Guys, so I discovered this book via the movie several years ago and loved it!! The movie moved me. Shortly after, I read the book. I remember liking it, but preferring the movie. It’s been several years, leading to the book version fading from my mind. I’ve been wanting to reread it for about a year now. Finally, had a break in my other books and went for it. Gosh, it was so good! Better then I had remembered.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Genre – Historical fiction, WW2
Series – No
Rating – PG-13 for death and language
Death begins by explaining that he’s been drawn to certain humans. Their lives intrigue him. He begins the book with the ending with Liesel Meminger buried beneath rubble. Liesel is a young nine year old girl whose mother put her in the care of the foster family during World War II. After seeing her brother die, she faces nightmares. Her foster family consists of Hans & Rosa Hubermann, who couldn’t be more different.
First off, I liked the book way more this second time around! I think my problem before was that I compared it so much to the movie that I didn’t fully appreciate the book’s uniqueness. The Book Thief holds some deep themes like forgiveness, loss, death, and the power of words. I was struck by the colors used throughout the book. Both death and Liesel are attracted to color and the author brings it out beautifully.
If I’m honest, the character that stole my heart yet again, was Rudy! What a friend, he always went the extra mile where Liesel was concerned.
Although Hans Hubermann comes in a close second. What a great Father he is; he is a quiet and kind. The one who will sit by your side after waking from a nightmare and read with you til three in the morning. Despite the hardship and constant fear, he hides a Jewish man in his basement. Geoffrey Rush encompasses this character so well!
Also, Rosa is force to be reckoned with despite her animosity and swearing, there is heart underneath all that gruffness. I had completely forgotten the scene where she holds the accordion in her arms and prays for Hans’ safety. It showcases how we humans can be complicated, not all actions are black and white, sometimes they fall in the grey area.
The whole book focuses and brings out the emotions of this family which I love. We see the good, bad, and the ugly. Sometimes even the simplest thing like a cloud can bring a smile. 😉
Throughout the book, we get inserts from Death and his perspective on certain people or actions. So, sometimes, the plot slows down a bit. For sure this is a character driven novel, action falls secondary. If you have a problem with knowing how the end comes out at the beginning, you might want to steer clear. We are told multiple times how the ending plays out. Normally I hate skipping to the end, to me that just spoils the surprise, but this time it didn’t bother me. The ending is also a kicker!! So sad! I so wish Rudy had gotten his kiss.
“It felt as though the whole world was dressed in snow. Like it had pulled it one, the way you pull on a sweater.” (p. 6).
“The Book Thief had struck for the first time – the beginning of an illustrious career” (p.29).
“Insane or not Rudy was always destined to be Liesel’s best friend. A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship” (p.48).
“Imagine smiling after a slap in the face. Then think of doing it twenty-four hours a day. That was the business of hiding a jew” (p. 211).
“Why did I have to build that snowman?” Papa to his credit was adamant. “Liesel,” he said, “You had to.” (p. 316).
Content – There is a smattering of language throughout although 70% is done in German. There is death and sickness; we see villages bombed and several main characters are killed. During Rudy’s medical examination for the Nazis, he is forced to strip. This has quite an effect on him. He later tells Liesel and she ends up picturing the event.
The Book Thief can be a sucker punch to the ribs at times. Yet, it is deep and beautiful too. It is definitely worth a read and will leave an impact on you. I also highly recommend the movie too! Very well done!
Up Next – Working on Women who Risk for book club.
Over to you all! How’s your fall going? Have you read The Book Thief? What are your thoughts?
~ Anna ~