The Book Thief Markus Zusak

October 2, 2009
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"Here is a small fact, you're going to die." -Death (pp. 3). If you decide to read this amazing journey of a little girl, an incomprehensibly powerful tyrant, and everything in between, you'll realize just how relevant this fact is to the entire story.
Zusak's tale is seen through the eyes of a surprisingly comical person in a very serious world at a very serious time, Death. Death introduces Liesel Meminger, a little girl who's mother sends her and her brother to foster parents only to have her brother die from a disastrous cough on the train to their destination Molching, Germany, where the girl's foster parents reside. It's during her brothers funeral that she steals her first book and starts down the intense and exciting path to becoming the book thief.
When she gets to Molching, she meets her new mother; an angry, often swearing woman who has a small but noticeable soft side, and her dad, a kind and caring man who sparks her love for books and is without a doubt the Liesel's closest companion. Soon after, she meets Rudy, her first ever best friend, a talented boy who despite his grades, seems undoubtedly stupid, and Ilsa Hermann, the mayors wife, who reveals to Liesel a whole other world, the likes of which she never thought possible in the backwards world that is Nazi Germany.
Though she makes many friends, as well as enemies, throughout the book, her biggest bond is with her foster dad, the foundation of that bond being an unconventional mix of nightmares, accordion jam sessions, and midnight reading lessons. Though there are countless people she befriends, you'll soon see that her papa's love is what gets her through the day.
Liesel, who harbors a love for books, is compelled to get books no matter what the cost, which takes her and her best friend, Rudy, on fun, exciting, and often illegal adventures that involve, above all things, stealing, books or not.
Despite her traumatic past, she enjoys her new and risky life that ceases the deliver excitement. She plays soccer with the neighborhood kids, delivers laundry with her mama, and steals, among other things, books, fruit, and cookies with Rudy. But then her papa gets an urgent message from the son of a very old friend who he owes his life to, asking to papa to; risk his life, save another man's life, and force him and his family to keep a dark secret from the world. Long story short, he agrees to help, and in doing so destroys Liesel's new life and taking her on an amazing journey that's impossible to forget.
Zusak does a wonderful job of coming up with twist after twist, forcing the reader to brace themselves because often if the book hasn't had a change in plot recently, you can bet it will soon. Not only does he create complex, almost real characters, but he does an even better job creating the relationships between those characters. But to me, the greatest accomplishment Zusak made was turning one of the bleakest moments in history into a funny and sometimes cheerful story through his new voice, Death, who can make you smile and even laugh a bit, and just as easily turn your giggles into an a serious yet all the same enthralled silence.
Often, whenever someone finds something fun, tasty, or lovable thing to do, eat, read, or play, they'll take their time, slowly indulging in the thing they are so fascinated with. The Book Thief will give you a very different effect, drawing you in and despite your wish to slowly take it all in, you'll soon find that to be impossible. If you do manage to put it down, not that you'd want to, I can assure you that you'll soon find your eyes glued to each and every page of this unnaturally grabbing book.
Most readers will look for their kind of book, yet whether it be happy, sad, romantic, or whatever you're into, you'll probably find an element or two of that in this book, which is why I recommend it to people of all ages, all interests. The Book Thief, is a book to remember.





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