Saturday, December 7, 2013

Book Review: The Book Thief

This weekend has gotten off to a great start.  Joe and I had dinner-and-a-movie date night last night, and I ran a 10K this morning.
I got 3rd in my age group!  More on that race later this week.  Today, I wanted to write a review of a book I finished up this week.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a young adult historical fiction novel that just recently became a movie.  I'd heard a lot of good things about the book and wanted to make sure I read it before I saw the movie.

The story, set in the late 1930's and early 1940's, focuses on Liesel Meminger as she arrives at her foster home with Hans and Rosa Hubermann in a small town near Munich, Germany.  Her story is narrated by Death, who meets Liesel after her brother dies on their way to their foster home.  After his burial, Liesel steals a book from the graveyard, despite the fact she can't read.

Liesel begins to bond with her foster father when he discovers that book and begins to read it to her.  She quickly becomes obsessed with learning to reading, so much so that she steals numerous books whenever she has the opportunity (even at a Nazi-led burning of anti-German materials).  While most of the book is a coming-of-age tale, it also addresses many of the struggles of living in Germany during World War II, especially when the Hubermanns begin hiding a Jewish man in their basement.  

One thing I really enjoyed about this story was the narration by Death.  You are never flat-out told that Death is the narrator, but it becomes pretty apparent early on.  The narration gives you a variety of perspectives at the same time, as well as little previews of the story to come.

I also enjoyed the historical aspect of this book.  I love history, especially the World War II ear, and I was fascinated by the perspective of German families on that time period.  Even though the novel is fiction, the author clearly researched the time period.  Many of the people, places, and things were historically accurate, which gave the story a lot of realism and authenticity.

While I loved the story, there were times that I wondered "Where is this going?"  After reading the entire book, everything makes sense and I see why certain details or vignettes were included throughout the story.  I don't want to give anything away, but I really do feel like the ending (as abrupt as I found it) wrapped everything up.  

I do recommend this book to everyone, especially those who enjoy the World War II era!  I look forward now to seeing the movie.  It'll be interesting to see how they fit everything from the 550+ page book into a two hour movie.

Next up on the reading list: Divergent by Veronica Roth.
I'm only 3 chapters in and already sucked in to the story.

Question for you: Have you read The Book Thief?  If so, what'd you think?  If not, what's a good book you've read lately?
I'm always looking for good reads to add to my list :)


  1. I just finished The Book Thief too for a book club I'm in, and I loved it too. Although I have to admit, I did find myself bawling through the last 20 pages or so. haha. And yes, you MUST read Divergent! It's SO GOOD! And the next one, Insurgent too. The 3rd one Allegient just came out, and while I wasn't as impressed with it as the first two, it definitely is worth reading the whole series!

    1. I read the end of The Book Thief right before bed and I was water works! Oh my goodness! I also had puffy eyes the next day to prove it.

      I'm halfway through Divergent now. SO GOOD OH MY GOSH! I can't put it down.