Review of: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Review by: Nicole

Book-Thief“First the colors. Then the humans.” Death isn’t who you might think he is. Death has to be distracted with colors or he will go insane. He doesn’t like to complain, but he thinks his job is hard and needs a vacation from the people; looking at the colors of the sky is the closest thing to a vacation he will get. On just an ordinary day collecting souls, Death goes to collect a small, German boy and becomes interested in a girl named Liesel Meminger. Death is drawn to her life and even meets her when collecting two other innocent souls. When he saw everything happen in her life, he decided to retell her story to those who would read what he had to say about her.

A thief, by definition, is a person who steals, especially one who steals secretly. Liesel Meminger, a little girl with coat hanger arms, twine like legs, and dangerous dark eyes, steals a single book at her dead brother’s grave. The only problem is: she can’t read. After her brother’s funeral, Liesel is sent to live with Rosa and Hans Hubermann, her foster parents. Liesel’s new life, at first, is a struggle for her; she dreams about her brother coughing to death, Rosa yells at her, she struggles to read, and she couldn’t make a friend. Until Rudy Stiener, a scrawny boy who plays soccer, asks to be her friend after Liesel blocked his goal. As time passes, she builds a strong relationship with Hans because he taught her to read and comforted her when nightmares lurked in her room. Rudy and Liesel also had a special bond; they would play soccer, steal food, and hang out in the dirty streets of Mulching, Germany together. Things start to change for the teenager when Max Vandenburg, a Jew that Hans owed a debt to because Max’s father saved him in WWI, needs to hide in the Hubermann’s basement. At first, Liesel stayed away from him, but soon she found out that Max had nightmares every night too. Max and her hung out and they acted as if they were brother and sister. Liesel would read in the basement with Max and he would draw pictures on the wall. Max also wrote a book for Liesel using Hitler’s own story. If Liesel wasn’t causing trouble with Rudy, helping Rosa around the house, or drawing with Max, you could find her reading at the mayor’s library. The German girl would lay on the cool floor and read with Ilsa Hermann, the mayor’s wife. Liesel and Ilsa had a wordless friendship, it was never weird when they didn’t talk because there was never a need for talking. Liesel grew incredibly close to just a few people on Himmel Street and they have changed her life. Her life might seem beautiful now as she steals books, plays with Rudy, talks with Max, and just reads, but Death gives you some gruesome foreshadowing that shows how her life will go down hill.

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, is one of my favorite books. I enjoyed Death describing life in a way you might have never thought about it. Markus Zusak did a beautiful job in building up the characters as if they were real. I admire the author’s use of similies, personification, and foreshadowing. I also found the novel very interesting, since it was told in Death’s perspective. I loved everything about The Book Thief and I would gladly reread.

You HAVE to read this incredible novel. I recommend this beautifully written story to six graders and up. I think students should read it when they are older because they will get more meaning out of the book. and appreciate it. I also think that both boys and girls would enjoy reading it. Even though it is a story about a girl, there is so much depth and greatness in the story. I loved The Book Thief and hopefully all students will too.