The Book Thief

5/5 stars

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I’m trying to decide if it’s too much to say The Book Thief is the greatest book I have ever read. I think I need a few days to say for sure. (See below for an update)

I can say this: I loved reading it.

Before I can recommend it to you though, there are some things you must know.

1. This book is not about a happy topic.
2. This book will make you cry sad tears.
3. This book does not have a fairytale ending.
4. This book is narrated by Death himself. The entire story is in his voice.

But also . . .

5. The story is about the goodness and strength of normal people despite tragic circumstance. It is not about the tragedy of their circumstance.
6. I am not wordsmith enough to properly express how incredibly deep and meaningful the characters in The Book Thief are. Every single character, without exception, moved me.
7. The writing is amazing. I cannot believe Markus Zusak isn’t the most famous writer on the planet. The way he uses words . . . I feel embarrassed even trying to write about how great he writes. Consider some of my favorite lines.
–“Its just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery.”
–“A bathrobe answered the door. Inside it, a woman with startled eyes, hair like fluff, and the posture of defeat stood in front of her.”
–“On the footpath, Liesel stood with her papa and Rudy. Hans Hubermann wore a face with the shades pulled down.”
–“Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness.”
–“The only thing worse than a boy who hates you: a boy that loves you.”
–“They read through the early hours of morning, circling and writing the words she did not comprehend and turning the pages towards daylight.”
–“The words were visible. They dropped from his mouth like jewels.”
–“It was papa who spoke, though he did not look at her. He was watching his warped face in a turned-over spoon. His elbows were buried into the table.”

I could go on and on.

Now that you know, are you scared away? I hope not! That isn’t my intention. It’s just that this book hit me so hard I feel obligated to make sure any readers who follow after me are prepared.

Oh, and it’s got a pretty cool book (fan made) trailer too.
Watch it here

Please, read The Book Thief. You’ll be glad you did.

*********

An update: Okay, it’s been a few days. No, I cannot say The Book Thief is the greatest book I have ever read. It’s definetely near the very top, but the ending is just too sad.

I’ve been thinking too, maybe there isn’t one greatest of all. There are so many books that are great, but they are great for different reasons. Instead of calling it the greatest, I’m going to say it’s among the greatest books I’ve ever read.

For me, that puts The Book Thief in a pretty special place.

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