I loved this book. The characters, the way it was written and the narration by death. It is the most incredible book I have read in my short life. Markus Zusak is a highly talented author and I look forward to reading more of his work.
As a student, I have always heard the facts of World War II. As I am Australian we focused heavily on Australia’s involvement in the war. This year, we focused on the Holocaust and all the horrors it entailed. We watched first-hand accounts of survivors, as well as family members of those who have since passed. We saw photo’s, read stories, listened to documentaries. All from people who were in the camps. Those facts leave a mark. One that I will always remember and learn from. I went into reading this novel with all this information already. What happened, what was going to happen. Where the Jewish people were going to end up after they were paraded through the streets. It made Liesel seem that much more innocent. It made the story that much more sad. Seeing the war through the eyes of a young girl living as a German in Nazi Germany was eye-opening. I had never heard accounts of those years from that perspective before and how little the children knew, and yet they knew to live in constant fear. Fear of the tides changing away from their temporary favour. Fear of being caught harbouring Jewish people for those who did. Running out of food, resources. I had always assumed life was easy for the German people. But this book showed me that they lived in constant fear as well. They knew they weren’t in as immediate danger as those who were being hunted but they still feared. They feared they would say the wrong thing, be in the wrong place, be blown up by the night raids. They feared having family members ripped from them to serve their country in a war they could not win. This book opened my eyes to a different perspective which I think is why I enjoyed reading it. Still, I bawled my eyes out for hours.
Liesel Meminger is lost in a world ravaged by a war, her mother is a communist, her brother is dead, buried next to a railway in a town Liesel doesn’t know the name of. So Liesel ends up on Himmel Street with nothing but a suitcase of her few belongings and the first book she ever stole, The Grave Diggers Handbook. The last possession to link back to her brother and mother. Both lost forever.
Her life began again on that street, it was safe, well, as safe as you can be in Nazi Germany. Her new Papa, Hans Hubermann is kind, a talented accordionist who teaches Liesel to read in the early morning when she wakes from her nightmares. Her new mama is cold, distant with a bad temper and fiery mouth, yet is still kind, in her own way. She met her best friend on Himmel, Rudy Steiner, a fast, competitive, reckless, Saukerl who would do anything for his family, and friends.
As the war grows in ferocity Liesel and the Hubermann’s must keep their secret to protect their friend.
Rudy must steal to keep his family alive.
Liesel must learn to keep hope alive… and maybe steal a few books along the way.
What did you think of The Book Thief?