It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. 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. (Via Goodreads.com)
Release Date: January 1st 2005
Review:This will probably be one of my hardest book reviews that I will ever have to write. This novel is simply too amazing and brilliant to even know exactly what to say about it. One thing I know for sure is that this is the best book I have ever read and I can say nothing negative about it. After finishing it, I want to get all my friends to read it so we can discuss it and rave over it. I can easily say that this is the most emotional book I have ever read. I used to think The Fault In Our Stars and Clockwork Princess were the most emotional books I had ever read, but this novel proved otherwise.
The characters were all so fantastic, it was hard to hate any of them. In the beginning, I had a couple characters that I could absolutely not stand, but by the end I was bawling over their deaths.
There were many unique elements to this book, but the one I found the most interesting was that the narrator was Death. It was also the smartest because we are able to see what is going on with certain people or places because Death has the insight on everything. Death is a narrator that does not mind spoiling the ending or any part of the story. When he spoiled the ending, I did not cry or anything. But when it came time to the actual ending I was crying. I grew so attached to the characters during the novel, even though I knew slightly what was going to happen.
The cover has both literal and figurative meanings. It is figurative based on one of the many points of the story that everything is interconnected. It is literal because If one of the dominos are knocked down, they all fall. When the officers are at Rudy's house trying to get his parents to enroll him in that school, Rudy is playing dominos with his siblings.
I have stated in earlier reviews that it seems I read about World War II quite a bit. Out of all those books, this one focuses more on the Nazis. Usually the books I read have World War II as a back drop or the story is in the point of view of a Jewish person. It was interesting to see Liesel's point of view on Hitler change. It did not seem that at any point she loved or praised him at all. But the readers get to see that as the book goes along she understands that what he is doing is not right, not that she thought so in the beginning. The friendship between Max and Liesel is so inspiring. I loved when she sees him walking with other Jewish people to the concentration camp she runs up and hugs him. Even after she gets whipped by the guard she keeps trying to do it again.
When the title of the first book she took, from her brothers burial, is revealed I could not help but laugh. It was the Grave Diggers Handbook. It is also funnier when you think about how the narrator is death and the book is about digging graves.
From reading this book I have picked up on certain German word since some of the words are in German and then it is translated to English. According to the book German's are obsessed with calling one an others pigs, which is proven all the time during the book. On pages with dialogue I am almost positive that each of those pages each have the word pig on there in German at least once!
During the last 50 pages, I was crying hysterically. Most of it was from tears of sadness but some were from happiness and joy. It was just so hard when Death was bringing up certain memories or habits that each of the character did when he was collecting the characters souls. I also cried when Liesel saw their bodies in the rubble. It was interesting that the only reason she survived was because she was writing in the basement. It was really depressing when Liesel saw Papa's body and Death was saying that she lived because she was writing what Papa hoped he would get to read one day. It was nice that Death was able to get the book and keep it. It was cute when Liesel died and Death gave it back to her.
I was so glad when Max came back sometime after the booming because I really was not sure if he was still alive or not. It was great to have him survive after all the other character deaths we had to suffer through. I also liked that Ilsa Hermann, the Mayor's wife, took in Liesel after everything happened.
I think it is interesting that Liesel 'stole' the books. Certain ones I would consider her stealing them like the one from the pile of burning books, and the one she took from the burial of her brother. But I would not consider the books she took from the Hermann's as stealing because Ilsa let her take or rather, she did not prevent Liesel from taking the books.
The illustrations in the novel were interesting as well. I liked that they were not perfectly drawn, I could envision Max drawing them in the basement.
Two questions I still have that were not answered are:
1) who did Liesel end up marrying? In the epilogue it stated she had a husband, children, and grandchildren, I just would like to know if it was someone from Australia, since she moved there, or was it someone from Germany.
2) What happens to Max? We only get to see Liesel's ending. I wonder if Max and her were still close or did they go there separate ways after Max got away form the concentration camps.
Liesel is now one of my favorite characters of all time, she is such an inspiring character. Not only does she have to cope with the deaths of her close family members and friends. But she evolves throughout the novel. When we first meet Liesel she can barely read a word and is scared to read in front of people. By the end of the novel she has read many books and all of them she has reread several times. As well as towards the end of the novel is able to write about her life, she has enough knowledge to do so. She is inspiring because she is able drastically change herself over a couple of years. She also only had a couple people helping and supporting her, but their help and support is what got her through.
Overall, The Book Thief is brilliant, inspiring, funny, unique, and an emotional roller coaster. It is the best book I have ever read and has nothing to compare it to. I am really excited for the movie to come out November 8th of this year! I have seen the trailer and it looks promising to be a great adaptation of the book!