The Book Thief

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4.8 (3)
 
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32 reviews
 
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9%
 
9%
2 stars
 
0%
 
3%
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
4.6(32)
Characters
 
4.8(16)
Writing Style
 
4.7(16)
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Possibly my favorite book ever?
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
I don’t even know where to begin. This book is a cross of everything I look for in a book: beautifully written, characters that are so easy to care about, messages and themes that melted my heart, a plot with hope intertwined in desolation. It was all just so gorgeous. I promise you, you will not see me give five stars to plot, characters, AND writing for most books.

That said, this book is a little bit hard to get in to. It’s narrated from the perspective of Death, who is more sympathetic and compassionate than you might imagine – maybe even more so than humans. The above little paragraph I wrote is how I felt upon the second time I read the book, whereas the first time, I thought it was simply an average book and only revisited it about a year later. It’s a bit confusing at the start of the book, which is why I felt I was more able to appreciate the book a second time through.

Zusak’s use of Death as narrator is actually pretty brilliant. He’s got an excellent last sentence that is rather ironic, but portrays a very striking message. It’s so easy to love all the characters, no matter who they are. And I want to just say: the writing. The writing. THE WRITING. Wow. I have never read a book that compared to this level of writing because Zusak’s style is so unique and beautiful and heartbreaking and able to convey the most complex ideas through the most simple sentences. There’s a chapter near the end of the book that takes up less than a page – I had already been crying for quite a bit, but those few sentences completely threw me over the edge.

Which reminds me: this is a sad book. Lots of hope in it too, but it’s really just so tragic to read sometimes. I mean, come on, a book taking place in Nazi Germany and looking at the lives of a family who is very much accepting of Jews. I felt like I was constantly crying in the last fifty pages or so (probably less), but every time I thought I was going to stop, I’d read something else that’d make me feel so awfully sad again.

Recommended for: those with an appreciation for beautiful writing style, anyone who wants a unique viewpoint of World War II, people who want to learn a few German curse words, and everyone else, too.
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Subversive Offering On Human Tragedy To Provide Wonderful Perspective
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
The human race has proven to be, all at once, terribly atrocious and profoundly lovely. Unfortunately for Death (the narrator of this story), as one of the major distresses of the job, he is inevitably present for all of the former and VERY little of the latter. Particularly, in Nazi Germany, Death is an extremely busy witness to fear, anger, despair, genocide and, as a result, is terrified of humans.

However, in this setting of consternation and darkness, Mr. Zusak centers the story of The Book Thief around a tale of kindness, enduring love, personal and familial strength as well as a blinding glimpse of the unspeakable ability of the human spirit to persevere. As one reads this richly ambitious novel, there will be moments within the emotional experience of the reader destined to enlighten, sadden, encourage and devastate. Those who finish The Book Thief, will surely understand (and be thankful) why Death embraced Leisel Meminger's story as an act of hope and empathy to share with all of us; just as Leisel would do.
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Best Book I Have EVER Read.
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
If I could read this book over and over again, I would never put it down. It sounds corny, but this book actually changed how I read books. My 8th grade English teacher gave it to me, thinking I would enjoy it; oh boy was he right! I ended up falling madly in love with Liesel and her crazy friend Rudy, her papa who worked his way into my heart by so tenderly teaching his little foster daughter to read, and surprisingly, Death, who was the curious narrator. This little girl who stole books, who grew to love her dear papa, who's best friend wanted nothing more than a kiss, and who's kindness and friendship saved the life of a Jew, caught the interest of Death, and stole my heart as well. I won't give much away, but all I can say is a little street named Heaven was the home of an amazing little girl who captivated death, and all who knew her. And Heaven met Hell one day in Nazi Germany, with Liesel and Death at the center.
Good Points
Life changing
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Death is Beautiful
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
This book had me at the first word. It's moving and the fact that it is narrated by Death just makes it that more gripping. It goes down as one of the best book's I have read. The characters felt so authentic. They jumped off the pages. The ending was so heart-breaking but beautifully written. I could read it over and over again.
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Read This.
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
THE BOOK THIEF is hauntingly sad, yet told (by Death himself!) with a warmth that still enables a reader to hope--even in the most barren of times.

I finally picked this book up because so many people raved about the beautiful prose, something I'm a total sucker for. But what I got was so much more. Yes, the prose is gorgeous, there's no denying it, but while enjoying the words, I accidentally fell in love with the characters. Though their stories ended with the book, I think they'll stay alive for me for a long, long time.
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Absolutely Must Read. End of story.
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
As I was reading this book, I realized that it would probably be the best book I would ever read. Marcus Zusak writes so beautifully, weaving together this sad story in such a way that you become so attached to the characters that it is impossible to put down. It has the perfect balance of heartfelt moments and tearjerkers. From death's point of view is the blatant reality of it all mixed with amazing realizations, but he still preserves the innocence of the story because he follows the life of a small girl in Nazi Germany and her views to the whole ordeal. It is truly a beautifully written and amazing story. You would have to be insane not to read this book.
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Award-winning and deservedly so
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

Not-So-Bebe-Girl Autumn read this one first.  Within the first few
pages, she was inspired to write a poem.  If you'd like, you can read it here.



I've seen a lot of comments on my posts while I was in the process of
reading this that say, "I've had this on my shelves; I'm just not sure
about reading it ... look at the subject matter."



I say, "Read it; you won't regret it."  If you look at all of those awards it's won, you'd be astounded.?  There's a really good reason for them; this book is fantastic.



My problem comes when I think, "How do I review a book that has been reviewed in so many ways by so many different people?"



We have a bittersweet story about a German girl named Liesel.  The story
is narrated by Death, which seems macabre, but isn't.  Actually, I felt
a kind of sympathy for him; he's just doing his job (after all, who
else is going to do it?), and he takes special care with young ones and
ones that he feels shouldn't be on their way with him.



Death tells Liesel's story .. of being put in the care of foster parents
by her sad and tired mother ... of the death of Liesel's little brother
on the way (this is not a spoiler, as this is how the book starts, and
the first time Death meets Liesel, who, for some reason, piques his
curiosity-we see how he keeps tabs on her throughout the years).  Her
first theft of a book is at her brother's graveside.



We have a girl who didn't know how to read being taught by her kind,
accordion-playing foster father Hans.  Her foster mother Rosa is gruff
and calls both Liesel and her husband names, but that is her way of
loving them.  There is the next-door neighbor, Frau Holtzapfel, who
shows her disdain for Rosa by spitting on her door every time she
passes.  And Rudy Steiner, obsessed with Jesse Owens, who becomes
Liesel's best friend.  We meet Hans, Jr., full-fledged Nazi, whose party
loyalty causes a split with his father, who lost work because he didn't
join the Nazi party.  We see that even Death was moved by the slaughter
of the Jews in Nazi Germany, and we see Liesel passing the time in the
bomb shelters reading to her neighbors.



Artfully written, with sidenotes by Death like this:



* * * THE CONTRADICTORY POLITICS * * *
OF ALEX STEINER
Point One:  He was a member of the Nazi Party, but he did not
hate the Jews, or anyone else for that matter.
Point Two:  Secretly, though, he couldn't help feeling a 
percentage of relief (or worse-gladness!) when
Jewish shop owners were put out of business - 
propaganda informed him that it was only a matter of
time before a plague of Jewish tailors showed up 
and stole his customers.
Point Three:  But did that mean they should be driven
out completely?
Point Four:  His family.  Surely, he had to do whatever he 
could to support them.  If that meant being in the party,
it meant being in the party.
Point Five:  Somewhere, far down, there was an itch in his
heart, but he made it a point not to scratch it.  He was afraid of
what might come leaking out.


this is the story of a little girl, her family, and her friends, trying
to make it through the reign of Hitler with the least damage possible. 
Hiding the son of the man who saved Hans' life in the Great War in their
basement.  Seeing Jews marched through their streets and not being able
to do anything to help them.  Being punished with whippings by soldiers
when they even tossed a crust of bread to the hungry Jews.  Living on
rations and loss, and trying to keep a positive head when things around
them are no longer making sense.  Losing a father to the war when they
are unwilling to give a son to the Party.  It is both sad and
enlightening; happy and heartbreaking; illustrating triumph over the
worst adversity.  It's a book that will stay with you.  If you have it
on your shelves, read it.  If you don't, you need to buy, beg or borrow
it.



QUOTES


You could argue that Liesel Meminger had it easy.  She did have it easy compared to Max Vandenburg.  Certainly, her brother practically died in her arms.  Her mother abandoned her.

But anything was better than being a Jew.



He'd have cried and turned and smiled if only he could have seen the
book thief on her hands and knees, next to his decimated body.  He'd
have been glad to witness her kissing his dusty, bomb-hit lips.




Her wrinkles were like slander.  Her voice was akin to a beating with a stick.
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Tugged at my heart
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Dede

This book is told in a bit of a different way.  Death talks to us about his life a little, about picking up and caring for the souls of the dead, how he looks at the sky to fend off depression, how he wishes humans at times would just stop all the craziness that causes so much death. The backdrop of this book is Hitler and his war against Jews. But the majority of the book is Death telling us about Liesel.  Liesel's mother is poor and her and her brother are being taken to a foster family when Death first sees and notices Liesel.  Liesel's younger brother dies on the train ride and Death is there to take his soul.  He is drawn to Liesel and continues telling her story (and the story of those around her) for the rest of the book.  Liesel is a typical child with a wonderful gift with words.  At her brother's funeral, she picks up/steals a book about gravedigging that a new gravedigger accidentally dropped.  Every book Liesel steals is not really an act of crime, but more an act of chance.  Through Liesel we meet her foster family -Hans or  Papa, who is Liesel's saving grace in gentle ways and Rosa, who shows her love with a more tough love approach.  Liesel meets Rudy, a very charming young man with a strong sense of self.  They are both poor and start stealing food together and become, well best friends isn't strong enough to describe their bond.  We also meet Max, an escaped Jew, who has a surprising yet thin link to Papa.  When they take Max in and hide him, Liesel becomes a close friend to him and this sets off a chain of events that changes her life.  This book is utterly heartbreaking in many ways, but in a realistic approach to the subjects of love, fairness, war and the bonds people make with eachother.  This book absolutely sucked me in and is a book I will add to my shelf.  There were so many memorable little stories within the story in this book and so many highlights of the bonds Liesel shared with everyone.  Marcus Zusak really made the words in this book flow so beautifully, I will be reading more of his books, but The Book Thief was a perfect book to start with. 
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The Book Thief
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Kristen

I'll admit, I kept on putting off this review for one main reason. It's
a reread for me. I know, everyone gasp - to reread a book these days
with so many more coming out.. very unheard of.

So I'm going to keep this simple in review, so simple that I will use bullet points:
  • This book is amazing!
  • I love the unique narrator - Death
  • Plot:
    takes place in WWII, young girl named Liesel who obsesses over stealing
    books and her adventures in Nazi Germany is our main focus.
  • The character Max really kept you going in this book - a Jew who stayed in the basement of Liesel's house.
  • The pages of artwork/handmade story in the book were great.
  • In all the wrong going on, things seem somewhat right...
  • Great chapter titles/outline of things to come.
I
really suggest reading this. For a regular synopsis, click the book
picture and/or title. This book is so amazing, I can't write a normal
review.

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A Different Type of Book
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by OY

I thought The Book Thief was going to be just another book.  It turned out to be nothing like expected.
    A girl growing up in Nazi Germany with her foster family develops an obsession with stealing things. Her family and friends are facing the effects of the government and the war.
 The weirdest part about this book was the narrator.
 Rudy brought humor and feeling to the book.
    The best part was the white-out pages of Hitler's Life Story that Max wrote on to make a new version and then Leseil's story.
    When I finished this book I wasn't sure if it was supposed to just be a story or perhaps it was meant to be a huge metaphor.
    But the ending made me teary and it really opened my eyes to the life of  the everyday people living in Germany during the second world war.
I going to remember this book for a long time.


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