Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 3899
Devestatingly Unforgettable
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Expertly written historical fiction. A gutting, wrenching, reverberating work of heart.

The subject matter made this reader hesitate initially to take it on, but enough endorsement finally pushed me over the edge. I’m glad it did. (And I owe thanks to everyone who warned me not to let the slowness of the beginning dissuade me.) Once the story finally does pick up, it sucks you in with dread hopefulness and rending empathy.

When a book is narrated by Death itself, one doesn’t proceed with the expectation of sunshine and happiness. This presentation choice could easily have gone the way of overdone trope, but instead it’s used in sparing measure—with a reverent balance of gallows humor and haunting profundity. The chapter names sometimes act as clever foreshadowing, and in some cases, a wry form of misleading. The result is certain unpredictability to an otherwise fixed historical timeline.

"It kills me sometimes how people die." --Death

This is not simply another book about the holocaust.

Yes, it inextricably involves the terrible imprint of Nazi Germany. But it presents the event from an original and altogether sympathetic angle—through the story of an orphaned German girl who’s foster parents make the decision to hide a Jew in their basement. This book is about loss and compassion, pain and pity, fear and courage. It’s a look at the gradual indoctrination and downfall of a country through its effect on some of its most innocent and entrapped citizens. It’s a story about the many horrors of war, and of the ways humans cope with seemingly insurmountable stresses.

Zusak’s style reminded me of Neil Gaiman on more than one occasion—and I mean that in the best way possible. He has a way with muddling through utter darkness and still illuminating whatever redemptive bits of beauty might be worth finding. His prose is at times both soul-warming and heart-splintering in its rawness of candor. It evokes cinematic detailing, as well as profound emotional resonance.

This reader personally sees tremendous value in this book—particularly to a Young Adult audience now so far removed from the shadowy blight of the holocaust. For some, this could potentially bring the events to life in a way few other works could manage. True, the language usage is sometimes coarse to the point of excessive. But in the context of the time, the culture, and the characters, it becomes a sort of droning background noise—easily ignored.

Favorite quote:

“I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn't already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.”
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
It is twenty years since the events of La Belle...
Heiress Apparently (Daughters of the Dynasty, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The first book in an epic and romantic YA series...
Winter Light
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
WINTER LIGHT is the story of 15-year-old Mary Donahue...
Talent
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sandee Mason is convinced her life will change if she...
WITHIN THE FOLDS OF A SWAN'S WINGS
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
What if the one element that has always defined you...
The Good Girls
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
One of Us Is Lying meets Sadie in this twisty,...
Frozen 2: Dangerous Secrets: The Story of Iduna and Agnarr
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Sixteen-year-old Iduna harbors a dark secret. On the surface, she...
All our Hidden Gifts
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Maeve’s strangely astute tarot readings make her the talk of...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Twelve-year-old Cassie needs a horse. She’s determined to move up...
A Higher Version of Me (The Destiny Clark Saga Book 9)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Just when everything seems to be perfect, it all falls...
A Happier Version of Me (The Destiny Clark Saga Book 8)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Two guys. One girl. A big confusing mess. ...
A Healthier Version of Me (The Destiny Clark Saga Book 7)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
She broke his heart. Will he ever forgive her? ...
A Steadier Version of Me (The Destiny Clark Saga Book 6)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
He wants her back, but she’s already taken. ...
A Stronger Version of Me (The Destiny Clark Saga Book 5)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Can new love heal old wounds? I want...
A Smarter Version of Me (The Destiny Clark Saga Book 4)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Can she keep him, or will his ex steal him...
A Bolder Version of Me (The Destiny Clark Saga Book 3)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
When the truth is uncovered, the bullies come out to...

Latest Member Reviews

Joy School (Katie Nash #2)
 
2.0
"Reader reviewed by Dede Joy School is about a 12 year old girl named Katie, and her new life in..."
Never Change
 
3.0
"Reader reviewed by Dede This story is about Myra, a spinster at 51, who is a visiting nurse.  The characters..."
Range of Motion
 
5.0
"Reader reviewed by Dede Range of motion is a breathtaking journey into how your world can turn upside down in..."