Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Book Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

By her brother's graveside, Liesel Meminger's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is
The Grave Digger's Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
My Thought
I do not remember when my friends mentioned The Book Thief and told me how good the book was. I had no idea what kind of book it was until I opened and read it myself. It was big surprised. It's not overrated. What they said about this book was true. It's a great book. I LOVE IT.

Let me tell you, this is a historical fiction book. Nazi Germany in 1939-1943 becomes the setting. This is something that made me more excited. The Narrator mentioned some places. But most of the story took place in Germany.  He took me to Himmel Street, Munich not to the concentration camp. So the whole story ran about people in this German neighborhood. However they were not the one who sent to camp but during the war there was no safe places. Even when someone live in such street. None can be called happy with this circumstances.

Whoever named Himmel Street has a healthy sense of irony. Not that it was a living hell. It wasn't. But it sure wasn't heaven, either.
They had to be hide when there were Allies' air raids. There was no certain time. Everyone had to be ready because the bombing raid was there to kill them.

What I mentioned above is only one thing from that book. There are still many parts  that the reader must not missed inside. Let's say the narrator, the characters and how the story was built between them. All those stuff made me gave five stars for this 576 page book.

Let's talking about the narrator. He is the Death. Marcus Zusak, the author, created a really different creature. This Death was cool and far form fearful. The more I read the more I understand about him, I think. I was laughing at first then end up crying when I read these words.
  “I am haunted by humans.”
At first I did not get what he said in the prologue. It took three times for me to understand what he tried to say. Fortunately, no more confusion happened in few next chapters. I enjoyed the way he recite the whole stories. But in some parts of the book, I could not help myself for not yelling at him for telling me some spoilers. He mentioned some names and said something that will happen to them in the next few chapters. Death did break my heart by doing such things. I still liked him, though.

Death introduced  me to a nine year old girl, Liesel Meminger.  Death noticed Liesel for the first time in her brother's funeral.  She moved to German to live with her foster parents,Hans and Rosa Hubermanns, Papa and Mama. Books become one of important things in her life since she could read. Book made her starving more than anything. She did not mind stealing in order to have one. It's only one thing that make me loved her.

Talk about her life in Hubermanns's house, at the first, It was not easy to do the adjustment. Especially with the way Rosa Hubermanns treated her. It was so harsh. She even called Liesel as Saumensch. I did not remember when Rosa called Liesel with her name. But one thing for sure, no matter how rough it was, Mama Rosa cared. She loved Liesel.

Hans Hubermanss, Papa was a tender foster father. Just like her wife, he considered Liesel as his own daughter. He was a very kind. I think his heart is wide enough for everyone. He taught Liesel how to read. He was always there for her.  Papa was also the one who tried to calm her down when something bad happened. It did not take a long time for Liesel to love him. The bond between them was built very well. How I loved that chapter about Papa and Liesel. I read it many times. I loved when they were spelling the alphabeth. It makes me hard for me to choose between Death or Papa.

Last but not least, there was Rudy Steiner, a young boy that I adored. He was Liesel's neighbor, friend at school, the one that accompany her in some thievery, her best friend. Beside chapters about Papa, I was also looking for Rudy's part. I liked the way he teased Liesel with his awkward request. I was smiling every time he did it. He was one of the characters that made me curios since The Death shared some spoiler about him.

There were still remarkable characters. But I think you need to read them yourself.

With those characters above, Markus Zusak poured them into great story. The history that he put inside was more than enough for me to picture how terrible the conditions was. He did have to bring me to the camp to know how fierce the Nazi forces. One thing that I could see clearly in this book, during those years, not all German were fond of Hitler and his ideas.

It was a long story but I did not feel tried of them. The more I read the more I want to know about the ending. But when I reached the last pages, I found myself want more. Since there's no more to read, I opened some chapters and reread it with teary eyes. For some days, I could not help myself but thinking about them. My thought and heart were still there. I think I am going to read it again, someday.

They said they are about to make the movie based on the book. YAY. The last time I checked, I saw 20th Century Fox in the article related to this. Can't hardly wait.

I recommend this book to all people who love historical fiction. You have not read it? What are you waiting for? Go grab this book. 

Until I posted this review, I still wonder why they chose those dominoes for the cover. I make lots of interpretation. It's hard enough to relate it with the story inside. There are various covers, but I prefer this one.


Author: Markus Zusak
Illustrator: Trudy White
Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Paperback: 576 pages
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf (September 11, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0375842209
ISBN-13: 978-0375842207
Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 7.9 inches

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