Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Published: Jan 2007
Publisher: Bodley Head
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
My Rating: 5/5
Told by Death, The Book Thief is the story of a young girl, Liesel, during the Second World War. Death first sees Liesel when her younger brother dies on the train to Germany. He follows her to her brother’s burial, where Liesel picks up a book – the first of what will become a collection of stolen words. This book ‘The Gravedigger’s Handbook’ inspires Liesel to read and understand the world around her, especially as it gets ever more dangerous when her foster family takes in, and hides, a Jew.
I’ll be honest, when I first picked up The Book Thief it was because of the writer’s name as I needed a ‘Z’ for my A-Z 2014 challenge. Unfortunately it took months to borrow it from the library so it was January before I got the chance to read it. Even though I no longer ‘needed’ to read it, I did, and I am so glad I did as this book is amazing.
Not only is it set during one of my favourite times in history, World War II (and by favourite, I mean, most interested in), but the book is about Liesel’s love affair with words. I, obviously, love words and reading, but sometimes it’s easy to forget how incredible the right book can be. For me, The Book Thief rekindled my love of reading, and desire to write about what I read.
I enjoyed every aspect of this book, from the unusual way sections are introduced (giving you a list of what is included), the way it is written from Death’s point of view, and that is shows a unique viewpoint of the start of the war, and how regular people in Germany were affected. While I’m not sure I would say I liked all the characters, they were well-written and they all played a vital role in Liesel’s life. They all had their own histories which made them who they were, just as everyone in the world has.
I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone and everyone, no matter their skill in reading. I think a book like this could make a huge difference in young people’s lives, both in understanding the Second World War, and in creating a love of words, learning, and thinking of all sides of the argument.