Thief and it was just so fitting. Though the book starts off a little off-kilter, it quickly settles down and I settled in for a wonderful read. This is a story of many stories centered around Liesel, her best friend Rudy, and her foster family. We see them get into and escape scrapes. They also have to face the reality of war.
Give it a few pages before giving up on it. This is not the type of book where you turn page after page in anticipation. This story and the wonderful writing is something you savor. I often found myself pausing and rereading. There is just so much impact. It will make you laugh out loud, it might make you cry, but it will certainly make you think (but not too much). I loved the characters but I loved hearing the story told Death most of all. Having the story told from his point of view is pure genius. His observations during a great war cannot be matched. Liesel is so spunky and Rudy touched my heart. Everything is just so creative.
At the end I felt like this was a story unlike any other. I couldn't help but be impressed by Mr. Zusak's imagination. It can be an emotional read. It isn't too serious for the most part but it can be sad. I felt like I knew Liesel at the end of the story. I felt like I understood her. When I close this book, I felt like I had lost a friend or two. I as just that connected to the story and the characters. It is simply wonderful.
Some people don't read WWII fiction because they feel that it is too depressing or sad? Most of them aren't. What are your thoughts on fiction with a war time period?