The Book Thief: A Review of Sorts

“First the colors.  Then the humans.  That’s usually how I see things.  Or at least, how I try.

*Here is a small fact* 

You are going to die.”

I find it much harder to write about a book I liked than to write about a book I disliked or hated. With ‘bad’ books, there’s always a discussion about why the plot was awful, why the characters were terrible or how the book could have been improved. But with ‘good’ books, there’s really nothing left to say or do, except to praise its greatness.

This is truly the case with Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, which I finished reading a few days ago, but was unable to write a review about. What can I say about it except that it was a very good book?

It is, among other things, a story about young Liesel Meminger and her life with her foster family and friends on Himmel Street in Germany during World War II. At first glance, The Book Thief looks like just another story about a girl growing up during the holocaust, coming to grips with events around her and trying to survive hard times. Except that, unlike other books about growing up in Germany at the time of the Nazis, The Book Thief is told in a very unique and strange way, by an equally strange and unlikely narrator. It is, however, like many other books about the holocaust, filled with atrocities, tragedy and human suffering.

The events of the book are told in a disjointed, sometimes even poetic sort of way, and the story itself has no exact beginning, middle and end; and it is this unique style which makes this book one of a kind. The book is filled with a colourful cast of characters, some too good to be true, but that in itself is forgivable, because it only adds to the greatness of the novel.

Despite the great sadness which reading this novel can evoke, one can also find joy and hope beneath all the unhappiness and tragedy. One can feel hopeful that despite all the evil in the world, there are still people who are willing to risk their lives to do what’s right, and despite impoverished and difficult times, one can still find true happiness in the simple things in life.

Personal rating: 5/5

2 thoughts on “The Book Thief: A Review of Sorts

  1. It definitely sounds like my kind of book. Children’s adventure, WWII, strange poetic prose. You have piqued me interest and I will have to check it out when I make my Borders run today.

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