June 21, 2015

Book Review - The Book Thief

The Book Thief
Markus Zusak

Wow. Can that be my whole review? No, of course not, but it's enough to start with. I'll do my best not to reveal any spoilers along the way. :)

If you have not yet read The Book Thief, I urge you to run out and grab yourself a copy, order it on Amazon, buy it on Kindle... ANYTHING! You must own this book.

The story. Liesel Meminger is just a decade old when she arrives at the doorstep. The beginning of her story. Hitler already wields his power like a red hot iron, and war rages all around Himmel Street. Just not on Himmel Street. Not yet. However, that changes, and so does Liesel as she not only learns to respect the Furher, but also hate him. To sleep, and then to wake up. To steal, but also give back. To be loved, and to love. To write, to read. To be lost, and to lose. To forgive, and be forgiven. To sacrifice, and to be the sacrifice. She knows Death personally, yet is not afraid of him. Her simple grief stricken life changes Death's sorrowful existence.

From the beginning, I was a little surprised by the unorthodox formatting. It's very different from any book I've read and I will readily admit it took a little getting used to. I am a very visual person – yes, I have no problem judging a book by its cover or by a quick glance through the pages. However, despite the strangeness of this book's appearance, I picked it up at Walmart (it was on sale... did you also know that I'm cheap??). I do not regret the $10 I spent on it.

As I assumed, I did get used to the formatting and soon didn't even notice how different it was. It seemed to fit with the book, the writing style, the very story itself. Everything about this book was different, strange, new, fresh... to start off, it's narrated by Death. This threw me for a loop, at first. This being said, I firmly believe the book wouldn't have been half as good if Mr. Zusak hadn't done so. It's a perspective I'm not sure has ever been told and he did a stunning job. Death, a harsh character at the beginning, softens throughout the story, and by the end you just want to take him and hold him tightly.

Finally, the writing style. Good heavens to Myrtle Troy (as my grandmother says). I've never read such powerful writing before. At times, it breaks every rule in the grammar book, but it fits. It flows. And oh my gosh, does it get to me. I might as well melt into a puddle as soon as I open its pages. My favorite thing? The way Mr. Zusak assigns colors to things that are previously acknowledged as colorless.  I can't say enough good things on this subject. He literally paints a masterpiece with his words; it set a new standard of good writing in my mind. Words aren't just merely letters – or rather, they shouldn't just be letters. Every single word means something, if you take the time to write it correctly. Words are powerful. Kudos, Mr. Zusak. Okay, moving on... *wipes drool from the floor*

Prepare for a tear-jerker, but it's 100% worth it. Trust me. :) Here's a little more about the book:

Cleanliness Ratings:
Language – 4/5
          Fairly strong language is used, although over half of it is written in German. Swearing is used with frequent repetition throughout the duration of the book. Suggested for ages 18 and up.

Violence – 3/5
          While I wouldn't classify this as a violent book, keep in mind that it is set in Germany during World War II and with that comes the mistreatment of Jews, war injuries, killing, and suicide. Suggested for ages 16 and up.

Sexual Content – 1/5
          Kissing is mentioned just a handful of times and only halfway carried out near the end of the book... sorry if that is vague, but the truth would contains spoilers. :) Suggested for ages 12 and up.

Literary Ratings:

Writing Quality – 5/5
          You already know my thoughts on this. :P

Reading Difficulty– 2/5
          There are patches of German interspersed throughout the story, which are quickly clarified... I have a light knowledge of German so had no problem with this, but others may find it a tad more difficult. Over all, a very easy read.

Storyline & Flow – 5/5
          Epic. That's all I can say... except for the fact that Death drops some major spoilers throughout the course of the story. It helps to soften the blows at times, I suppose...

Book Quality – (paperback) 5/5
          Bought my copy brand new from Walmart and I am very pleased with the quality.

Over All Rating: 5/5

There you go. Now to watch the movie that is sitting on the shelf.

If you've read it already, what did you think of The Book Thief? Does the movie do it justice?

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