Hey, guys! I’m back again with another book review!
This time, I’m excited to say I’m reviewing the famous The Book Thief by Markus Zusak!
When I saw that May’s challenge theme was Something Out of Your Comfort Zone, I thought that it would be a good idea to read The Book Thief, because I’ve been putting off reading it for a while.
I hope you enjoy this review!
Publication Date: September 1st 2005
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
Publisher: Various including Picador
Page Count: 584 pages
1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Death has never been busier, and it will become busier still. Liesel Meminger’s life is changed when, by her brother’s graveside, she picks up an object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’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 foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, and 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.
(Now this is amazing quality, and portrays the book a bit better)
I’m sure that my readers know that I’m not a Historical-Fiction kind of girl; I’m more of a Sci-Fi, Thriller kind of gal. So when I saw this month’s challenge, I immediately thought Dystopian and Historical-Fiction. I went into this with low expectations and came out just blow away!
When you go to the GoodReads page, you’ll see that this book has won 15+ awards through the years! Just imagine that! And I can tell you from now on that it 100% deserves them!
The most interesting part about this book is that it’s narrated by Death. Death is a person, and he doesn’t look like the grim reaper or anything, he just looks human, but he’s only visible to the people that are dying (I think, it’s kind of confusing).
So we get to see the whole story unfold from Death’s point of view. Some people don’t like the narration, but I personally enjoyed it very much!
Another thing that I enjoyed was that the characters would talk a bit of German here and there (there are translations, so don’t worry), so I kind of got to learn how to swear and say a couple sentences in German, which was really fun.
This kind of reminded me of a book I read for school, The Riddle of the Sands. It’s a nonfiction espionage novel, which was also set in Germany (and a bit in England) during this time period. So I kinda got flashbacks to when I was reading The Book Thief, to when I was reading it.
I do actually recommend reading The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers if you wanna read something nonfiction, yet interesting (there’s a movie too 😉 )
Some people say that the book is slow-paced, but I didn’t really feel that at all, I actually finished it in only 2 days, which is pretty good.
I think that’s all I want to say about the book in general, so I’m just gonna move on to the character analysis.
I chose Liesel Meminger, Hans Hubermann (Liesel’s Foster-Father), Rudy Steiner (love interest/best friend), Rosa Hubermann (Liesel’s Foster-Mother), Max Vandenburg (Jew/best friend/family friend), Ilsa Hermann (Mayor’s Wife), Frau Holtzapfel (Neighbor), and Adolf Hitler (major asshole/ruler-at-the-time)(only gonna talk about him briefly). That’s 7 (technically 8) characters! Let’s just hope that I get through them without making this post really long!
First, we have Liesel Meminger, our protagonist.
When we start the story, she’s 9 (I think), and when we finish it she’s 14 (without the epilogue), so we do get to see a chunk of her life or at least the most important part.
She’s sent to her new foster family, Hans and Rosa Hubermann, by her mother after her brother dies on the train. So we get to follow her through this journey, and my favourite part was seeing her get so attached to them, even though she thought they were horrible in the begging.
Her Papa , Hans, slowly taught her how to read and write every night after she wakes up from his reoccurring nightmare, where she sees her brother die, over and over again.
She learns the beauty of reading , and eventually writing, and how it can take her away from the world that is, literally, falling apart on top of her head.
I think that’s enough about Liesel for now, let’s move on to Hans Hubermann. He’s Liesel’s foster father, and my favourite character!
I feel like he’s the nicest man you can ever meet/read-about. He takes care of her and stays with her after she has nightmares, helps her out when Mama -Rosa Hubermann- gets angry at her.
These are some key points about Hans: (1) He fought in World War I (2) He knows how to play the accordion (3) He doesn’t support the Nazis and Hitler (4) He’s the kindest man. ever. I mean he risked his life to keep an old family friend safe in his house. That kind!
I assure you that you’ll love him when you read The Book Thief!
Now on to Rudy Steiner. Oh, Rudy! I just adored Rudy! He’s the cutest, toughest, most adorably in love 13-year-old you’ll ever read about.
It’s actually funny because he’s so helplessly in love with Liesel, that he’s actually scared.
They’re the best of friends, and I just find it so cute and sad that *blank* happens… You’ll know what’ll happen when you read the book, young child… You’ll know…
Now for a character that went through a lot of development: Rosa Hubermann! She slowly climbed her way up to my top 3 characters!
We start off seeing her as this evil, mean foster mother, but throughout the book we can tell that she loves Liesel with all her heart, even if she calls her an ass scratcher, or a pig in German, which is another thing I thought was hilarious!
Rosa always swears throughout the book, and it’s just so funny to see people swear in a different language. I actually found a website which compiled all the German swear words in the book and translated them, so if you want to see that you can click here.
Next, we have Max Vandenburg. You don’t get to see Max until about the half-way point or something, but I’ll just give you a quick character sketch of him.
He’s a jew, which is a horrible thing to be during that time (fuck you, Hitler, by the way). His father fought with Hans in World War I, and when he died, Hans went to Max’s mum and told her that if they needed anything, they could rely on him. Now almost 20 years later, Max knocks on their front door to ask Hans to hide him in there, as Hitler is trying to imprison every Jew he can get his hands on.
Max, Hans, and Rosa are my favourite characters in this book (and of course Liesel, but I don’t count the protagonist), so you can probably guess that he’s gonna do some amazing, kind shit like risk his life or something, but I’m not gonna tell you, as it’s better if you get to learn about this character with nothing in mind about him.
Next, we have the Mayor’s wife, Ilsa Hermann. She’s kind of a side character in the beginning, but then you get to see why she’s such an important character and has such an important role later on.
I won’t tell you what she does, but I’ll tell you that when we hear her backstory, you will feel bad for her.
Frau Holtzapfel is the Hubermann’s neighbour, and she is a side character, but I just kind of felt bad for her around the end. She’s been through a lot, and we get to see major character development with her.
At the beginning, she’s an annoying old lady with an attitude, but by the end, she see’s that her actions do nothing to help her through her grief, and just kind of gives up.
Now for the last character in this review, Adolf Fucking Hitler. I’m actually writing a post about why I don’t like him as a historical figure, not just in this book, but let’s just stay on topic.
He is a self-absorbed dick that doesn’t deserve to even exist. He got on my nerves.
That’s all. It’s not really a character analysis, I just needed to say that…
I gave this book 5/5 stars on GoodReads!
Much love, Rawan …