My book for this month was “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. It was recommended on Pinterest by people who liked the Hunger Games, so I thought I would try it. I didn’t even really read the synopsis before picking it up at the library. I just wanted to read a story without knowing anything about it. And I really enjoyed this surprise.
When my husband asked me how the book was, I replied that it was both depressing and wonderful. The story takes place in Nazi Germany right before World War II. The book is mainly about a girl named Liesel and the death that surrounds her in her adolescent life. In fact, the story is narrated by Death, himself.
The story starts out with death. Liesel and her brother are on their way to a foster family when her brother dies on the train. Liesel and her mother bury her brother in a no name town, and Liesel manages to steal a Gravedigger’s handbook from the graverdigger’s assistant. Thus begins her illustrious book stealing career. The story continues as she learns the importance of words, and also how words can give life to those around her and bring death as well.
Death discusses more than just Liesel’s life, taking in moments about the war and the concentration camps. He also talks about a Jewish man named Max and how his life intertwines with Liesel. Although one of my favorite quotes was when Death was discussing World War I and how the boys in that war “thought they were running towards each other, but in reality, they were running towards me.”
Another theme in the book was the beautiful descriptions of the sky. When Death collects souls, instead of looking at the mangled bodies, he takes note of the color of the sky. Liesel will describe the color of the sky to Max when he is in hiding. The imagery and word usage in describing people and things in Liesel’s life were so gorgeous and brillant.
I definitely recommend this book, but read it between happier ones. It really is quite depressing, but well worth it.
What books have you read lately that you would recommend?