Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Posted February 9, 2016 by lockhartbecca in Reviews / 4 Comments

The Book Thief was raw and emotional. It brought me to tears and I loved every second of it -


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Synopsis from Goodreads:


It’s 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 Zusak’s 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 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 before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.


My Thoughts:


This was one of the books on my list of books I vow to read in 2016 so I’m very excited that I get to check one off the list. Go me! I’ve been meaning to read this book forever… is this what every single review starts with? I feel like it is… Oh well. It’s true. My mom got this for me two years ago for Christmas. She teaches 7th and 8th grade and they do a Holocaust unit every other year. She read this book in the hopes of using it in her classroom and fell in love with it and has been bugging me to read it ever since. I finally did it and even though I thought I was prepared for how emotional it was going to be, I wasn’t.


The Book Thief destroyed me.


In the best possible way. As most of you probably know (since the entire world has read this book except for me…) this book is narrated by Death. I thought that would be strange, but it worked. Actually, it more than worked. It was incredible. Completely blew my mind. Death has such an interesting perspective on things. I loved how philosophical he was at times. How matter of fact he was. Death doesn’t sugarcoat things as I’m sure you can imagine. I loved the brutal, raw honesty that this narrator brought to the story.


What really moved me about this book though was the books. Liesel wants to read so badly at the start of the book and she works so hard to do just that. She reads anything she can get her hands on and resorts to stealing books so she can read. I can’t think of a better thing to steal, can you? This poor little lost girl finds solace and comfort in books. I loved watching her go from a shy, timid girl to a young woman who can tell right from wrong. To a woman who sees through the prejudices surrounding her. To the girl who steals newspapers from the garbage cans to bring to a lonely Jew hiding from the hateful world around him. And I loved how, in the end, Liesel wrote her own story. I think that books saved Liesel just like they save countless people every day. Books have saved me. Books have provided an escape from the brutality of the world and they’ve taught me how to expand my mind and see more than what’s in front of me. They did the same thing for Liesel and without them, she would never have grown into the young woman she became.


Liesel’s foster dad was an incredible, brave, strong man.


Liesel’s Papa was one of my favorite characters in the whole book. He loved Liesel so much. Right from the very start. When her new Mama is screaming at her to get inside (don’t worry she’s not so awful…) her new Papa was soft-spoken and brought her into his home. He made her feel safe. He sat with her all night so she wouldn’t be alone when she awoke from the never-ending nightmares. He spends hours teaching Liesel how to read. But during those hours, he’s teaching her more than just how to read. He teaches her values. He shows her through his actions that regardless of what Hitler and the Nazi party was telling her, all people were created equally and if given the chance, they must help the less fortunate. This man was absolutely incredible. He brought me to tears multiple times throughout the novel.


This story was heart-breaking and earth-shattering.


There is a point in the book, and of course I won’t spoil you, that just broke me. Completely, 100% broke me. It was the perfect example of how unfair life was and it showed how awful the war was. How it affected everyone, Jews and Germans alike. When you go into a historical fiction set during WWII, you know you’re probably not getting a happy ending. So I thought I was prepared, yet tears were still streaming down my face. I’m tearing up again just thinking about it. Markus Zusak is incredible. He wrote words that turned into emotions. He made pages come alive. He made my heart break and soar over and over again. And even with the tears streaming down my face and my heart in a million pieces in front of me, I loved every second of it and I would do it all over again.


The Book Thief is a story that I will revisit over and over again.


It’s a story that deserves to be visited over and over again. It’s a work of art, a masterpiece. Raw & emotional, hauntingly beautiful, this is a book that should be read by everyone.


Have you read The Book Thief? Did you have the same visceral reaction I did? Did you love Death as the narrator? 

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4 responses to “Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

  1. I have so much love for The Book Thief! It was a novel I was definitely nervous to start reading, but once I did, and once it hooked me, it was incredible. I haven't reread it since then (sadly), but your review makes me happy AND makes me want to reread. So glad you fell in love with it too!

  2. This terrifies me. I'm one of the few that STILL hasn't read this yet (oops) and I know I need to and I want to but just haven't gotten to it! I'm so glad that you loved it but your tears streaming down your face kind of alarm me. Haha.

    Btw, I don't know if I've told you but I ADORE your pictures that you've been taking. Like seriously. love it!

    • Well I know you don't like books that make you cry and I guarantee this one will make you cry. But it's soooo good. I loved it and I definitely think you should try it sometime.

      OMG THANK YOU!!! I just got a new camera for Christmas and have been trying so hard to take better pictures. Photography is hard!! I'm glad you like them bc sometimes I'm like uh this looks terrible or mediocre at best… lol

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