Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief
Source of Pic: Goodreads
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Current Rating on Goodreads: 4.36 of 5 stars
Pages: 552
Synopsis (via Goodreads):

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.


The Book Thief is the story of Death's recollection of Nazi Germany with World War II looming, Jews being taken away to concentration camps and the life of a certain young girl named Liesel Meminger as she meets her new foster parents, makes friendships, and grows mentally and emotionally. Throw in an accordion–playing foster papa with a promise from long ago, a young man who also happens to be a Jew, and a craving for books with stems back to death and a snowy grave, and you have the story of a book thief.

Wow! This was......... *gulps and dabs puffy eyes* And it was sooooo dense and hugee! It took forever to finish without succumbing to the temptation for reading ahead.........*groans* It's a real timeless masterpiece tho.
I knew as soon as I started to get into the story that it wasn't going to end well, but that was okay........ughhh wrong word, it was NOT okay, but it was acceptable, because the tragedy was part of what made the book brilliant and truly eye-opening. Or as Death said.....
“I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race—that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.”
And it was sad to read about the jews :'( Even tho I already know the stories of what happened to jews in Nazi Germany, every time I hear/read about it, it still manages to make my stomach churn for the injustices that occurred.

I loved the writing! It was a queer narration from a queer narrator, but it flowed nicely with so much originality :D
It's really interesting that the book was 'narrated' by Death himself. It's such a weird concept, made marvellous, at least in my eyes, by the fact that in this book, Death is an amicable, even funny guy! ;D The poor creature too, while reading, you just want to give him the vacation he's always whining about XDD
“I say His name in a futile attempt to understand. “But it’s not your job to understand.” That’s me who answers. God never says anything. You think you’re the only one he never answers? “Your job is to …” And I stop listening to me, because to put it bluntly, I tire me. When I start thinking like that, I become so exhausted, and I don’t have the luxury of indulging fatigue. I’m compelled to continue on, because although it’s not true for every person on earth, it’s true for the vast majority—that death waits for no man—and if he does, he doesn’t usually wait very long.”

There was also a merry (or not) bunch of complexities we like to call characters:

Liesel: She starts off almost 10 years old, stealing her first book, and meeting her new foster parents. At first she's insecure and haunted my nightmares. As the story progresses you really get to see Liesel grow and mature, and I loved reading her story (told by the wonderful Death, of course :P) It's tragic tho, what she had to endure at such a young age *sniffs*
“At times, in that basement, she woke up tasting the sound of the accordion in her ears. She could feel the sweet burn of champagne on her tongue.
Sometimes she sat against the wall, longing for the warm finger of paint to wander just once more down the side of her nose, or to watch the sandpaper texture of her papa’s hands.
If only she could be so oblivious again, to feel such love without knowing it, mistaking it for laughter and bread with only the scent of jam spread out on top of it.
It was the best time of her life.”


Hans: I loved Hans <3 He was clearly a kind man from the get-go. And you continue to see affirmations of this all through the book.
“Many times, on the way home, women with nothing but kids and poverty would come running out and plead with him to paint their blinds.”
But sometimes his kindness gets the best of him, and he's haunted by his decisions. You can't help feeling sorry for him, because, of all things, kindness could hurt him.
“I am stupid,” Hans Hubermann told his foster daughter. “And kind. Which makes the biggest idiot in the world. The thing is, I want them to come for me. Anything’s better than this waiting.”
Hans Hubermann needed vindication.”


Max: Is a jew. And what was sad was that the damnation and shunning of the jews really took a toll on them, Max included. He felt extreme guilt for surviving as long as he did where his family did not. He felt extreme guilt for feeling relieved to be alive. And he felt extreme guilt for letting other's risk their own lives to help him. Which, frankly, is really sad and disturbing. It wasn't the jews' fault that they were being hunted, tortured and killed. And yet the ones that survived felt the burden of guilt.
But through it all there was still a seed of hope buried beneath all Max's despair and guilt, the perseverance of the human soul. (view spoiler)

Rudy: Rudy.......w-was such a weird, funny, loyal charrie.......*makes low keening sound*.......a-and.....he loved his best friend dearly.......
“How about a kiss, Saumensch?”
(view spoiler)

Rosa: Okaayyy. *wipes eyes and clears throat* At first she seems to be a strict, rude woman with a tough skin, and this is true! XD But as you continue reading the story to begin to realize that that's just the beginning of Rosa's character, and that she's so, sooo much more. She has a big heart but normally doesn't sugarcoat things, and she actually does have a sense of humor :P And of course, she loves using three particular words..........*cackles loudly*

I think that the moral of the story was to point out, just as Death pointed out, the relationship between the monstrous heartache and the sharp beauty that live within the same moment.
“Was this Germany?
Was this Nazi Germany?”


After such a sad and gripping historical fiction (this took me 2 months to read, seriously o.O With a million stops and starts tho....*rolls eyes* I'm not that slow at rweading :P), I think I'm gonna go off on a splurge of romance stuffed fantasy YA books *giggles and winks at Cazz*........so if you'll excuse moi *skips away*
5 stars!!!! <3333333333
P.s. Now I understand the meaning of the cover Cazzi *chin wobbles* :'(

“All I was able to do was turn to Liesel Meminger and tell her the only truth I truly know. I said it to the book thief and I say it now to you.

A LAST NOTE FROM YOUR NARRATOR
I am haunted by humans.”


—MissBloodsucker™ All Sucked Out!

View this review on Goodreads