In Nazi Germany Death is everywhere and it is busy, tired and haunted by humans. Death, however, becomes very curious about Liesel, a girl living with her foster parents Hans and Rosa Hubermann on Himmel Street. Death visits Liesel three times, and in between tells her story in her own words. It’s a small story, about: a girl, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery.
There are some books that are so special and thought-provoking you just want to keep them a secret, as little treats to think about and ponder over. If I had to describe The Book Thief in one word, it would be MAGICAL, but alongside magical, there is also tender, compassionate, kind-hearted, forgiving and authentic, and above all wise.
It reminds me of To Kill a Mockingbird with its children wise beyond their years and their moral compass that will make most adults embarrassed. The essence of children like Scout and Liesel is their immediacy – they do not wait, they do not accept excuses and they do not believe lies. They are also determined and fearless and it is truly fascinating to see them grow.
The Book Thief is a tearjerker at times, it does not have a traditional happy ending, yet it is amazingly positive, optimistic, full of life, and full of characters who feel alive despite circumstances. They know what pure happiness is. They thank God for books and music, and a broken leg is possibly one of the best things that has ever happened to Hans Hubemann. They do not hate, even though they have good reason to. They are not bitter, even though they have every right to be. And they do not give up, even though life kicks them while they are down. They live their lives to the fullest, and it is a lesson every reader should take away from this bitter-sweet story that dares YOU to LIVE.
Markus Zusak is a very powerful storyteller who was able to breathe life into Death itself, creating an intriguing and thought-provoking narrator.
This story is slow-paced in the best possible way. It does not beg for a climax, conclusion, resolution or closure. The narrator gives away all major events throughout the book, which makes it obvious that the point is not the ending, but the journey – emotions stirred, intelligent thoughts provoked, heartstrings tugged.