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Book Review of The Book Thief

The Book Thief
JenShaw avatar reviewed on + 12 more book reviews

Plot 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, 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.

Critical Analysis

Allan Corduner is the voice of Death, the narrator, of this World War II-era story. The richness and depth of his voice along with his european accent make him the perfect choice to bring this amazing story to life.

Death is very busy in Nazi Germany but he does have a little time to tell the story of Liesel Meminger, our book thief. The story line is realistic, the characters are complex, interesting and likable. Even Mama, who calls everyone a pig, grows on you throughout the book. Zusak doesnt shy away from telling the hard truth of what went on during WWII: discrimination and eventual extermination of the Jews, political propaganda, children being taken away from their parents and placed in foster families due to political beliefs, how boys are expected to join Hitlers army when they reach a certain age, starvation, thievery, suicide, standing up for what you believe is right, and the human belief in hope. All of these themes combine to create a wonderful, compelling story. I found myself cheering for Rudy, admiring Hans Hubermann, crying for everyone on Himmel street, and hoping for a better future for Max and Liesel. This was by far, the best book I have read all year. I highly recommend it.