The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Well, now that the half-a-thon has ended, let’s go back to my review backlog, and talk about books read way back in ’12.

The book:

Brilliant, sad, and wallopingly funny.  Go read it!  (Or maybe you did way back in ’06, when this was a bestseller.  If you missed that boat, hop on now).  The basic premise is that we (the readers) follow Liesel Meminger through Death’s eyes as she grows up in Nazi Germany.  Death is an oddly cool, detached narrator, and can’t help but observe Liesel as she boisterously goes about her life.  Death travels the world, collecting souls, and stops back every once in a while to check on Liesel.  He also slowly, stealthily, wraps his cold fingers around your (the reader’s) heart and just holds it, waiting, while you traipse through all the warm chapters of Liesel’s young adolescence.  And then Death squeezes.

Eee-gadz, I think my heart leaked out of my eyes and is now in a puddle on the floor—I cried that much.  Am I spoiling anything?  It is a book narrated by Death, after all, so I don’t think I’ve given any spoilers by admitting that I cried.  (I cried at the end of When Harry Met Sally, too, so I don’t think that says much.)  There are hilarious bits as well – one of the characters makes a sketchbook by painting over pages of Mein Kampf and then drawing his own pictures (which are included for our enjoyment and are *cute*!) and there’s a sketch of a young Hitler in a Führer Shop, eyeing such items as mini-moustaches and hatred-in-a-bottle.  (!)  If you don’t ever want read another book about Nazi Germany again, this is one to make an exception for.  It isn’t really about Nazis at all, or death—it’s about living.  8 out of 10.

The Book Thief

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