Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books

5 out of 5 stars

She is a thief. She sneaks up in the night and will creep up on you when you least expect it, and before you know it, something will be gone. But she is only here for one thing. One thing that might not be of very much importance to you, but definitely is to her. It is her need and desire, and she needs it to survive, to live, and to grow. She only robs words, knowledge, and fantasy worlds. She only steals… books.

Liesel Meminger, a young German girl, is the illustrious book thief. She is also an apple stealer, a great soccer player, the best friend to Rudy Steiner, and is hiding a Jew in her basement. For these are tough times, and it is during the year 1939, in Nazi Germany, Jews are being herded together without a choice. It was the Holocaust, as we would remember it now. But back then, to Death, it was the busiest time yet.

You see, Liesel Meminger was an extraordinary girl, quite extraordinary to be frank. She had a big heart and was in love with words and the wonders that books could bring. But she was tough too. Her mother had given her and her brother up as children to foster parents, so they might live better lives. But on the way her brother, Werner, died. All of a sudden, Liesel was thrust into a new home, with new parents, in a new town, where she didn’t know anybody. And on top of that, she was only nine. How was she supposed to cope?

But Liesel handled herself very well, and soon grew up to be a strong young girl. Her choices, and that of many others, shaped her to be who she was. That is why she is one of the special people that Death remembers, and holds close to his heart. Out of the millions that he has carried off, she is one of the lucky few who have made a difference to him. She is the book thief, and Death would like to tell you her story. But is it really worth it? Do you want to hear about some girl growing up on Himmel Street, and stealing books? Well, why not? Markus Zusak reveals all in this touching account of one girl’s life in, The Book Thief!

This book was one of the most moving and stirring books that I have read yet. At first, I was a little wary of The Book Thief, as I wasn’t sure what it would be about. However, as I started this book and got into it, I was touched in ways greater than I had imagined possible. I think that many teens and adults would find this story of Liesel Meminger one that could change their lives. I do not suggest this book for kids or young teens, as there is some inappropriate language, and they may be too young for many of the harsh, but true concepts throughout this book.

I think the thing that intrigued me the most about The Book Thief was the point of view it was told in. The entire story is told by Death. Death, who sees the colors and carries peoples’ souls away. That Death. But this was something so new, and such a novel concept, that I had never thought of before. It allowed the reader to travel in the future or in the past to read about a certain event that happened, and see it through Death’s eyes. Also, I liked why the story of Leisel Meminger was told by Death, as she was one of the humans that he remembers and touched his heart.

I also appreciated how the author, Markus Zusak, didn’t sugarcoat anything. He told it how it was, and that was that. I enjoyed this as it really showed me what it was like back then during the Holocaust, and the years leading up to it. Another instance where I felt that the story was being told straight upfront, was when Leisel saw Max, the Jew, marching through the streets. Instead of making it where they lived happily ever after from that moment on, Markus Zusak portrayed what would have really happened. Max had to keep marching on now matter how badly Leisel wanted him to stay. This was one profound moment out of many in The Book Thief that I will never forget.

I do confess that this book was a little hard to get into at first, with its new viewpoint, and a different writing style that I wasn’t used to seeing. However, I soon became accustomed to it and really learned to appreciate it as it brought so much character and life to the story. Also, throughout the story it may seem a little hard to identify what the entire point of The Book Thief is. But by the time I finished the book, I realized that it was to show me about one girl’s life, and to me that was enough.

This book is an inspiring novel. To put into words how touching this novel is, is almost impossible. The Book Thief is an adventure in itself, with romance, anticipation, and the harsh realities of life all thrown in. Join Leisel, as she journeys through life in a time when one would deem it impossible under her circumstances, in The Book Thief!

-This is T.B. with Another Book Back on the Shelf…
Until Next Time, Keep Reading!

Check out The Book Thief website at
The Book Thief is available from Amazon here.


  1. Wow, really amazing review, Tessa! I will for sure link to it in my review once I've read and reviewed this book.

  2. huhahahahahah i introduced you to this book. i feel so proud. >:D i would also advise I Am the Messenger, but read it when you're older. it's HIGHLY inappropriate.

  3. Thanks Masterhand! You did introduce this book to me and got me to read it, and eventually I bought it. :) I have been wanting to read I Am the Messenger, also by Markus Zusak. But if it is as inappropriate as you say, then maybe I'll wait off on it.

  4. It's REALLYYYY inappropriate. If you want to sample a chapter or two, I have it in my bookshelf. It's highlighted and written in, but don't scream at us, my brother and I used it for English projects.

  5. Markus Zusak has a really original writing style. I love the way he gives life to all of his details. He even personifies the sky in one part, I believe. I strongly recommend that you read more of Zusak. His unique writing style and extraordinary ability to capture the perspectives of completely different characters is amazing, and not only is it something to enjoy, it's something that can be definitely learned from as well. Keep up the good work, Tessa! I'll always be a 100% supporter of "From the Bookshelf of T.B.!"

  6. Thanks so much Grady! That's really sweet! I agree completely Grady! Markus Zusak's writing style is so unique, and he touched my heart with it many a time. I can't wait to read his other books! Do you recommend any?

  7. I recommend I Am the Messenger, as someone above has already mentioned. Getting the Girl was okay, but I definitely recommend you read I Am the Messenger. I can't say it's better than The Book Thief, because the two books have different concepts, but it's definitely a thrilling and emotionally captivating piece of work.

  8. Thanks! I can't wait to read it!

  9. This one's been sitting on my shelf and I really want to read it. I do. Yet, everytime I try, I can't get into it. However, after reading that riveting review, I think I'm going to try again. Thanks :) Oh and thanks for commenting and following! :D

  10. I'm so glad you liked the review and that you'll give The Book Thief a chance! I can't wait to hear what you think of it, and it really is an inspiring read. Thanks so much for stopping by!


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