Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak Book Description:
Death is the narrator of this lengthy, powerful story of a town in Nazi Germany. He is a kindly, caring Death, overwhelmed by the souls he has to collect from people in the gas chambers, from soldiers on the battlefields, and from civilians killed in bombings. Death narrates the World War II-era story of Liesel Meminger from the time she is taken, at age nine, to live in Molching, Germany, with a foster family in a working-class neighborhood of tough kids, acid-tongued mothers, and loving fathers who earn their living by the work of their hands. The child arrives having just stolen her first book–although she has not yet learned how to read–and her foster father uses it, The Gravediggers Handbook, to lull her to sleep when she is roused by regular nightmares about her younger brother's death. Death focuses on the young orphan, Liesl; her loving foster parents; Max, the Jewish fugitive they are hiding; and a wild but gentle teen neighbor, Rudy, who defies the Hitler Youth and convinces Liesl to steal for fun. After Liesl learns to read, during the ensuing years of the late 1930s and into the 1940s, she collects more  stolen books as well as a peculiar set of friends: the boy Rudy, the Jewish refugee Max, the mayors reclusive wife (who has a whole library from which she allows Liesel to steal), and especially her foster parents. When she reads a book in the bomb shelter, even a Nazi woman is enthralled. Then the book thief writes her own story.

My Book Review:
This book was voted June's book selection under the General Fiction genre for a monthly book group that I belong to on Facebook. When I looked up this book on, it had great reviews and I was really excited to read this book. From the start, I was intrigued by the author's choice to have Death be the narrator of this story, in fact I thought that it was a pretty cool idea. But as I got further into the story, I noticed that it was becoming rather hard for me to read, I thought the story was long and drawn out. I also found the story hard to digest, for this story revolved around a very dark and terrible period, namely WWII and Nazi Germany. My emotions ran the gamut as I read the story, the author provides a very thorough yet troubling description of Hitler's Nazi Germany, and the brutal treatment of the Jewish people by Hitler and his German Nazi citizens. I did love the characters in the book, especially Hans (Liesel's foster father) and Max (the Jewish refugee that Liesel and her foster parents hid in their basement). I loved those two characters the best because out of a very brutal and dark period in our world's history, these two characters displayed the best of humanity through their compassion and gentle ways. It took me a while to understand what the the true message of The Book Thief meant. I believe that the author meant that through being able to read, it gives a soul (person) a voice to demonstrate one's ability to stand up for themselves and  survive in a very tough world where a person can otherwise get lost in the shadows. Through the grimness and tragedy that surrounds this story, I do believe that it is a poignant story that does provide food for the soul. 


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