If there is one great thing about being Canadian, it’s having the excuse to stay in at home with a good book while snowmaggedon wrecks terror outside. As a result, while everyone else grumbled about shovelling snow this past Friday, I celebrated the opportunity to snuggle in bed and finally finish reading The Book Thief. Those of you who have already read The Book Thief know just what a special and amazing book it is. Exhilarating, stirring, and sweet, The Book Thief broke my heart into a million pieces while simultaneously filling me with absolute awe at its brilliance.
The story of The Book Thief centres around the character of Liesel, a young girl living just outside of Munich, Germany during World War II. Growing up with a love for words and reading, Liesel does everything that she can to get her hands on books, even if that means stealing. Between saving a book from a Nazi book-burning to snatching them from the mayor’s house, Liesel’s collection of books slowly grows. It is the appearance of a Jew named Max on the doorstep of her foster parent’s home, however, that really opens her eyes to the power and beauty of words.
Hands down my favourite aspect of this entire book was its narration! Rather than telling the story through Liesel’s eyes, The Book Thief is narrated by none other then Death himself! While Death typically tries to ignore the people around him as he collects the souls of the dead, something about Liesel captures his interest. Death’s perspective was truly unique, interrupting the story of Liesel at times to share his own thoughts and opinions on the war raging around him. He also helps to prepare readers for the heartbreaking conclusion of the book. Within the first few pages Death reveals that certain characters will die by the end of the story, even going so far as to name them. Even with this warning in mind, I was still a ball of emotion at the end. I literally spent the final 30 pages of the book bawling my eyes out (and its rare for a book to make me cry!).
Putting my heartbreak aside, Markus Zuzak’s The Book Thief is a work of pure genius! This is one of those reviews where no matter how hard I try, I’ll never be able to fully explain its brilliance. All I can say is that The Book Thief is astonishing, eye-opening, surprising, and absolutely breathtaking. If you are going to read one book this year, make sure that it’s this one! You’ll thank me later.
Rating: 5 Stars!!
PS. Check out this great book trailer for The Book Thief (although people who have actually read the book will probably appreciate it more).