The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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Leisel Meminger was just a normal girl when her brother died. Death, the narrator, came to take her brother’s soul, and saw her sitting there over his body. At the graveyard he saw her, the book thief, steal her first book. It was called, The Gravedigger’s Handbook. It wasn’t much; it was just a symbol for her brother, and she didn’t know how to read anyway.

While her mother was upset about the death, she felt that it would be best for Leisel to be with a foster family in Germany. She was sent to live with Hans and Rosa Hubermann. She lived on a street filled with children. There was a wonderful boy named Rudy who knew from the start that they were going to be best friends.

All the people on Himmel Street were very nice, most of the time. Rosa truly loved Leisel, but she showed it by constantly screaming and swearing at Leisel. Hans had better ways of showing his love for Leisel. For example, when he found out that she had The Gravediggers Handbook and couldn’t read it, he decided to teach her. They practiced reading each night. Hans wasn’t a great reader himself, he fought in World War One instead of going to school.

Death then told the tragic story of Hans’ friends being killed out on the battlefield during the war. Hans was spared because he’d stayed behind. Later, he went to see his friend, Erik’s grieving wife and son. Hans felt sorry for them and promised them he would help in case they needed anything.

Many years later, a young Jew named Max contacted Hans and asked him for help. Because of the promise he had made to Max’s mother, Max quickly became part of Hans’ family. Leisel and Max’s friendship grew strong, but as the Second World War neared, the threat of having a Jew in their house was real. As a passing parade of Jews walked down Leisel’s street a starving Jew fell and Hans gave him some bread because he felt sorry for him. Everyone watched. The thought of Max in the basement came to Hans’ attention and he suddenly regretted it. The family had to decide between what was safe and what was right.

I personally loved this book. It was full of interesting plot twists and many flashbacks and side notes from Death throughout. I read the book quickly and couldn’t put it down. It was enjoyable and I felt as though I was there in the story sitting next to death as he told me this amazing story because he wrote to you and me.

Zusak is a great author; he always had a way of drawing me in. His book never had a single boring part. It deserves to be read forever. And it could and should be read by anyone and everyone.





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