the book thief

title: The Book Thief

author: Markus Zusak

genre: Fiction, WWII, Germany, orphan

suggested by: Mom

dates read: December 7th – December 11th

review: 5 out of 5 stars

summary: Liesel Meminger’s brother passes away as her small family is on their way to Molching, to the family who will foster them, since their mother is unable to.  One of the gravediggers loses a book, which Liesel picks up and hides away at her foster family’s house.  Rosa and Hans Humbermann are not rich, but they have hearts full of love for Liesel.  Plagued by nightmares every night, Hans and Liesel start a tradition of staying up together in the wee hours of the morning.  Liesel can’t read and Hans left school in fourth grade, so together they use this scared time to learn or improve their reading.  This sparks a love of books for Liesel and begins her career as a book thief.

personal thoughts: I loved Zusak’s interesting use of pronouns.  Nothing happened in the normal way.  There was a beauty to his language that really engaged and moved me.  Of course, any story set in this time period is going to have its tragedies, but the narrator death, was a new twist.  I loved the feisty and innocent nature that Liesel still had, despite her life tragedies.  She and Rudy’s friendship was beautiful and I loved that pairing.  I had seen the movie with my parents and thought it a beautiful story; it did the book justice, I think.

favorite quotes:
“The day was gray, the color of Europe.” p. 27

“Papa’s bread and jam would be half eaten on his plate, curled into the shape of bite marks, and the music would look Liesel in the face.  I know it sounds strange, but that’s who it felt to her.” p. 38

“He was the crazy one who had painted himself black and defeated the world.
She was the book thief without the words.” p. 80

“is there cowardice in the acknowledgement of fear?  Is there cowardice in being glad you lived?” p. 107

“Rudy put on the extra coat, barely able to contain a grin.  It ran across his face like a skid.” p. 162

“Those who remained were firing into the blank pages in front of them.  Three languages interwove.  The Russian, the bullets, the German.” p. 469

“one thing I envy.  Humans, if nothing else, have the good sense to die.” p. 491