Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Publisher: Knopf Books
Publication Date: 2006
Summary: 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, Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich, 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.
Just to let y’all know, I was not a fan of The Book Thief. And due to the subject matter, I feel kind of bad for not liking the book. I really did want to like it because I’ve seen it around the blogosphere as being a fav, but it just didn’t do anything for me. If someone asked me what exactly I didn’t like about the book, I can honestly say that I couldn’t name anything specific that turned me off. It was mostly an overall feeling of the book trying to hard to be deep and meaningful, dragging on way too long, and nothing actually happening for long periods of time. All in all, I am usually way ahead of my reading schedule, and I finished The Book Thief within a few hours of my library loan expiring.
Death Beats a Dead Horse
“Is Death the narrator?” This was the second note I wrote while reading the book. After a while, I got the gist that yes, Death is the narrator. In the beginning it was an interesting concept. Who could be a better person to tell this story of a young girl living in Nazi Germany during World War II? Because death is everywhere…the camps, the streets, the attics, the battlefields. No matter the soul, Death is there to lift them up and carry them away. However, Death, the Storyteller, soon became annoying beyond words. The constant foreshadowing…OY WITH THE POODLES ALREADY!! Stop telling me that someone’s going to die and how they die 300 pages before it happens. Actually, stop telling me any future events before they happen. It takes away from my emotions when that impactful event finally occurs because I already know it’s going to happen. The first few times was unique storytelling. After the 4th or 5th time it becomes tired and lazy writing.
Miss Liesel’s Boys
Although I was not really feeling The Book Thief, I did enjoy the standout characters. You know, the men, both old and young, who heavily influenced the life and times of Liesel Meminger. Papa Hans has to win the award of best dad trying to be a stand up person in Hitler’s Germany. Max is the epitome of strength through adversity. I believe there are no words for that kind of fight to live through such overt bigotry when every day is a life and death situation. And last, but certainly never least, is the one and only Rudy, the boy with hair the color of lemons. Rudy teaches us all how to enjoy the things in life that bring us joy because we never know when Death will come to collect our souls. Plus, how could you not love a boy who looks like Hitler’s wettest dream but wants to be as good as one of Hitler’s worst nightmares, a black man.
Although there were parts of The Book Thief that captured my interest, I tired of the book quickly and finishing the book was a struggle. I am one of the few to non-existent readers who was not moved by this alleged masterpiece.
The Final Grade
Laborious Literature: Although there are parts of The Book Thief I enjoyed, I tired of it quickly, and I couldn’t wait for the story to be over.
So…are you one of the many people who enjoyed The Book Thief or are you in the hater dingy with me? Have you ever stolen a book? Who were the standout characters for you? Do you want to read more books narrated by Death? Let us know in the comments! |RL