The Book Thief is a typical Holocaust themed book about a character who must overcome struggles put in place due to the historical setting of the book, in this case Nazi-Germany. What differentiates this book from other historical fiction books about the Holocaust I believe is the way this book is written. The interesting narration, the unique character development, and even the way the book is formatted, all make this book a must-read.
Nine year old Liesel Meminger has been abandoned by her mom and is now living with adoptive parents. Having lost her younger brother and mother on the same day Liesel finds herself a tough position adjusting to her new surroundings. Liesel’s mother, Rosa, a bitter hardheaded woman makes clear to her new daughter that she will accept any silly antics. Her new father, Hans, a gifted accordionist and painter, treats Liesel like his own daughter and helps Liesel to become no longer illiterate. As Liesel is subjected to the horrors of WW2 she finds solace through her new skill of reading books. Soon she finds herself stealing books from various places to fulfill her constant hunger to read. Liesel soon is asked to keep the most important secret of her life. Her family is harboring a Jew in their basement. As the months go on Liesel develops a friendship with Max, the Jew. Many nights are filled with sirens alerting the town of Molching that bombs are about to be dropped and to get to a shelter immediately. Every day in Liesel’s household is filled with anxiety and stress from house inspections by Nazi officers, and the fear of Max being discovered.
The most interesting factor in The Book Thief for me was Zusak’s choice of the narration. Liesel’s story is told through the eyes of Death himself. Not described as a human but more of a mystical force, Death tells the story of Liesel, the little book thief, and carries with him the many lost lives of WW2. Though the narrator being Death adds a dark, gloomy, and sometimes depressing element throughout the story, it was very refreshing to read a book written in that particular format.
The target audience for this book would definitely be young adults and up. Zusak sugarcoats nothing and tells every event, a lot of the time tragic, with complete honesty and with no filter. That being said, that’s why it might be slightly intense for younger children.
The Book Thief was an amazing book I definitely will find myself reading again in the future and absolutely earns 10/10 stars.