Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Book Thief Review

I do not carry a sickle or scythe.

I only wear a hooded black robe when it's cold.

And I don't have those skull-like

facial features you seem to enjoy

pinning on me from a distance. You

want to know what I truly look like?

I'll help you out. Find yourself

a mirror while I continue.

(p. 307)

With Death as the narrator, one would expect The Book Thief to be a haunting tale. It is. Everyone knows that World War II was a terrible time, a sad scar on the face of history to say the least. With so much death and destruction have you ever wondered what Death’s perspective on war was? Author Markus Zusak show readers how he believes Death must have felt, and it is truly intriguing.

"It was a year for the ages, like 79, like 1346, to name just a few. Forget the scythe, Goddamn it, I needed a broom or a mop. And I needed a vacation." Throughout the novel, Death takes on the rather surprising role of a being skeptical of humanity since he has witnessed so much war and irrational evil. The idea that Death has a heart is constantly proven through the narrative. He begs the question, how can the human race be “so ugly and so glorious” at the same time? He describes taking the souls of people, of being amused by humans portrayal of him as the grim reaper, and throughout the novel he surprises readers with his bluntness and reflections. Zusak uses the witty and compassionate character of Death to weave a story full of emotion and imagery. "Mystery bores me. It chores me. I know what happens and so do you. It's the machinations that wheel us there that aggravate, perplex, interest, and astound me." Death frequently uses foreshadowing to reveal the fates of characters, but although readers know what the general outcome of a novel during WWII will be, it is still an impressive and emotional journey that continues to captivate until the very last words on the final page. Readers will go on an emotional rollercoaster. They will feel the love of family, the despair of great losses, the joy of accomplishments, and shock at the ability of people to act both with compassion and with cruelty.

The story chronicles the life of Liesel Meminger. Readers discover how she lived, what she witnessed, the love she gave and received, and how she dealt with the tragedy around her. Death witnesses Liesel’s first act of thievery, at her brother’s graveside she picks up an object in the snow; The Gravedigger’s Handbook. With the help of her foster father, Liesel learns to read and so sparks her love of books. Soon she is stealing them whenever she can. Stealing books is not all Leisel has to worry about though. When her foster parents hide a Jew in their basement, Liesel becomes aware of how truly dangerous the times are. With each page Liesels ignorance and innocent is stripped away and replaced with knowledge that both frightens her and makes her stronger. With every act of brutality she witnesses, Liesel is also shown the extent of human kindness and love.

Through elegant writing Zusak gives readers a glimpse of what life was like in Nazi Germany and shows the true power of love and compassion in saving people. By the end of the novel readers will feel as Death does, “that although it broke my heart, I was, and still am, glad I was there." This novel will haunt readers just as Death say humans haunt him.
A highly recommended book. One of my Absolute favorites!
♥ Allie


  1. This is an excellent review. I couldn't have said it better. The Book Thief is a true masterpiece...and I think I'll have to re-read it now. :)

  2. One of my all time favorites as well!

  3. I'm so happy that you guys reviewed this! It's a truly amazing story and your review definitely did it justice!

  4. I have an award for you guys, if you would like you accept it. It's right here:

    Thanks for being awesome and have a great weekend!

  5. thank you very much for thinking of us! we would love to accept and will do so when our finals are over next week and we have time to sit down together :)

  6. Do you think this book is too dark for 6th graders? I have thought about recommending it, but I haven't read it and I'm not sure.

    Check out/follow my new blog at
    to find YA Lit book reviews in 100 words or less and songs to read by!