Monday, December 5, 2016

Let's Bust a Recap : The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. What a cold, grey, hard book. Set during World War II. Narrated by Death. 

Yeah. What else can I even say? 

Because the narrator is Death himself, I was immediately intrigued. And you know what? Zusak's writing made me believe that Death was really telling the story. It was compelling, unconventional, and a bit disturbing. After the first few pages, I thought he surely wouldn't be able to keep up that unorthodox style of writing throughout the entirety of the novel, but he did. Markus Zusak definitely has a gift.

In The Book Thief, we learn that Liesel Meminger is a girl that Death has seen three times, and although Death, as he informs us, tries hard not to take notice of "the survivors", for some reason, Liesel Meminger grabs his attention, and after his third encounter with her, he takes her discarded journal and learns her story. In The Book Thief, he tells that story.

When we first meet Liesel, she is almost 10 years old. As Death concludes his account, she is 14 years old, half a woman. And then there is an epilogue allowing us to catch a brief glimpse of what the rest of her life was like. Between the prologue and epilogue, The Book Thief is divided into 10 parts, each made up of several chapters.

Obviously, this was a fictional account of a made-up person, but because it was set during the very real historical event of World War II, it was difficult to read, especially toward the end. There was nothing imaginary about the Führer, the fear, the helplessness, the absolute cruelty toward and extermination of the Jewish people. What a devastating time in our not-so-distant past.

I would highly recommend this book. While it does contain some difficult content and there is a bit of coarse language throughout (though I think even the language was appropriate to the story and not at all gratuitous), it was well-written and gripping. Definitely worth your time. When I posted my book list at the beginning of this year, I had a friend comment that The Book Thief is one of the best modern classics she has read in a while. And I absolutely agree.

Have you read The Book Thief? What is the best book you have read lately? 


  1. That sounds intense. Although I might read it just to see Death as the narrator, because that's very interesting.

    1. Christina, you NEED to read this one. His writing is so unconventional, and SO good.

  2. Replies
    1. Savannah! You commented!

      It's really good. I'll pass it on to you once Dad finishes with it. :)

  3. Many people have recommended me this book so I might give it a try! :)

  4. Excellent book. Great review.