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The Book Thief
The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . . — Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel s...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780375831003
ISBN-10: 0375831002
Publication Date: 3/14/2006
Pages: 560
Reading Level: Young Adult
Rating:
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 295

4.4 stars, based on 295 ratings
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 2
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Book Thief on + 26 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 26
The Book Thief is set in Germany during World War 2 but it tells a side to the story that you don't often hear. The story is about Lisel and her foster parents, non-Jewish Germans who don't belong to the Nazi party but they must pretend to in order to protect thier own lives. Death is the narrator and he's tired of his job. Zusak's characters are so rich I cared about every single one and cried at the end. Although this book is categorized as young adult fiction I think it can be appreciated by people of all ages and cultures. It was my introduction to Markus Zusak and I will definitely read more of his work.
reviewed The Book Thief on
Helpful Score: 21
When a twelve-year-old girl came up to me crying and asking me if I wanted to borrow this book, I couldn't refuse. She had just finished the story and was so struck by it that she wanted to pass it on for someone else to read. I was hesitant when left alone with the book, as it wasn't really my genre, but as I progressed into it I was amazed by how heartbreakingly beautiful it was.

The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel Meminger, a girl who is raised in Germany during World War II. Her life is torn apart when her mother sends her to a foster home and then loses contact with her. When she first arrives at her new home on Himmel Street, she is haunted by the death of her six year old brother and struggles with her new surroundings and new family.

Liesel finds herself attracted to books, even though she cannot read, which she "steals" through various conventional and unconventional means. Though books are a continuing theme, this story is more about her realtionships with the people that come into and out of her life.

This book is written in a unique and innovative format. Certain points are differently presented to make them more poignant or draw attention to their importance. In some cases, we get to see the drawings and paintings by the people in Liesel's life.

The whole story is narrated by Death, but not in a tacky way. It seems to present Death as a hopeful yet sad onlooker as he gently carries the souls of the lost away in his arms while keeping an eye on the life of The Book Thief.

The history in this play is mostly accurate to the best of my knowledge. It is a realistic presentation of Germany during the war and of the lives of the people impacted by it. The story is rich and well-told, the ending is devastating and brilliant, and the book is gripping, particularly towards the latter half.

This book is a bestseller, currently ranking at the top of Amazon's children's book list, though this is not a book that I would plass in that category. It is probably one of, if not the best book I have read this year, and I was almost sad to pass it back to the twelve-year-old girl who owned it.

4.8 out of 5. Highly recommended.


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reviewed The Book Thief on + 526 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 15
What a powerful, wonderful book! It was heart-rending, heart-warming, wonderful, painful, compelling⦠all these things and more. I've just finished listening to this book and I feel stunned and rather bruised. It is such a powerful, wonderful book, yet the subject matter is very sad and at times horrific. I am pretty amazed that this is supposed to be a children's book (first of all, it is huge!). It is so very well written, absolutely beyond perfection. In all my years, I have never deeply considered what it must have been like as a young child or teen living in Nazi Germany. This book is vividly written, and I feel as though I lived with the child characters. As a book lover and collector, this book spoke to my spirit and soul. All I can say is "READ IT." On a practical note, I think that a person who listens to this book on audio should also have the hard copy available so that they can see the drawings within its page.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 86 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
This is one of the best books I've read in a very long time. Don't let the "Young Adult" genre categorization fool you - this is most definitely a book for all adults. It's beautifully written and will stay with you long after you finish.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 526 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
What a powerful, wonderful book! It was heart-rending, heart-warming, wonderful, painful, compelling⦠all these things and more. I've just finished listening to this book and I feel stunned and rather bruised. It is such a powerful, wonderful book, yet the subject matter is very sad and at times horrific. I am pretty amazed that this is supposed to be a children's book (first of all, it is huge!). It is so very well written, absolutely beyond perfection. In all my years, I have never deeply considered what it must have been like as a young child or teen living in Nazi Germany. This book is vividly written, and I feel as though I lived with the child characters. As a book lover and collector, this book spoke to my spirit and soul. All I can say is "READ IT." On a practical note, I think that a person who listens to this book should also have the hard copy available so that they can see the drawings within its page.
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reviewed The Book Thief on + 13 more book reviews
A unique take on Holocaust fiction. The choice of narrator is spot on and the voice Zusak gives him (it?) is perfect. The story draws you in and breaks your heart. The movie was disappointing. If you saw it, but didn't read it, do yourself a favor and order it.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 12 more book reviews
Plot Summary

It's just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . . Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist - books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.


Critical Analysis

Allan Corduner is the voice of Death, the narrator, of this World War II-era story. The richness and depth of his voice along with his european accent make him the perfect choice to bring this amazing story to life.

Death is very busy in Nazi Germany but he does have a little time to tell the story of Liesel Meminger, our book thief. The story line is realistic, the characters are complex, interesting and likable. Even Mama, who calls everyone a pig, grows on you throughout the book. Zusak doesnt shy away from telling the hard truth of what went on during WWII: discrimination and eventual extermination of the Jews, political propaganda, children being taken away from their parents and placed in foster families due to political beliefs, how boys are expected to join Hitlers army when they reach a certain age, starvation, thievery, suicide, standing up for what you believe is right, and the human belief in hope. All of these themes combine to create a wonderful, compelling story. I found myself cheering for Rudy, admiring Hans Hubermann, crying for everyone on Himmel street, and hoping for a better future for Max and Liesel. This was by far, the best book I have read all year. I highly recommend it.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 4 more book reviews
While the writing style is unusual (narrated), the story draws you in and is an incredible, heart-wrenching tale which will stay with you for a long, long time. Loved it!

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