The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Summary ~ The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a novel of cruelty, poverty, and hope. Liesel Meminger is a young girl who has been placed in foster care by her mother. Liesel’s brother dies en route to their new home and this leaves Liesel traumatized, causing her to have terrible nightmares in the middle of the night. Liesel’s foster father begins teaching her to read on these nights to distract her from her pain. Liesel learns to turn to books for comfort. When the war begins, comfort becomes a rare state of mind, so Liesel finds ways to seek it out. Liesel begins to steal books in her efforts to deal with the cruelty of the world around her. The Book Thief is a complicated story of survival that will encourage its readers to think and to be amazed at how resilient the human spirit really is.

Breathless.  That is how I felt when I finished Markus Zusak’s engrossing, sad, yet beautiful novel The Book Thief.  It was just last night that I clicked through the last page of this book on my Kindle.  The tears wouldn’t stop and I was blubbering and gasping for breath.  Hubby woke up concerned about what I was so upset about and he couldn’t believe it was the book I was reading.  I haven’t had such a strong, ugly cry reaction to a book since I read Marley & Me a few years ago. 

The Book Thief takes place in Molching, Germany and focuses on a little girl named Liesel Meminger.  She must leave the custody of her mother and go live with a new set of parents.  Foster parents who love her in their own unique ways.  One openly and one in sometimes hurtful and curious ways.  Zusak’s story takes care with his story telling and as the book progresses the reader really gets to know the characters, tone of the times, the town of Molching and Himmel Street, the world of The Book Thief. 

I love this book!  For some reason I am drawn to novels set in WWII.  I don’t know why since it’s such a horribly depressing and evil chapter in the world’s history but the stories of human triumph, tolerance, hatred, risk and strength really draws me in.  I was especially taken with The Book Thief because of the lovely twists that make this story stand out against the previous WWII historical fiction books I’ve read over the years.  Liesel’s birth parents were Communists.  I thought that was such a fresh idea!  Silly as it sounds I really loved the moment when I figured it out and even mentioned it to Hubby.  The life that she gains when she leaves the care of her mother and joins the Hubermann household is full of love, friendship, adventure, common thievery and the magic that occurs when one learns to read and can be removed from the present and taken into a world apart.

I have discovered that a film is being made of this book.  I beg you (yes BEG YOU!) to read the book first.  Let the words create the characters, their appearances and the world they live in first.  Your imagination will take care of the rest. 

I had this book on my Kindle for a while now and I would like to thank Beastmomma for choosing it for our book club’s selection this month.  I think I would have read it eventually but now that I have I can’t imagine that I didn’t read it as soon as I downloaded it!

{Rating ~ 5 (billion) out of 5}

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4 thoughts on “The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

  1. Pingback: Spotlight on the Wordpress.Com Book Bloggers! « Randomize ME

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