The Book Thief by Markus Zusak was one of the best books I’ve read this year! I picked it up on a whim, based solely on the title being blown to me across the wind. Nah, not really… I just heard through the grapevine that this novel was ‘good’. That’s all I’d heard… it was ‘good’; good doesn’t even begin to graze what this novel entails. It’s written so perfectly and the characters are endearing, but real.
The story follows Liesel Meminger, a ten year old German girl who is given up for adoption to the Hubermann’s of Himmel Drive, affectionately known as Mama & Papa. She carries few personal belongings, including The Gravedigger’s Handbook, a book she stole from a gravedigger at her little brother’s untimely funeral.
Papa teaches Liesel to read, one word at a time, every night she has trouble sleeping. Liesel becomes incredibly close with her foster father and the next door neighbor, a little boy named Rudy Steiner. Liesel and Rudy play in the streets together, rough-housing and attending the Hitler Youth Army meetings. At a book burning hosted by the Nazi’s, Liesel bravely grabs a book from the pile. The Book Thief is in full swing!
The Hubermann’s take in a Jewish boxer, whom they allow to live in the basement illegally. It’s a huge risk for the family and Liesel must promise to keep Max Vandenburg’s presence a secret. Max and Liesel become close due to their shared love of the written word.
The novel is written from the viewpoint of Death. Death has become infatuated with this little girl… this survivor. Liesel Meminger is surrounded by death and destruction and still dares to read and write, to create. This novel is unlike other Nazi fiction I’ve read… it’s drew me in entirely! GREAT, GREAT NOVEL!!
If you haven’t read it yet, I implore you to pick it up from your local library. You will not regret it!