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Tuesday 1 October 2013

Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Author: Markus Zusak
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 552 pages, Hardback
Date Published: March 14th 2006
Find it on Goodreads: The Book Thief
Source: Purchased Second-hand

The extraordinary #1 New York Times  bestseller that will be in movie theaters on November 15, 2013, Markus Zusak's unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul.

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. 

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

If you have been with this blog for a while, you will know that it takes a lot for a book to make my eyes even remotely teary. I mean, sure I'll get a bit of moisture in my eyes if something happens in a book that makes me sad, but the only real time I truly remember shedding an actual, physical tear, is the final Harry Potter novel. And then I read The Book Thief

Sure, I had heard about how sad it was. That was even part of the reason I put off reading it... I was afraid it would make me so sad I couldn't handle it. Then I went on a road trip with my family to Oregon. I was in a bit of a reading slump, so I brought The Book Thief to try and start, hoping it would get me out of the slump. Ooops. As I sat in the back seat of my grandparents' pickup truck, squished in with my little brother, finishing the last chapters of this novel, I bawled my eyes out. The tears. Wouldn't. Stop. And for that, this book earns a perfect rating from me, regardless of the issues I had in the beginning. 

I won't lie, it took me a while to really get invested into this story. I adored the narration, but I had to push myself through the first 150 pages or so before I truly couldn't put the book down. Liesel's story had my heart aching and racing, her family had me smiling and frowning and the historical setting taught me a lot about a time period every human being on this planet should be informed about, even just a little. I was captivated by the relationship between Liesel and her Papa, the way he taught her to read and write in such a gentle manner. Papa was by far my favourite character, with his accordian and painting business. Zusak's talent is astounding. The personnification of death as the narrator had my mind racing and I absolutely loved it. The humour in The Book Thief was at times dark, but it also kept the book light and made me smile, though not the whole way through. Anyone can guess how a book set in WWII would end, but I could never have fathomed that I would react the way I did. Tears streamed down my face for a good fifteen minutes, my family asking me what was wrong and my brothers laughing at my supposed teenage female hormones. I couldn't explain how much this book affected my heart and my mind. Liesel's story is one that will stick with the reader for a time to come. The Book Thief is worth the hype, 104%.

Happy reading!


  1. Great review. It really is a special book bu a talented author- so glad to hear that you enjoyed it!

  2. I felt exactly the same way about the beginning of the book! So glad I kept going. I agree with your rating!

  3. Great review! I haven't read this one yet, but it's been on my list for a while. A coworker read it recently and told me to not put it off any longer. Guess I will have to move this one up the list. :)

    Lily @ : Bookluvrs Haven

  4. Kristy,
    I enjoy books made into movies. Thanks for reviewing this one.
    I'm going through a new medicine regiment for my cancer and so far it seems to be helping.
    Please send me a note on my blog, it's so nice to hear from old friends, I compare it to a great medicine.


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