I decided to do something a little different with this one. I wrote my own little summary instead of snatching the one from goodreads or amazon. I felt like this one deserved a little bit more of me put into it.
When you think about war, you think about it in terms of sides. In the case of Germany in 1940, the sides are clear. The line is drawn, as it has always been, between the Nazi’s and the Jews. It makes it easier to understand. Easier to remember who was right, and who was wrong. Easier.
In The Book Thief, Markus Zusak takes that line away. There is no longer sides. No longer the right way and the wrong way. There are just people. And you know what? It isn’t easy to understand. It isn’t easy at all.
Every time that you want to put that line back in place, Zusak knocks it right out of your hands. Who are you to decide what is right and what is wrong? Eventually, you stop wanting to put it back at all.
The line blurs and you learn the story of the people who walked it. Blended into the line so that they couldn’t be found. At times they found themselves hovering closer to one side of it than the other, but all the while they stayed there. On the line. The word shaker’s tree.
I have no idea why it took me so long to read this book. Knowing that it had been sitting on my headboard for 2 weeks before I picked it up and decided it deserved to be next, makes my heart ache a little. Liesel’s story was just sitting there unread. That’s the beauty of a book though, isn’t it? It will always wait for you. It won’t go anywhere unless you want it to.
What did I think of it? That is the real reason you are here though, isn’t it? The book itself is narrated by death, who you can imagine was very busy at the time. However, that didn’t stop him from noticing Liesel. If death can make time during World War II to see how a little girl’s life plays out, you already know it is going to be a good story. You don’t need me to tell you that.
What I can tell you is that this book will leave you with a bittersweet taste in your mouth and the unmistakable feeling that something inside of you has changed.
Zusak’s writing style is beautiful to say the least. I love when authors write about this most normal, everyday things, with a different perspective. It is something that Neil Gaiman does constantly. For example, there is a bit in The Book Thief where Rosa is cleaning up after Max in the kitchen:
“When she was finished, she found the young man at the kitchen table, utterly morose. Hans was sitting opposite, his hands cupped above the sheet of wood.”
I had never really thought of a table as a sheet of wood until I read that sentence, now that seems to be the only way that I can think about it at all.
The character’s we meet are brilliant. Rudy happens to be my favorite. I am much more like him than Liesel, so he was instantly relatable for me. He is reckless, stupid, and unquestionably loyal. Everything that I love in a person wrapped up in a 14 year old German boy. That’s normal, right?
Anyway, I highly encourage you to go pick up a copy of The Book Thief if you haven’t already. Don’t let it sit on a shelf until you think it deserves to be next. Trust me, it deserves so much more!
Want to see my favorite quotes from The Book Thief? If you have read it, you know that there is a plethora of quotable lines, so it is going to take me a minute to type them up. When they are posted I will link them here 🙂