The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (review by Shivani A. ’17)

The Book ThiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Markus Zusack’s novel, The Book Thief revolves around Liesel Meminger’s life during the time period of World War II in Nazi Germany. The novel is narrated by an overworked personification of Death, who provides an interesting point of view throughout the story. Liesel first meets Death when she is nine years old, when she is forced to bury her six year old brother. This is also the first time she steals a book, called The Grave Diggers Handbook, the catch is Liesel is unable to read. Later she is deposited into a foster home as Liesel’s mother is unable to take care of her for mysterious reasons, and is handed into the care of the Hubermans. Liesel immediately warms to Hans Huberman with his gentle smile and his harmonious accordion playing. Their bond is only strengthened when Hans begins giving Liesel reading lessons. Through many twists and turns, Liesel soon befriends finds herself rebelling against Hitler in small ways. I found this book extraordinary with cunning wordplay, and depicting a variety of emotions including abandonment, insecurity, fear, and loss. Though the book was long, the emotions it evokes make it unforgettable. I found it an amazing, captivating read, as it kept me up for a ten hour plane ride. In my opinion, this book is more than worthy of five stars. – Shivani A. ‘17

View all my reviews

2 thoughts on “The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (review by Shivani A. ’17)”

  1. I just read The Book Thief, and would also give it 5/5 stars. I was attracted to the book at first when I picked it up in Target and flipped through it because I found the shorter sentence structure and straightforward narrative voice to be refreshing. The first chapter, \”Death and Chocolate,\” begins with a tired personification of Death lamenting and praising the human character. Death's narration is both amusing and original, and gives a new perspective — why shouldn't Death be tired of collecting so many human souls? Aside from Death's dark wit, I enjoyed Liesel's determined personality, her friend Rudy's impish but at times serious temperament, her foster father Hans' gentle bearing, and her foster mother Rosa's temper. Liesel finds a magic in words that carries her through unimaginable losses, and the words both develop and showcase her strong, kind personality. Although it was long, I found this novel to be quick reading — I definitely agree with Shivani's evaluation!


  2. I have to agree with Shivani and Samyu: The Book Thief may have been the best book I read all year. Zusak knows how to craft a plot without the love triangles, fight scenes, and one-dimensional characters so many writers depend on. His characters, especially Liesel's foster father Hans and her close friend Rudy, are so human that I could see them standing in front of me when I read the book — not only because of their vivid personalities, but also because Zusak can use strange twists of language to describe certain scenes that wouldn't work anywhere else. Phrases like \”swampy eyes\” and \”cloud-spat blues\” and \”red scream\” are what really set this book apart from most others. The Book Thief was long, but not long enough. I just wanted to keep reading about Liesel Meminger's life in Germany forever.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s