Rhonda (Hilton Head Island SC)
The Book Thief
What a very different approach to a well covered subject. From the moment you figure out who the narrator is, this book despite being over 500 pages long, holds your attention. The characters are rich and complex and book clubs would enjoy delving into all their personalities and conflicts. It centers around the rise of Hitler in a small part of Germany and how this affects the lives of the people who live there. Markus Zusak has a very different style of writing that I enjoyed and would recommend to everyone. You will smile and cry and carry it with you when you are done.
Mary (St Paul MN)
What a wonderful read! Once I got started I could not put it down. "Death" as the narrator was an interesting concept and it worked very well. There were many beautiful and powerful passages in the book. I started to underline them , but then realized I'd be underling a lot of the book! Liesel and the other characters stayed with me long after I finished the book. I would recommend this book for young and old alike.
Gary (Bolingbrook IL)
Death and Life
Death is alive. Does that make sense? In Nazi Germany in 1939 and beyond - death as a narrator in the insanity of the times is almost too real; but there's also life! Sometimes depressing, sometimes glorious. Read the book! Laugh, cry, but remember. A great read for everybody.
Ann (San Antonio TX)
Words for ALL ages
This is one of the best books I have ever read. It is definitely not just for young people and I shall remember the characters for a long time.
The magic relationships that we see grow & deepen between Liesel & her foster parents, dear Rudy, and Max & Ilsa, the Mayor's wife, point to the importance of words & their power. At the beginning we find Liesel begging her foster father to teach her the words so that she can read. Which he lovingly does. At the close of The Book Thief, we learn we are reading her book. It is her story and we are privileged to read it.
The Book Thief challenges our humanity & inhumanity. This is a must read for book clubs!
Lisa (Riverwoods IL)
Not what I expected
Although it took me a while to get into the rhythm of the book I liked the way it was structured and found myself drawn into the many relationships between the people who lived on and visited Himmel Street. Once you get past the fact that Death is the narrator and realize it is a book of faith not abandonment, the book comes alive. I found myself liking Mama and Papa although I expected them to be the evil foster parents depicted much of the time in literature. I half expected to find out that there was a pre-war connection between Liesel and Max or that Liesel was secretly Jewish. Having been to Munich and Dachau I was very aware of how close the camp was to its actual neighbors thus I could envision Liesel and Rudy watching the Jews being marched to the camp. I would not consider this Young Adult literature and am surprised it has been classified as such. When Max began his first book hidden in the basement I likened it to the diaries written on scraps of paper inside the camps which have become such an integral part of Holocaust history. This is a book with a unique premise that keeps the reader's attention about a time in history we can never forget.
Mary (Claremont CA)
The Book Thief
I have just finished reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. At first, I was a bit put off by the format...everything was in very short sections, but as I continued, the sections lengthened and I was thoroughly caught up in the story line.
Having Death as the narrator provided a very interesting point of view. We don't tend to think of "Death" as being a "job," but "he" came across as an intelligent, thoughtful being who went about doing what was needed, commenting on humanity as "he" went on about his tasks. I have heard it said by many that they don't fear "Death" itself, but the actual process of dying. Zusak's personification of "Death" supports this concept.
While it is hard for me, as a Jew, to sometimes accept the fact that there were Good Germans during that time period, there were good and innocent people who were caught up in the events of WWII. And, as in all conflicts, the most unlikely people turn out to be heroes and persons of great compassion, understanding and love.
I would highly recommend this books. The characters are all intriguing and there is much more to them that what is immediately present.
Lisa (Beacon Falls CT)
The Book Thief
Exceptional, captivating, heartwarming... so many words to describe how excellent I found The Book Thief. One need Liesel's "words" to describe the many emotions provoked by this wonderful story. The characterizations are outstanding. Each character has their own special quality to regard. I highly recommend The Book Thief. And have already done so!