Liesel Meminger's life is turned upside down when her younger brother dies. Not only is her family torn apart forever but she also steals her first book. Set in Nazi Germany during World War II, Liesel's penchant for stealing books will affect her life and the lives of everyone she knows. Liesel's foster father teaches her to read, little by little each night. When the family hides a Jew in the basement, Liesel realizes that the world is not so black and white, and that words have power beyond anything she could have imagined.
Wow. That pretty much sums up how I feel about this book. It's a bit hard to get into at first, but it's impossible to put down once you get into it. After I finished the book, I asked myself why it was so hard to get into the story. I think that it is because the book is narrated by Death. Death gives us little snippets of things to come as the book progresses. Nothing is ever rushed and nothing is ever a complete surprise. Which makes sense because we all know that our lives will end with death. Death is the antithesis of suspense and Zusak does a good job of creating a story with that in mind. Despite the fact that you know how some characters' lives will end, the book is still a page turner because it doesn't completely reveal everything. Liesel's story is powerful. Not only does it portray average German citizens in a sympathetic light, but it touches on the power of words and books in our lives. I'm not doing the book justice in my description here, but, believe me, if you love books, and I'm sure you do if found your way to my blog, then this book will resonate with you. There are only a handful of books that have made me cry and I was practically sobbing during the last 50 pages of this one. Plus, Death is hands down the best narrator that I've ever read.
In Zusak's words,
"It's just a small story really, about, among other things:
*Some fanatical Germans
*A Jewish fist fighter
*And quite a lot of thievery" (p. 5)
In my words,
It's a must-read story about, and so much more than:
*A book lover
*Some small town Germans
*A boy with lemon colored hair
*Some words written in a basement
*A book burning
*And quite a lot of souls
My words about this book are horribly inadequate, so I'll leave you with this vlog from Beth Kephart about The Book Thief.