The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Wow. This was a phenomenal read. The first thing that I noticed when I picked this book up was that the prose and the writing style was refreshing for me. I have not been reading a lot of “great” prose recently. This novel may have been intended for a younger audience but the themes are still universal.

The novel was definitely written with those themes in mind, but that does not bother me. It’s nice (or horrifying) to sit back and think about the issues that this novel brought up. Obviously the big one has to do with the Holocaust and Nazi Germany. The story gives interesting insight into the juxtaposition between the people living in Germany. You meet the hardcore Nazis, and the regular people who actually care about human lives no matter the differences. I like how important books and reading are to Liesel throughout the story too. I can see why this is on many required reading lists for schools now and I agree that it should be.

While the characters are not the best written, you end up feeling a lot for all of them. All of the characters were designed to give you that heart-warming feel as you get to know them. I can appreciate how well the author did at making this happen. As you get towards the end of the book you really get to know these people. I liked Liesel, but Hans and Max really stood out for me. I felt more for those characters than any other in the story.

This novel has been on my radar for quite a while and I am glad I finally got around to reading it. It will easily leave an emotional impact and you will be thinking about it even after you finish reading. A few days after I finished this, I was actually in Boston and I got to re-visit the Holocaust Memorial. Being able to walk through the memorial with this story still being fresh in my mind was chill inducing. It’s worth the read.

“I guess humans like to watch a little destruction. Sand castles, houses of cards, that’s where they begin. Their great skill is their capacity to escalate.”

Buy the book here! – The Book Thief


  1. Great review, I loved this one too. I was also totally blown away by Zusak’s “I Am the Messenger” which has a totally different feel. I highly recommend it if you get a chance.

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  2. I absolutely loved the Book Thief. Not only did it hold a great deal of sentimental value having received it from my literature teacher at the end of year 12, but it was actually the first book that I cried with. Full on tears streaming down my face. I now regard it as one of my favourite books. Likewise, when I first picked it up and started reading it was very refreshing to read something of a different style as to what I normally read. I grew to adore the characters and the writing of it.
    I remember it being the first book i read out of high school and the one that preceded Anna Karenina and many others. Hands down I would recommend this to any new or advanced reader that appreciates a good book.
    (can you tell I loved it)

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  3. This is my FAVORITE book! I’ve read it about fifteen times. I’m a fantasy writer, so it’s always made me chuckle that my favorite book is a historical fiction set in Nazi Germany but ah, well. I first read it when I was twelve and I read at least once a year, every year, because I feel like every time I learn something new.

    If you liked this you might like his “I Am The Messenger” book. It’s a completely different subject matter, but another example of Zusak having a refreshing and different style.

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  4. I remember by favorite teacher (who never actually became my teacher in a subject, but was teacher in my school) gave me a list of books to read. He recommended The Book Thief. Damn, good book, good memories.


  5. Great review! I can remember feeling a great deal for the characters in narrative, even the character of death (who reminded me just a little of Terry Pratchett’s Death).

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  6. This book was surprising and interesting. I’d be inclined to disagree with you about the characters; I liked the character development. I think the limitations were deliberate because it was told through the eyes of a child. I agree that you end up feeling for the characters, though! They became real.

    I found it to be a heartbreaking and engaging read, and I’ll probably read it again in the future. Thanks for your review!


  7. I agree, The Book Thief is phenomenal – it’s actually in my top 2 favorites (I can never decide whether I really think of it as my #1). I just think that it being narrated by Death brought a whole new dimension to the narrative – it is haunting and compelling and heartbreaking. For me, the lemon-haired boy will always be the most memorable one.

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  8. I love this book. I read it in middle school/high school and it inspired an interest in WWII and the Holocaust that continued throughout college. I even took an entire class on the subject! Glad you enjoyed it!


  9. Nice review. You do realise that one of the characters is Death itself… I found this book very penetrating and haunting. Being born and raised on the other side of the War (USSR) it was a refreshing immersion…


  10. Thanks for stopping g by my blog Chaz! I loved this review. This was one of those books that I was still thinking about long after I finished reading it. Do you read much historical fiction? I’d love to hear about some more of your favorites in that genre!


  11. This is one of those books that everyone seems to just love. I’m not sure if I’ll get a chance to read it just because I’m always on the lookout for the newest books out there, but maybe one day I’ll get into it. Books about the Holocaust always make me cry!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I keep seeing this pop up. I love reading stories that take place in the Holocaust. It is a truly horrific time, but I am fascinated by it. I really should pick this one up!

    Liked by 1 person

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