Forget all that. The Book Thief is purely and simply one of the most original, intelligent and authentic books I have ever read. It is a book one wants to remember. Not just the story, but the extraordinarily imagined characters and the beautiful writing.
The hero, Liesel, does not know how to read when the story begins. Over the course of the book we watch with humour and poignancy, her discovery of words. It is the words and the writing of them that are so remarkable in this tale. There are only twenty six letters in the English language, twenty six characters with which to make words, and Zusak fashions from those characters words that sing. Sometimes he makes up words like a mature Dr. Suess. The author was not afraid of going outside the conventions of novel writing, yet the story is so lyrically written he pulls off an extraordinary feat, deftly managing to take a dark subject and making it an enchanting read.
The Book Thief should be on the shelf of every young adult and those who are eighty. Baby Boomers, a product of some of the events of the story, might particularly appreciate the book. Zusak does not dumb down words nor does he use pretentious ones. He simply writes with the words that best fit – whether big, small, made up or profane.Though there was pathos galore, it was also laugh-out-loud funny at times. The story line was profound on more than one level. The narrator, as mentioned, was Death, albeit sometimes reluctantly so. Liesel was a nine year old uprooted from her Communist parents in Nazi Germany. There are tender moments and moments that are beastly. In the end it is a book about the human spirit.
Sometimes a book entertains, sometimes it edifies. The best books combine the two and this book presents a story which should be told to every generation, in a way that is most edifying without being preachy and entertaining without being frivolous.
Moving, profound, innovative, creative, refreshing, astounding. Brilliant!
And the thievery? Well, you’ll just have to find out for yourself.
Steal this book as fast as you can...