Aly in Wonderland

The Book Thief

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

There are a number of reasons as to why I love this book.

1. It's wonderfully written, from a POV that hasn't been used before.
2. Death is actually a wonderful, soulful character. He's witty and, by the end, you can feel his exhaustion.
3. It's plot driven. The only purpose of this book was to show the reader the crudeness, rawness and reality of war.
4. We're shown life in Nazi Germany.

Watch me talk about these points in detail. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

1. It's wonderfully written, from a POV that hasn't been used before.

Because let's be honest, how many books have YOU read that are narrated by Death himself?
He's a very matter-of-fact, yet deeply related character. He is rooted to The Book Thief (Liesel Meminger) and her life.

The narration at times is slow and jumpy. If you aren't paying attention to what you're reading, you're easily lost and may have to start the paragraph/page/chapter again, so I advise anyone who has yet to read this to pay attention at all times else you'll class this as a silly book without actually getting anything from it, when it's anything BUT a silly book.

However, if you follow the narration carefully, you'll notice how, after a while, everything Death says falls into place. I felt like I'd been given a 2,000 piece puzzle and had been asked to complete it without a picture to help, but only with a slow, careful narration.

2. Death is actually a wonderful, soulful character. He's witty and, by the end, you can feel his exhaustion.

Thanks to much literature since the beginning of time, Death has been classified as the enemy: someone to fear, someone to avoid and someone to curse at.

We were told Death looks like this:



Fun Fact: Zusak sees him like this:



We were told Death is spiteful and has no mercy.

The Book Thief's Death, however, is the opposite. He admires and envies us humans, is compassionate and sympathetic and has a body built and bent with sorrow. He truly is a lovely, lovely character and a briliant, intelligent narrator.

3. It's plot driven. The only purpose of this book was to show the reader the crudeness, rawness and reality of war.

It's not a book about a character. It's not a book about the life and purpose of said character.

It's a book illustrating exactly what life was like during the war. All its curses and sorrow and the lives that continued even whilst families and lives were wiped out by bombs and fighting. Children handed to foster families; parents losing their children; the famine and poverty; the pure, unedited reality.

It's not a book about a girl trying to survive the war. It's a book about a girl trying to survive the war like everyone else.

It's not a book about thievery. It's a book showing us the exact lengths people would go to to get what they needed. In this case, it was a girl and her books, but in many, many cases it was a father and bread, a mother and milk, a couple of thieving gangs stealing from farms.

Thousands of people died from hunger. Thousands of people died from disease. Thousands of people killed themselves because they just couldn't see a silver lining.

The crudeness, rawness and reality of war.


4. We're shown life in Nazi Germany.

I have read many a book based during the Second World War. Many of them were written from all around the world. [b:Under a War-Torn Sky|875411|Under a War-Torn Sky|Laura Malone Elliott|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1387651956s/875411.jpg|2870993] and [b:Tamar: A Novel of Espionage, Passion, and Betrayal|357160|Tamar A Novel of Espionage, Passion, and Betrayal|Mal Peet|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1320558676s/357160.jpg|347323] are two of my favourites, but neither of those books showed me exactly what I wanted to see: Nazi Germany.

Sure, they mentioned them -- the enemy, the Nazis killing and destroying everything and everyone in their way -- but [b:The Book Thief|19063|The Book Thief|Markus Zusak|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1390053681s/19063.jpg|878368] is based in Nazi Germany and here, as a reader, I finally understand that they lived and died and tried to survive just like the rest of the world. There were children there, too, forced to undertake a stricter regime than the rest of Europe, and the abduction and murdering of Jews was shown ten times as stronger and harsher.

As a reader as well as your every day human being, I never quite got attached to the population of Nazi Germany at the time. Being quarter Jewish, my family and I have a lot of history with Nazi Germany and its concentration camps, but for the first time, as I read [b:The Book Thief|19063|The Book Thief|Markus Zusak|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1390053681s/19063.jpg|878368] I felt and understood and finally came to terms with the fact that there were families and children and innocent souls taken away from Germany as there were from around the world.

I think this is what hit me the most about this particular book. In Death's eyes, we are all the same, and it doesn't matter where we come from or what we have done, because in the end we all die.

And in the end, you must feel sorry for Death, for he is forever haunted by us humans.

All in all, I give this book a glorious five-star rating. It was wonderfully written and perfectly executed.

Well done, [a:Markus Zusak|11466|Markus Zusak|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1376268260p2/11466.jpg], you took my heart and smashed it to pieces.

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