Re-read review: The Book Thief (some books never get old)

Hey! I talk about this book so much to anyone who'll listen, so I'm amazed that I haven't mentioned it on the blog yet in some shape or form. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is probably my favorite book of all time. I first read it in 8th grade, and just a week ago, finished my fifth re-read. Here's why I love it so much: 

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Knopf

Blurb: It’s 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. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

Me: So if by some chance you haven't heard of this beauty yet, there you go. It combines the two things I am most intrigued by- WWII and books, and does it phenomenally. 

The narrator in the book is Death, telling Liesel's story through his perspective. The characterization of Death is incredible- he is neither evil nor menacing, but just exhausted and robotically doing his job. There are parts in the book where it seems to spoil the entire ending, but as Death says, there's no point in hiding the truth. His frank tone and bluntness add a bittersweet twist to the book while allowing for some distance with the characters. It allows the story to encompass the tiny details and the immense destruction in one. 

There has never been a book where I have felt this close to the characters. Liesel is a soft-spoken but strong main character, and it's awesome to see her sincere passion for words and books develop. But the people surrounding her are what make this book so special to me. Papa and Mama are such different figures but they complement each other, and have huge hearts. Max is unbelievably selfless and determined, even the snippets of other characters just make the whole story so real. And then there's Rudy, loyal, kind, funny, the most un-annoying purely good character I know. (that was a weird description but I love him too much to put to words). 

In an interview, Markus Zusak basically said he wanted to capture the complete destruction and complete beauty of humanity. I say he did as close of a job as anyone could. In a world of absolute horror and cruelty, there is still kindness, there is still bravery, there is still life, no matter how small. I loved that. Of course, it didn't hurt that much of the beauty and fascination revolved around words and books, something I could completely relate to. 

There are some books that you can tell have been absolutely adored by the author. While reading The Book Thief, it's so obvious that Markus Zusak completely gave everything he had into making this story come alive, and it makes it so much better every re-read. 

This book has also never failed to make me cry, and I don't cry much while reading...

And of course, from my favorite book comes my favorite quote: 

"I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right."

So much love.



  1. I just adore this book and everything about it *sobs*

    1. Right?! I couldn't believe I hadn't done something about it on here yet.

  2. Struggling with Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief? ... If you got caught stealing books today, you'd get in serious trouble (or at ... It's Australian author Markus Zusak's fifth novel, and it emerged on the scene when Zusak was only thirty years old. ... mind while you're reading, because they're at the heart of The Book Thief.

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