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The Book Thief

Author:  Markus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger and her younger brother are being taken by their mother to live with a foster family outside Munich. Liesel's father was taken away on the breath of a single, unfamiliar word – Kommunist – and Liesel sees the fear of a similar fate in her mother's eyes. On the journey, Death visits the young boy, and notices Liesel. It will be the first of many near encounters. By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single 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 accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from 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 Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.

Your rating: None Average: 4.8 (27 votes)


Jul 14,2017

I've only ever read two books that have made me cry, this and the notebook, but I love it. The characters are so pure as children ought to be and much can be learnt from their strength in such hard times. THE ENDING KILLED ME but it's worth the pain and definitely worth the read

Mar 28,2017
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I find this book strange. It is quite different to all the other books I have read. I mean with death narrating it has to be wierd. I t has many strange characters, Leislel especially. It's kind of annoying how Hans, Rosa and the Steiners all die in the end but overall a great story. I'm glad Max comes back!

Jan 31,2017

I'm sure 1000 people have said this - but the best. book. I've. ever. read. The language - oh, I took to reading odd phrases out to my friends. Set in war-torn Gemany, focused on two young children as they grow, it's a heartbreaking view into the world of the young forced into a mindset they never wanted. There was never a moment of quiet, of boredom - just a heart-stopping ride. 

And Death narrates? I mean, just pick it up and fall in love.

Dec 17,2016
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Such a moving book,
I already knew the ending because I have watched the movie but the book just made it so much better,
as the original story always is better.
Rudy just made me cry so many times, he was just too cute and yet really realistic at times.
The ending was written so well as everyone knows that anything about WWII could not possibly have a happy ending, but what happened was truly devastating.
This book was able to stir many emotions throughout the many pages and was so hard toput down.

I love how the author didn't have to specifically mention that Liesel married Max because when it listed
her last thoughts it didn't mention him but we all know that Max was a huge impact on her life.

Aug 09,2016

“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak centres around the life of Liesel Meminger, a nine-year-old girl living in Germany during World War II. Her brother dies on a train journey to a foster family outside of Munich.  It is at his graveside that Liesel steals her first book, “The Gravedigger’s Handbook”.   It becomes the one she learns to read from.  Her foster father begins to teach her to read from it.  During the course of the story, her foster parents very dangerously hide a Jewish man from the Nazis. This man, Max, continues to teach Liesel to read in secret. Entranced with the power of reading, Liesel steals a number of banned books from the mayor’s wife in order to save them from being burned by Germans. 

This is definitely one of the best books I've ever read.  It has a very unusual style.  One indicator of this is the fact that the narrator of the story is the persona – “Death”. There are many little quirks of style e.g. every now and then throughout the story there will be little "asides" made by Death, which give his version of events.  The plot is very moving - it allows the reader to view the war in Germany from the point of view of the ordinary German person at that time.

The character I liked the most was Rudy Steiner because he was funny, he was kind to Leisel and most importantly, because despite being the 'perfect' German with blonde hair and blue eyes, he rejected Nazi ideology. 

Mar 27,2014

The Book Thief 

 “The Book Thief” is a heartbreaking, yet extremely fascinating novel, written by the Australian author, Markus Zusak and published on March 14, 2006.  The book takes readers back during the time of World War Two in Germany. The novel tells a story of a young girl Liesel Meminger who has a love for books.

 The story is narrated by Death. It tells us about a girl Liesel Meminger who is transferred to live with foster parents because her mum was taken away. She moves in with Hans and Rosa Hubermann in a small house in Molching. Hans teaches Liesel to read and write, as she is illiterate. Rosa is very blunt but deep inside she is a very caring and loving person.

 From very early on in the novel, Liesel becomes best friends with Rudy, a happy, playful boy, who is always there for her. As the story unfolds, the reader comes to know Liesel and her love for books very well. She would do absolutely anything to read, even steal, which is where the name “book thief” comes from. Throughout the story a new character, Max Vandenburg is introduced, also known as the “struggler.” In the novel Liesel and Max immediately have a connection and share many of the same qualities. They both have a love for books and are both very determined people.

 Mark Zusak challenges readers in this sophisticated novel. He uses many different techniques in his novel.  One that I hadn’t come across before was foreshadowing. This is when the writer goes back through the text and adds foreshadowing to prepare the reader for later events. Another technique that is strongly featured throughout the book is Zusak’s impressive characterization where he builds in depth relationships between characters. I found the relationship between Rudy and Liesel endearing.

 Mark Zusak also uses lots of interesting and descriptive language throughout the entire novel. I thought that it was very easy to create images through these words. Although the descriptive language was exquisite, I thought the layout and format of the book, wasn’t so great. It took a while for me to get into the rhythm of the book.

 On the whole I thoroughly enjoyed this novel for its originality. I believe that this book would appeal to a cross section of readers, for 13 and over.  A few disturbing scenes portrayed throughout the novel for example, bombings and dead bodies could be disturbing for younger readers. 


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