Jun 27, 2011

Off You Go to Read "The Book Thief"

My dear obedient sisters and fellow book-lovers:

Go read The Book Thief.


Because instead of falling asleep like I normally do when reading at night, this book kept me up into the stillest hours of morning. When the kids woke up, I curled myself against the tub for hours while they took an extended bath so I could finish. I wore mixmatched jammies underneath a frumpy robe, glasses, crusty makeup with tears streaming, and I was probably getting doused with bathwater, too. My eyes burned from not wanting to pause even for blinks.

Intense stuff. You know you want some.

It's a WWII novel, and after I finished it, I just stared at the book for awhile in awe. I wanted to immediately start reading it again, and I might have done just that had I not three kids needing a towel! It made my soul ache for the sadness and soar for the goodness that these real and lovable characters went through.

And I was simply stunned by the unique storytelling style of the author. Brilliant, I tell ya!

The narrator is death, and his birds-eye vantage point gives way to so much perspective. As he travels between heaven and earth to gather souls, sometimes a story or person would grab his attention. In this case Death zooms in on a young German girl name Liesel who becomes the foster child to a German couple durning the war.

And because I'm lame and I can't quickly summarize a book, here's the synopsis I found on the back cover:

By her brother's graveside, Liesel Meminger's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Grave Digger's Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books fom Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

Are you convinced to read it? I promise you, it's worth the tears that will surely come. If you've already read it, who's your favorite character? Husband and I both vote Hans Hubermann (the foster father), hands down. All of that man's goodness reminded me of Dad. :)


PS. Did you notice my ballerina bun, Em? No offense, but I'm never doing that again! It's not the bun; it's my hair! After all those years of straight hair heaven, its growing in kinky curly again--especially on the sides. I've only got two words for that: kink and cringe. Wait, that's three words.


  1. I loved that book! I agree that Hans is such a wonderful character. I really grew to love him over the course of the book. We discussed this book in my book group last year and one person suggested reading it thinking of Death as being a woman (because we all found that we thought of Death as coming from a male perspective). I haven't done it yet but this person said that it changes the book in remarkable ways. Might be interesting to try sometime.

  2. Just added this to my summer reading list! :)


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