The Forgetful, Easily-Distracted Book Club: The Book Thief

April 16, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

booksThe Book Thief

I've always had a strange fascination with WWII and the Holocaust. It feels so foreign, so long ago and I have a difficult time comprehending the horrors filmed for those grainy, black and white documentaries I had to watch in college. When I saw the movie trailer for The Book Thief, I knew I wanted to read the book before watching it. I found the book on audible.com and instantly began listening to it.

I knew this was supposed to be an epic story so I was surprised at how easy-going the book was...until about the last quarter. I won't give anything away though, no spoilers here, but there are a few details I want to point out: 

~The narrator of the story is Death and he's actually quite amusing. Death's character offers a unique view of the main characters and the human species in general especially when it comes to war. However, this character also provides a great deal of foreshadowing. 

~It's worth listening to the book because you will know how to swear in German. 

~It will make you cry. If you don't cry then you are one tough cookie. 

Summary: Liesel Meminger is a young girl when her mother is forced to give her and her brother up for adoption. The Hubermanns take her in at the beginning of WWII and she develops a close relationship with her new Papa, Hans Hubermann. Her new Mama, Rosa Hubermann, is rough around the edges but proves to be an asset during a dark period for everyone. The story, guided by Death himself, takes the reader through Liesel's book stealing adventures in a small German town during a horrific war. It offers a unique perspective compared to other WWII stories as it follows normal German people instead of soldiers or victims of the Nazis. A Jewish man, Max Vandenburg, comes into their lives and the Hubermanns hide him in their basement so he will not face persecution. The tale presents a broad view of what an average German family during this time period had to endure if their opinions differed from their country's. 

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak 
Genre: Historical Fiction 
Year: 2006
Movie: 2013 (I haven't seen it so I can't recommend it). 
Rating: 4.25 out of 5
Similar Reads: The Little Princess, Girl With a Pearl Earring
Favorite quotes: 

“A small but noteworthy note. I've seen so many young men over the years who think they're running at other young men. They are not. They are running at me.” 

“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 its words and stories so damning and brilliant.” 

“Humans, if nothing else, have the good sense to die.” 

You can buy a copy of The Book Thief here.

book-thiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak


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