The Book Thief: Book Review

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The ambitious and award-winning book ‘ The Book Thief’ is an astounding novel written by Markus Zusak in 2004. The story is narrated by Death because war and death go hand in hand. The book has won Indies Choice Book Award for children’s literature, Kathleen Mitchell Award, and many more, the novel was an international bestseller and was made into a movie. The story is a historical novel based in Germany under Nazi rule. The main characters’ names are Liesel, Hans, Rudy, and Max. There are more characters but they don’t have an as important a role as the main ones.

The story is about a girl named Liesel who steals books, learns to read, and finds comfort in the words in books. She has to move to a new town and on the train ride, her brother suddenly dies. After they stop at the cemetery they continue on the train, when they finally arrive Liesel has to be raised by her foster family. This causes Liesel to have to get used to a whole new lifestyle and not being able to see her family every day. My favorite part of the story is when Hans hands the bread to a Jewish man who is about to die in the gas chamber at a parade. This then causes Hans to freak out because the Nazis might come to his house and discover their secret. This leads to a lot of anxiety in the next few chapters and I enjoyed it so much because it means that there is going to be cliffhangers and it made me hang on the edge of my seat. It causes suspense because you wonder if they are going to find him and get in trouble or if they won’t get caught and get off scot-free.

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The novel takes place at the same time as World War II, the 1st of September and around 1942, under Nazi rule in a fictional place called ‘Molching’, Germany. This book has no photos or symbols at all to show what the place and setting look like but the amazing imagery in this book describes the streets and setting to the reader effectively throughout the story. Reading this book makes you feel as if you are right there in the German streets with the nazi flags postered all over the infrastructure. During parades, you can picture the Jews walking into the chamber with the soldiers marching them straight into death. With Markus Zuskas’ intelligence and how he has written this book so well, it is clear why this book is called a masterpiece by so many people and why it has won so many awards.

This astonishing novel can teach the reader multiple things. The most prominent or most notable message is that humans have the capacity to be resilient and compassionate. Like all of the main characters in The Book Thief, Liesel struggles in many different ways throughout the story. The characters face challenging obstacles that they manage to overcome because they have developed caring and thoughtful relationships with others. A very important moral in this story is you learn that life is full of dark and light moments, in Liesel’s case she learns that the hard way, having to see people die and learn that it can happen without notice especially when her brother dies.

The Book Thief is set in the past and written in the past tense. Since the story is narrated by Death, it switches between the first and third person to give some of Death’s experiences. Death describes what happens to Liesel and the obstacles she and her friends go through in the third person. The language in this book and how beautifully written it causes the story to be so gripping. The novel is brilliantly plotted and helps you to be engaged throughout all of the chapters and throughout the whole story.

This book is one of a kind and will leave you hanging off of the edge of your seat. This book can be life-changing for some people because it’s that good. The Book Thief is an entertaining read and is certainly at the top of my list. It has to be one of my favorite books I have ever read. Some people may argue that a book is so difficult and sad it may not be appropriate for teenage readers but I would recommend it to anyone that is around our age because you will have more of an understanding of the plot. With the way the story is written you can really tell why it deserves so many awards and why it is considered one of the best books of this decade. 


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