Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I liked The Book Thief: however, I had heard so many good things about it and my expectations had been set so high that when I actually read it,  I was a little disappointed.  I'm not certain whether I would have been let down had I not listened to all the hype.  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.

Without giving too much away, I liked that the main character was bright, female, and strong.  (No, this isn't a book about feminism at all.)  The time is World War II in Nazi Germany, so unless a person towed the party line flawlessly (and even if a person did), strength of character and keen intelligence was essential to survive.

Perhaps, there are two main characters.  The narrator is so everpresent and full of unemotional commentaries that a reader knows he is always there whether remembered or not.  The point of view of the narrator fits the historical context well.  A reader would expect him to be there lurking about.  I would have expected the narrator though to be a bit more aggressive, but he seems lazy and almost bored with his plight doing what he must like someone stuck in one of the levels in Dante's hell.

The perseverance of the secondary characters (who were also prominent in the book so as to be not so secondary) also appealed to me.  The sheer inhumanity of the times brought out the innermost soul of a person, and these characters do not disappoint.  I would have preferred that Zusak had developed some of the characters who were Nazi supporters a little more however.

Definitely this is a book to read.  Expect to be surprised, shocked, and challenged, but is it as great of a work as some that have withstood the test of time like the accolades would lead a reader to believe?  I'm no so sure.  Zusak's book is riveting and intriguing, though, and I don't want to end on a negative note.  I did like the book and would read it again.


  1. I read this book a few years ago and found The Book Thief very compelling. I also like the fact that it was told by Death who seemed tedious of his "job". Although, I can understand that when a book is surrounded by so much hype that there can be nowhere to go but down.

  2. I'm enjoying it--about half-way through. Hopefully I'll be finished by Friday! Markus Zusak has such an amazing, compelling voice in his narrative. See you at book club!

  3. I really enjoyed this one. I hate when there's a lot of hype and it falls flat. Sometimes I wonder "Did I miss something?" It happens, everyone has different likes and dislikes.