Markus Zusak’s THE BOOK THIEF was the best book I read in June, if not one of the best books I have read, period. This is one of those books that changes you. I went in one person, and came out another. There will now be books I read before
THE BOOK THIEF and books I read after
. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to do this one justice, but I’ll try.First, the narrator.
Death tells this tale. He sees the world in colors. He doesn’t foreshadow subtly. He is surprisingly compassionate. He is brilliant. He tells the tale of the Book Thief, a young orphan named Liesel Meminger who grows up in Nazi Germany under the care of foster parents. This is a powerful novel, regardless, but I really think it is the lens through which we see this tale unfold that takes it from moving to masterful.The characters.
Every single character in this book is a layered, complex, real
person. Even the small ones. Liesel is a determined ball of spitfire. Her Pa is endearing. Her Ma, harsh and hard, yet full of heart. Max, a Jew they harbor in their basement brought tears to my eyes. And Rudy, Liesel’s next door neighbor, nearly broke me. He’s as feisty as Liesel, a loyal friend, and as daring and sweet as they come.The pace.
It’s slow. It’s steady. I didn’t tear through it, but I also couldn’t put it down. This is one of those novels that you savor, that you want to truly immerse yourself in, and by the final pages you want to slow down even more because you don’t want it to end. (Even though you do already know 90% of what is going to happen because Death is a pesky narrator and already gave half of it away. Remember what I said about foreshadowing?)The prose.
It's gorgeous. Simply gorgeous.
I don’t really know what else to say. This novel had me laughing, and smiling, and squeezing the book to my chest. It also had me bawling my poor eyes out. (I advice having tissues on hand when you read this novel. Lots of tissues.) But it was worth every single tear shed because this story is flawless, especially the ending, and even more so, the final line.
You know what, Death? I am haunted by this book. Thank you, Markus Zusak, for writing it. It has truly changed me, and I’m better having read it.
Originally reviewed here