“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
I will start off by saying that this book has changed my life. Markus Zusak’s writing took me right into the world of Liesel Meminger and had me hooked until the ending. This book has inspired me, made me laugh, and cry, had me furiously turning the pages, and made me not want to read another word. But, as I closed the book for that first time, I only wanted to open it up and start all over again. So, without further ado, here are my thoughts on Markus Zusak’s ‘The Book Thief’.
Set in World War II’s Germany, this story, told by none other than Death itself, follows Liesel Meminger, a young German girl who faces tragedy early in her life that leads her to the humble Himmel street where she meets her foster parents; Rosa and Hans Hubermann. Liesel brings only her sadness and a measly book that she’d stolen previously to her new home. When Hans discovers this book, along with the fact that Liesel cannot read, he helps her to understand the power of words and she develops a love of reading, as well as a thirst for more book-stealing adventure. Along Liesel’s journey living with the Hubermanns, she befriends the yellow-haired Rudy, a curious boy with a love for running, Ilsa Hermann, the mayor’s wife who shows Liesel a world that she’ll never forget, and a Jewish man named Max Vandenburg, who causes great danger to the Hubermanns by staying in their basement, but easily captures young Liesel’s heart with his bravery and passion for words. ‘The Book Thief’ is a story of love, loss, heartbreak and discovery, and is a tale that will open up the minds and the hearts of its readers.
I loved this book with all of my heart. Markus Zusak skillfully weaves tragedy and lightheartedness together into one big quilt that is ‘The Book Thief’. It’s a story that hits so hard and with such impact that I’ve been unable to forget it since I finished it. If you’re looking to get a fresh pair of eyes on an aging situation, I recommend this wholeheartedly. ‘The Book Thief’ presents a wonderful message about the timelessness of reading, and that through anything, no matter what, words will always be there as a guiding light. This beautiful message does not present itself outright. It’s hidden beneath dark, cold fear and wondering, war and shame, loss and forgiveness, but I can assure you, that if you’re looking for it, you will find it. Thank you for reading.
P.S. After reading this, I developed a new obsession with accordions and the word “saumensch”. Seriously, it’s in my daily vocabulary now.