The Book Thief by Australian author Markus Zusak speaks of life in Nazi Germany around 1939. The combined efforts of the beautiful writing and historical accuracy make this novel a must-read.
The story follows a girl named Liesel, who is given away by her mother to live under foster parents. She finds a book in the snow and commits her first act of thievery. From there on, her hunger for reading compels her to continue stealing books, and she finds herself using them to endure difficult circumstances. In the middle of it all, she learns to live with her foster family, as well as conceal a dangerous secret. Overall, this book is full of love, loss, adventures, and challenges.
Death, friendship and war are resounding themes that come at you throughout the story, pulling you in before you know it. These themes are universally known and, often, experienced – that’s what allows readers to connect with the book so strongly. Throughout the story, we see Liesel have her own experiences with World War II and it’s a reminder that we, as individuals, have to acknowledge these injustices of the past and work towards a better future. In addition, she gains the gift of friendship through trust and sacrifice, a bond which many of us may be familiar with, or one that we yearn to hold. It is these relationships amongst characters, and their loyalty in times of war and death that create an emotional, raw, and unique story for readers.
Liesel may be the protagonist of The Book Thief, but she isn’t the narrator. In a very non-traditional style of narration, The Book Thief brings you an exclusive perspective on death, from DEATH himself. Yet, despite the dark themes, and the darkest of narrators, Zusak maintains a break of innocent and light-hearted moments throughout the story.
This book provides more knowledge and understanding of the settings and characters of the events that are taking place. “I think the book is good but it’s very realistic, it’s not really dramatic,” shares Oyshee Das, a grade 10 student. “It gives the essence of Nazi Germany, and I think the way the author wrote The Book Thief is very unique.” Watch The Book Thief movie, available on YouTube. You can also read the book in library branches near you or at our very own R.H. King Library.