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.”