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Review: The Book Thief

May 20, 2016

The Book Thief

I bought The Book Thief by Markus Zusak seven years ago and only read it this month because it was my book club’s selection.  Let me tell you, I am kicking myself for waiting so long.  I loved this book – it may be one of my favorites of all time.  I can’t wait to hear what the rest of my book club thought.

For those unfamiliar with The Book Thief, it’s the story of Liesel, a young German girl during World War II who lives with a foster family.  Before you say, “not another World War II story,” let me point out that there are quite a few things that make this book special.

The characters are outstanding.  Liesel is sweet, innocent, and confused and comes of age during a horrific war in a small German town.  She transitions to her new family because Hans, her foster father is an extraordinarily kind man.  He’s quiet and determined to do the right thing.  His wife Rosa tries to cover up her soft side with a gruff exterior and she’s doing what she can to help her family survive.  Liesel’s friend Rudy is fabulous too.  I fell in love with all of these characters and didn’t want their story to end.

Using Death as the narrator of the story was brilliant!  Who else has such a terrific view point during a bloody war?  At first, I thought it might be a little awkward, but it felt natural very quickly.

I also loved the fact that this story is about ordinary German people.  I often hear people question how Germans could let the Nazis get away with the atrocities they performed and The Book Thief shows how.  It also shows their quiet resistance and the things they did to retain their humanity.

If you haven’t already read The Book Thief, I urge you to do so.  I absolutely loved this book and flew through it.  After you read the book, I’d suggest watching the movie.

Ikid konnection new will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

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33 Comments leave one →
  1. May 20, 2016 6:39 am

    I loved this book too. The movie was excellent too.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Happy Friday!!

  2. May 20, 2016 6:46 am

    I read this 10 years ago and thought it was one of the best books I’d ever read. I still feel that way and can remember sitting on my couch, sobbing as I read the final chapters. There’s an anniversary edition that was recently released and I’m eager to take a peek at it. I think it has some extra material at the back; probably group discussion questions and maybe comments from Zusak. This is one I plan to read again! So glad you enjoyed it. (My review can be found here.)

  3. May 20, 2016 7:35 am

    I really liked it too- the bookishness, the characters, the portrayal of ordinary citizens in an awful situation. What I didn’t like was the interjection of Death’s narration. I really could have done without that! I honestly wish I had a copy with all those parts removed.

  4. May 20, 2016 8:02 am

    I did the same thing — I finally read it because it was my book club’s selection.

  5. May 20, 2016 8:46 am

    I had a hard time in the beginning getting used to the narrator, but I loved it too. I have not seen the movie though.

  6. May 20, 2016 9:06 am

    Thanks for sharing this review.

  7. Beth F permalink
    May 20, 2016 9:17 am

    This is my niece’s all-time favorite book. I love the way the words are set on the pages.

  8. May 20, 2016 9:21 am

    I am (slightly) ashamed to say that I had this in my TBR pile a few years ago, and sold it to my local bookstore during a purge. If it’s one of your favorite books all-time, then I need to get it back into the pile.

  9. May 20, 2016 10:25 am

    I loved this book and I’m so happy that you did as well. It is truly one of my favorite reads. The writing is superb! Such a terrific story. Definitely a must-read! I’m so glad you posted about it – makes me want to reread it 🙂

  10. May 20, 2016 11:12 am

    I’ve had it for years too but just never got to it. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  11. May 20, 2016 11:18 am

    I loved, loved, loved THE BOOK THIEF. A real treasure.

  12. May 20, 2016 12:04 pm

    I can’t imagine why I haven’t yet read this book, but now I must. I started the movie once, but then was distracted by something…who knows what? This may be one book I should read before seeing the movie.

    I love the idea of a kind foster family…so often we see the other side of that. Thanks for sharing!

  13. May 20, 2016 12:06 pm

    I watched the movie and loved it and still have the hardcover to read which I should because the idea of Death as the narrator is fascinating.

  14. May 20, 2016 12:32 pm

    I’ve had this book on my shelf for as long as you have, but still haven’t read it. Thanks for the push!!

  15. May 20, 2016 12:55 pm

    I’m glad you loved this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. This book was on my ToRead list for a long time. Then I took it off, thinking I would focus on more recently written novels. Now I’m putting it back on my list!

  16. May 20, 2016 1:48 pm

    I’ve not read The Book Thief yet either and everyone I know loves it. What a rave review!

  17. Patty permalink
    May 20, 2016 2:24 pm

    I have not read it either and I have had it for years. I did watch the movie, though.

  18. May 20, 2016 3:51 pm

    I really loved this book when I read it several years ago. So glad you finally read it!

  19. May 20, 2016 8:16 pm

    So glad you loved it! My whole family has read and loves this one too. A classic.

  20. May 20, 2016 9:25 pm

    I loved this book too and would love to read it for the first time again! I have yet to see the movie.

  21. May 21, 2016 12:53 am

    Kathy, I read this a book a few years ago, and loved it, too! I will probably reread it one of these days. I enjoyed your enthusiastic review. I think your book club discussions about this novel will be interesting and animated.

  22. May 21, 2016 11:31 am

    This is definitely one of my favorite books that I’ve read recently. It took me a minute to get used to Death as a narrator, but once I adjusted, I agree that the story couldn’t have a better narrator! I saw the movie version of it recently too, and I was really happy with it. I’m sure it doesn’t mirror the book exactly, but I think it got a lot right.

  23. May 21, 2016 12:09 pm

    This is one of those books that I dare not review because I get incoherent hahaha. So happy you loved it!

  24. May 21, 2016 5:05 pm

    I saw the movie and cried

  25. May 21, 2016 6:45 pm

    I loooooved this book! I’m so happy to hear you loved it, too. I haven’t seen the movie yet but keep telling myself it’s one I need to get to.

  26. May 22, 2016 11:21 am

    I haven’t read this one yet though it’s been on my list for a long time. I have to get to it soon.

  27. May 22, 2016 3:00 pm

    Don’t feel bad, I had this wondeful book for about 5 years before reading it. In fact, I ended up listening to the audio, and let me teel you it was FABULOUS! I cried and cried at the end of the movie, which I also loved. I am so glad you read it!!

  28. Judy B permalink
    May 22, 2016 6:40 pm

    This was a audio listen for me and it was amazing. I have not seen the movie, I will one day. It is one of my favorites of all time. Great review!

  29. May 23, 2016 12:02 am

    I was going through my wish list this weekend, trying to eliminate older titles, but I kept this one. Glad you liked it, although I do get tired of WWII stories – I really need to space them out.

  30. bookingmama permalink
    May 23, 2016 8:14 am

    I read this one years ago and loved it!!! I just received a new copy of it a few weeks ago. I should probably have Booking Daughter read it with me this summer.

  31. May 25, 2016 11:41 am

    I’m glad you had such a great experience with this book. I loved it too.

  32. The Cue Card permalink
    May 28, 2016 7:05 pm

    Yeah I remember this one; it’s pretty brutal & vivid, but I liked the character of Liesel. A strong character!

  33. June 21, 2016 5:36 pm

    What you just now read this! This was a great book I read it a long time a ago, but I still remember that I loved it! This makes me wonder what books I have missed out on! Lol.

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