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The Book Theif by Marc Zusac

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Death, stealing of books, an accordion, a train, and a kiss. The Book Thief, by Mark Zusac, is one of the most amazing historical fiction books I have ever read. Published by Alfred A. Knopf (2005) comes a suspenseful and touching story about a young girl named Liesel, whose world is turned upside down when her mother gives her away to a foster family. With the help of her foster father, which she came to love, she learns how to read. Life was hard during the time of Nazi Germany. It was hard to get necessities, especially when you were poor. For some people, food would be the top necessity. For Liesel, books were. “The book thief struck for the first time – the beginning of an illustrious career.” This was how the Liesel, also known as the book thief, became a book thief.


The setting of the story is in a very interesting and scary time during history: Hitler’s Reign in Nazi Germany. “Heil Hitler” was the phrase you would hear chapter after chapter. It was a scary time because the whole world was at war. There are lots of books out there that take place during this time. Mark Zusac made sure that this book isn’t like any other World War 2 books out there. For me personally, I think he succeeded in doing this. This book is very different and unique. The point of view, the characters, and the foreshadowing is very sophisticated and it works really well with the story.

Mark Zusac wrote this book in a very interesting point of view. Death. He personified death and made it the speaker of this story. Death will make the readers think. What he says is always thought provoking. “I am haunted by humans.” He is not the usual death image we think of. We usually think of a dark and evil being. “You see? Even Death has a heart.” In this book, Death is compassionate and soft towards humans.

The foreshadowing was what mainly kept me diving into the book, not wanting to put the book down, and kept the pages flipping. Death tells us many cliffhangers, which makes us curious causing us to keep flipping the pages. Death’s foreshadowing is shown both direct and indirectly in this book. Sometimes, you wouldn’t realize death was actually foreshadowing something until you get to the event yourself. We later realize that death gives us foreshadowing about the character’s fate constantly throughout the book. Other times, however, he tells us that he is giving us a cliffhanger. “A small announcement about Rudy Steiner: He didn’t deserve to die the way he did." This quote was put way before we would learn more about this tragedy. The foreshadowing in the story will make the reader gasp in shock and anxiousness.

The characters in the book fascinate me and I think they would draw you in too. Liesel Meminger is a very brave girl who goes through a lot of tough times. She has lost many things, including the people she loved. Through all this pandemonium, she manages to not succumb to the situation. Later, she befriends a 22-year-old Jew named Max Vandenburg. Max plays a very important role in this story. Being a Jew hiding in the basement of a German family, life was definitely not easy. Hans Hubermann is a compassionate, good-hearted man who keeps his word. This good man's death would cause some to argue about whether he deserved to die the way he did, or if he deserved to die at all. On the other hand, there was Rosa Hubermann, his wife. Rosa Hubermann, the woman known to nag a lot, was very irritating at times calling her family names. However, Death tells us, “She was a good woman for crisis.” Even though when we first get to know her, this doesn’t seem to be true, later on, we see how she is a good and courageous woman. Mark Zusac will give you the opportunity to grow up with them, learn with them, and love them.

I would recommend this book to young adults and adults who enjoy a good, deep, and entertaining story. A story of a book-stealing girl can turn into a story of love, death, and friendship. I must warn you that the book is a little thick. However, reading it was very worth my time. The pages just flew by, and I think you should definitely take the time to look at the marvelous book that Mark Zusac has written.



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