The Story’s the Thing: The Book Thief

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I’m a huge dork in that I love books about books.  Maybe that makes me a double-bookworm.  So when I heard about The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, I had no choice but to pick it up.  And then I had no choice but to fall in love with the story.

Narrated by Death, the novel takes place in Nazi Germany and follows the life of a girl named Liesel.  After her brother dies as her mother takes them to a foster family, Liesel steals her first book, dropped in the snow by the gravedigger’s apprentice.  Her foster father teaches her to read eventually and books and stories become an important part of her life in a time when everything around her is in an uproar.

Throughout the story, as Liesel pretends to be a loyal Hitler Youth, she continues to steal books when she has the chance, and her foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement.  Some parts of her life are typical of any young girl–making friends, finding love, the pains of growing up.  Other parts are horrifying and disturbing, as only living in Nazi Germany could present.  But Death is fascinated by this girl who steals books and resists Hitler, so he follows her even though he is so busy at the time.

The Book Thief is an emotional read, but it’s also incredibly beautiful.  The first time I read it, I was sucked into the story immediately.  Death’s voice is engaging and his perspective is interesting.  Liesel is a fascinating character, one who I found myself relating to on so many levels, and I loved reading her story and seeing her react to those horrible things around her life.  It’s definitely a good book for anyone who loves books and stories as much as I do, or who like historical fictions.  One particular thing I enjoyed about the story was that from the very beginning, Death lets you know that some of the characters’ stories will not end happily, but you can never be sure when their story will come to an end.  So while you have a sense of what is coming, there is no way to know when it will end.

I truly love this book and there is no doubt in my mind that it is a story that will stick with me for a long time.

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