The Book Thief

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32 reviews
 
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9%
 
9%
2 stars
 
0%
 
3%
Overall rating
 
4.7
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4.6(32)
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4.8(16)
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It Could Have Been Better . . .
Overall rating
 
3.0
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Iryna

Its 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 Zusaks 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 cant resistbooks. 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.


I
picked up this book because 1) it won, like, a million awards so I
thought it must be good and 2) this was the next book in the book club
I take part in. I'm going to be honest with you: I don't like
historical fiction. Atleast, not most historical fiction novels but I thought that this book would be the exception to my rule. I was wrong.

Personally,
at first I hated this book. Sure the narrator (Death) was really cool
but that was the only thing I really enjoyed about this book. Markus
Zusak stuffed a lot of pointless information into this novel. Okay, I
have to give the author some credit -- it was well written pointless information. I'm pretty sure it was to build character development but I just kind of found it boring.

So, if I disliked this book so much why didn't I just stop reading it?

Well,
as I mentioned before, this was for a book club so I was set on
finishing it. And you know what? I'm glad I did. 150 pages before the
end it started getting interesting. I'm not going to give anything away
because you don't want the book spoiled.

So as a summary, the beginning was blah but the ending was good. I would give this book a B -.


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Be prepared to cry...
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by bookworm9

I can't/ won't begin to explain the (loose) plot of this book, except to say it follows a German girl named Liesl during WWII. Beyond that, you have to read it. It is a wonderful book, and despite the depressing setting/ events, it will still make you laugh multiple times. (But be prepared-- the ending will make you cry-- and I am not one who usually cries over books.) This is really a must-read. I am very fond of Zusak's I Am the Messenger, but this was a hundred times better-- a real gem. Go read it.
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"It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still."
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Kayla (Midnight Twilight)

Liesel Meminger is growing up in Nazi Germany. Although she is not a Jew, it's still a very hard time for all of Germany. There are bombs and food shortages and all the Jews are disappearing. Liesel's book stealing begins after her brother dies on a train bringing them to their foster parents house. Her and her mother get off the train at an unnamed town to bury her brother. At the graveyard Liesel finds a book in the snow The Grave Digger's Handbook. This spurs Liesel's love of books and words. The only problem, she never learned how to read. With the help of her foster father (Papa) she learns how to read and write. Her Papa is a painter, an accordionist, and a man of his word. So when he makes a promise to his fallen friend's wife that if she ever needs any help he's there. When her son Max, a Jew, needs to hide from the Nazis Hans (Papa) needs to make good on his promise. Now that their hiding a Jew in their basement life is harder than ever, and then the bombs come. The Book Thief is an amazing modern look into the life of Nazi Germany during the holocaust.


I don't think i've ever had more to say about a book before. I was pulled into this book very quickly, i fell in love with it.
I've never seen a book written like this, for many different reasons. I love how the narrator is a character in the story; the narrator is also death. He takes people's souls as they are dieing. I also like the way it was written--with little side notes thrown into the story.
I thought the first few chapters were cool, how the narrator was explaining his background and how this story came to be (how he met the book thief.)
This book has the story of a classic, but the feel of a modern book. All book lovers will be pulled in.
What i didn't like was all the death, i mean, in this story and setting it was inevitable, but it was still very sad. If you want a nice light summer read don't pick up this book. If you want a story that will get under your skin and truly move you, this is the book to read.
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A must read
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Lenore

The Book Thief by Australian author Marcus Zusak is a great book with a cool concept that is well executed. When I first heard about it, I thought I wouldnt like to read another book about wartime Germany, but this one is different in that it is about the suffering of ordinary Germans during WWII. It is narrated by death who talks about his numerous meeting with the titular character Liesel. He first meets Liesel when her brother dies and this is also when she steals her first book. The story continues in this way death meeting Liesel when he comes to pick up various people that die around her (it is wartime after all) and Liesel stealing books, learning to read and starting to understand the power of words.

There is one Jewish character who is an old friend of Liesls foster father who the family takes in and hides in their basement. He also schools Liesel in the power of words, stealing Hilters book by painting over those evil words and creating his own story as a gift to Liesel.

Other important characters are Liesels foster parents Hans and Rosa Hubermann who speak somewhat roughly but are quite endearing. Liesel also has a romance of sorts with Rudy, a local boy.

A very touching and rewarding story that definitely makes the tears flow!

Reprinted here with author's permission
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AMAZING
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Brian

In The Book Thief Markus Zusak tells the story of Leisel Meminger, a nine year-old orphan living in Nazi Germany. Leisel steals food in order to survive, but she steals books in order to live. Utilizing vivid language and a haunting tone Zusak honestly and eloquently portrays the struggles of a young girl faced with prejudice, fear, love and her own mortality. Although many of the adult characters in the book will find places of honor within the heart of the reader, Leisels courage, honesty and vulnerability mark her as the true heroine in The Book Thief.

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Stealing Readers and Books!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Isabell

This book was one of the best books I've read in a while! From the second I picked it up to the second I put it down, I never once wanted to leave it's pages. It told the story of a girl growing up during the rein of Hitler, has seen her brother die, was given away by her mother, has a foul-mouthed foster mother, a foster father with silver eyes, she befriends a Jew, is best friends with a boy who loves to run, and she steals books. From the Governor. Did I mention the book is narated by Death? almost kind of creepy, but it just made the story even better. Every page is filled with a different suprise, some that will make you cry, others that will make you cheer with joy. after reading this book you will never be the same. it is a truely awesome book!
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I'm gonna go out on a ledge here...
Overall rating
 
3.0
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Meg

Okay I'm gonna go crazy here and disagree with all the critics. Unlike (it seems) everyone else in the world, I didn't love this book. I thought that it was very original, being told from the perspective of death, and I definitely felt a connection with the characters, but for some reason the story didn't get me in the heart like other WW2 books have in the past. The book "Maus" which told the story of a holocaust survivor in the graphic novel medium, with mice representing Jews, tugged at my heart much more than the characters in this book. That's right, cartoon mice made me cry. But not "The Book Theif". But maybe I just have a natural affection for mice?
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Mesmerisingly Poetic and Cruel
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Carmen

You are in a world you may not understand. You are in a time that doesn't smile kindly on the poor. You have lost your brother and mother all in one day and can't read the book you've just stolen.
You are Liesel Meminger.

WWII. Hitler takes Poland and Death collects the leftover souls. Liesel Meminger is forced to stay with the Hubermans, each night a nightmare of her brother is waiting for her. Soon, her new papa, Hans Huberman, is also waiting. After the nightmare, and before the words.
Soon words begin to take shape for Liesel as she adapts to her new home on Himmel street. With her best friend Rudy, and "quite a lot of thivery", Death tells us her story with such poetic flavoring, I don't know anyone who shouldn't read this masterpiece.
But it doesn't end there. An accordionist, a Jewish fist fighter, a Mayor's wife, a room filled with words, a certain symbol...It almost hurt when I had to close the book.

I don't know how to credit Mr. Zusak on this one. I feel as if I should be thanking him.

But enough of my rambling, go read his. If you're not completely satisfied, then I can't offer any other book suggestions, because it's the best I've ever read. I mean it.

What've you got to lose?
-Carmen
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The best book I have ever read
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Amanda

I have read a lot of good books, a lot of great books even, but never have I come across a book that has affected me quite like this one has. I finished reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak on Friday night, sobbing, after reading the 500+ page book in about a day. I could not stop reading this book. Zusak tells the story of Liesel, a young German girl, growing up in Nazi Germany. The entire book is narrated by Death, which gives the reader a clue that this book certainly is not going to be a happy, cheerful one in the least, but surprisingly, Death does a great job as the Narrator. We meet Liesel as she is on her way to a foster family, her mother no longer able to care for her and her younger brother in times of extreme poverty and sickness. Within the first five pages, her younger brother dies right in front of her. This is just the beginning of the horror and tragedy that Liesel will endure through this novel. We get to see Liesel learn to to love words and view books as treasures only granted to those worthy enough to hold them. We see an intense love of family, friendship, and normalcy. Most importantly, we get to view the extreme ruthlessness of the Nazi world through the eyes of a child expected to be a Nazi herself. Rarely do we get that in books. This is a true gem...I have never read anything better. I would recommend every single one of you read this book, it was completely magical.
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Death's take on a war and a little girl
Overall rating
 
1.0
Plot
 
1.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Ashley

Liesel is taken to live with a foster family in a working class german neighborhoood after her brother dies on a train. She stole a book, the gravedigger's manual, when her brother was buried. During the years she lived with the foster family death tells how she steals more books, collects an interesting set of friends and deals with the war. This book just draws the reader in. At first it's a bit hard to grip what is going on, but then the story falls into place. It is also riddled with sadness and hardship of war and death, but also the delight of learning new words, reading and stealing books.
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