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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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World War Two is one of the darkest times in human history. With World War One ending in 1918 the motto was “Never Again” as people recovered from the tragedies they just witness. Moving on with the great depression happening in America, other countries suffered as well. Maybe that is how Hitler rose to power, with his words, promising greatness to the people who had suffered so much. A citizen who pointed a finger at those who have wronged Germany, a person that others can blame all their problems on, someone to hate. But this story is not about Hitler, but a girl, a family, a book, told to us by death himself.

The story starts off on January 1939, with our girl, Liesel Meminger, who just turned ten years old. She and her brother were on a train to visit their foster family, The Hubermann, who live at 33 Himmel Street, Germany. Where expecting to find a girl and her brother, they found just Liesel. On the train her brother died, so she had to bury him on the side of the tracks during a pit stop. That is when she found her first book: The Grave Digger Handbook. That is when her thievery started. With the start of World War Two, the rise of Hitler, Liesel spent her days playing street ball with the boys, and yelling at best friend Rudy when he ask for a kiss (which is quite often). From school fights, yelling from Mama (Rosa Hubermann demanded Liesel call her and her husband, Mama and Papa), Liesel longed for the nights where Papa would come in to comfort her from her nightmares and teaching her to read. When of age, Liesel joined the Hitler Youth Division, a mandatory group of child both male and female had to join. But did she believe what the Fuhrer (Hitler) believed? Being forced away from her mother, into a train that killed her brother, having males she loved drafted into the army, her best friend Max hidden in their basement because he was a Jew? No, Liesel Meminger did not love the Fuhrer, but hated him, hated him for what has happened to her family, a hatred shared by many in Germany at the time, but could not be shared openly. This (what seemed fictional, but could be true) gives you another point of view of Nazi Germany , a point of view that is not shared often, but an important view in many critical ways.

Markus Zusak wrote the story from the time frame of Nazi Germany, about a girl who was against Hitler and what he stood for, but did nothing to stop it. Like most citizens there was no way Liesel could stand up to Hitler, without being killed herself, it was simply the way things were. This story told by Liesel, a child you could not feel sorry for until the very end, and the struggles of growing up in a country that is taking on the world. With this book being incredibly long it was boring, and at times a struggle to get through. Nothing happens in a majority part of the story, as Liesel goes day by day with nothing exciting happen to grab your attention. The only interesting part of this story was the point of view was not by Liesel (even though she was the main character) but by death who followed Liesel around, telling us her tale. Sometimes Death would go off and rant about something related to him, carrying souls, arguing with God, but other than that he kept quiet and let Liesel tell us about her boring life. Even for a book thief (thus the title of the story) she did not steal that many books only five of the nine books she own did she technically ‘steal’ and from those five only three were truly stolen from someone else. For content wise, this book is perfect, if anyone other than Zusak wrote it, this book would be one of my top. Sadly though Zusak made it so long and drawn out that I do not believe I could ever read it again. The ending was good though, unexpected, but made me more mad than sad and honestly that is the best way you could think to end it? Call it genius that it has made since, but also lazy writing on Zusak part. Although it is one, I highly doubt I would read it again, still I believe everyone should give it a try as the perspective of Germany opens your eyes to what was really going on during world war two from the description of a little girl with Death hovering by.






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