The Book Thief – Markus Zusak


“I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race – that rarely do I ever simple estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words so damning and brilliant.”

The Book Thief. What do I say about this book that you don’t already know? That you haven’t already thought of? To those who have read it, it will forever hold a special place in their hearts. To those who haven’t, be prepared for a gut – wrenching tale. War stories will do that to you.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t read that many war stories. I know the basic reaction that I am going to have to these stories so I have actively stayed away from them. But, I am trying to explore new genres and historical fiction is on my list. The Book Thief was immediately added onto my list because a few friends had already read it and raved about it. I decided to check out what the whole hoopla was about.

This book did not suck me in as other books in the past have. However, this may be because the genre is new to me and I took a while to get engaged. I can say this, because whenever I sat with the book at length, I found myself loving each and every word that was written. But, when I wasn’t reading, I had to drive myself to pick up the book and start reading it again. Nonetheless, I finished it in a week or so.

The narrator of the story is Death. That for me was exciting enough to pick up the book. I have yet to read a book where Death was a storyteller. I thought it was a brilliant way of telling a World War II story. It seems so fitting, doesn’t it?

So, the story is of a girl who is a book thief, who is delivered to her foster parents in Nazi Germany. You would think, being a German in Nazi Germany would have its perks and would save people. But, war doesn’t discriminate between nationalities. It doesn’t give special treatment just because you are a certain race. Now that I think of it, it is much like death. When it hits, it leaves a trail of devastation behind it, NO MATTER WHAT.

Death has done an excellent job of ripping your heart while narrating this story. The book is not just about the girl but also about the war and especially, and more importantly, it is about the power of words. The power words hold to save a life or to drive it to its death. The power that words have to make someone feel safe, wanted or to make someone feel like they are an insult to the human race.

This book, as many historical books, would I suppose, make you question what we are doing to this world. History has not taught us anything. If anything, it has made us vengeful and in our attempts for revenge, we have created something that we now have no control over.

Death is busier than ever.

The beginning…
Beauty and Brutality

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