“I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race – that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and it’s words and stories so damning and brilliant.”
I picked up this book a few years ago but I had put off reading it for a long time. I didn’t do that because the book was about the holocaust or that I thought the book was going to be rubbish – I actually didn’t read it for the opposite reason. There is a lot of hype that surrounds this book and that put me off. So many people told me if I ever picked a book to read it should be this and so many people praised the book. That’s a lot of pressure to put on one book and I was worried that the hype wouldn’t live up to the expectations I had. I have never been happier to be proven wrong.
The Book Theif is set during the middle of World War 2 and follows Liesel as she arrives at the home of her new foster parents. At such a young age Liesel has already seen so much heartace from the death for her younger brother and having to say goodbye to her mum. Moving into a strangers house with people you’ve never met before is obviously daunting for anyone but Hans and Rosa make everything as welcoming as they can. One night Hans discovers a book in Liesel’s possesion and he soon discovers that Liesel cannot read. As Hans begins teaching Liesel to read their bond becomes stronger. Liesel grows to develop a love for books even stealing them from Nazi Bonfires and sneaking off to the mayor’s house to read them with his wife. Hans is a good man so when a jewish boy stumbles upon their doorstep, the son of the man who saved Hans’ life, he does the only thing he knows is right. This brings a lot of danger to their front but also memories that last a lifetime.
I don’t know where to begin in reviewing this book. Firstly I have to say how much I loved it – like really loved. The kind of love that keeps you awake at 2 in the morning just to see what happens with the characters. Markus Zusak wrote a book filled with every emotion possible and one that certainly tugs at those heart strings.
One of my favourite things about this book was that it was narrated by death. It was a really clever way to tell a story especially at a time in history where death was more alive than anything else. What I really liked about the narration though was seeing how death was trying to distract himself from his work. Death became distracted in humanity and got lost in the world and Liesel.
In my opinion the world has never been a perfect place and that’s scary. The world is filled with darkness, selfishness, reckless behaviour and humanity seems to be tearing each other, and everything else, apart. That’s something that’s not really changed throughout the years but what’s important to remember is that there is goodness is times of darkness. I loved the way Markus portrayed this. Yes the war was happening and yes the Hubbermans could be killed for hiding a Jewish man but amongst that fear were sweet happy family moments. Moments that made you remember that the good still existed.
If a book rips my heart out then I have to recommend it because to not would be wrong. If you have a list of books you have to read in your lifetime and The Book Thief isn’t on that list please add it. I cannot express enough just how much I loved this book or how important it is. If I could wipe my memory and re-read this fresh again right now I would. There aren’t a lot of books in the world that create that kind of reaction and when they do you know you’ve stumbled across something special.