It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel 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 before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
Now this book was not what I expected. It was actually a quite pleasant surprise. After reading the overview, I was like “Okay this will be about a girl’s life during WWII.” Well, I don’t know if this will be a spoiler alert or not but the story is really told through Death’s point of view. About how he became intrigued with this little girl and her life at such a young age.
“Whatever the reason, her hunger to read that book was so intense as any ten-year-old could experience. pg.52”
She experiences death quite young, by the death of her brother, which is where Death meets her for the first time and it is in those moments that she steals her very first book.
It took me a while to get through this book. I’m not going to lie. Not because it is written badly, but because it really didn’t truly grab me until about half way through the book when Max, the Jewish fist fighter, seeks shelter at the Hubermann residence and the war starts to get closer to their front step.
“They say that war is death’s best friend, but I must offer you a different point of view on that one. To me, war is like the new boss who expects the impossible. He stands over your shoulder repeating one thing, incessantly: “Get it done, get it done.” So you work harder. You get the job done. The boss, however, does not thank you. He asks for more. pg.232″
It’s different. I haven’t really read a book that goes from first person to third person narrative as often as this book does. Again, it was a nice kind of different. Markus also does a great job with the descriptions in the book. It’s just the little things… I mean, that’s what books are about right? To make you see inside your head what’s happening.
“Many minutes dripped past. The book thief’s desire to hear a note was exhausting, and still, it would not come. The keys were not struck. The bellows didn’t breathe. There was only the moonlight, like a long strand of hair in the curtain, and there was Rosa. The accordion remained strapped to her chest. pg. 326”
I will tell you one thing… the last chapter was the one that made me choke up and cry. I was actually sitting in my car, because it was much warmer in my car with the heater than inside our store, while eating lunch. Decided it was time to finish up the book and got to the last part of the book nicely called The End of the World (Part II)… and let me tell you, it’s been a while since a book has tugged at my heart-strings. I held it in as much as I could but eventually I had tears running down my face. The worse part is that “Death” tells you what will happen in the end before you even get to that point. But what happens when you get there… will still leave you heartbroken for this little girl.
I would definitely recommend this book!! I probably would not have chosen this book if it weren’t for Diana and the Readers of the Lost Art facebook page!