Book Review: The Book Thief

I read a lot of good books. But rarely does a book come along that moves me; that unsettles me; that makes me ponder the vast chasm that exists between the good in this world and the evil. A book that will stay with me long after I finish the last page and close the back cover. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak is such a book.

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young German girl given up into the foster care system for unsaid reasons just before the start of World War II. She travels with her mother and young brother to the foster care agency – and her ill brother dies enroute. At the burial she picks up a book the gravedigger has dropped, and it becomes one of her few treasured possessions. When her mother drops her off – her last tie to family is severed forever.

Liesel finds herself in the home of Hans and Rosa Hubermann, a largely uneducated and coarse couple who could teach us all a thing or two about love. Even when faced with indescribable danger, they do the moral thing – they harbor a Jew. The story of Liesel’s upbringing in the face of such adversity shows the reader that even in such situations, it is possible to respect, to forge deep friendships, and to love.

But most importantly, she learns the power of words. That they can be used for good or for evil – that they can change the world and your reality.  These words left me turning page after page, long after I should have turned out the light each night.  “I am haunted by humans,” – I was changed by these words.

8 thoughts on “Book Review: The Book Thief

  1. We read this book several years ago; still feel the same way you do now. Still not interested in the movie, but interested to know your opinion. I had my mother read it and she was astonished by the brutality of Rosa as she said she didn’t know anyone that related such behavior (whole neighborhood was off-the-boat, mostly German) and felt that was artistic license. No telling what conditions will do to a person. We have purchased two, loaned two and are contemplating a third purchase – it is definitely a remarkable book.

    • I saw Rosa’s demeanor as more an act of self protection. I think she showed incredible courage and love despite her hard exterior. The movie obviously went more quickly and didn’t achieve the character investment of the book, but was still interesting.

  2. I haven’t read it but my daughter after seeing the movie of it on an airplane and bawling her eyes out decided to read the book, too. She liked it, even though it was sad (and only being a 12 year old I was impressed that the subject matter would move her so much).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.