Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kimberly's Review of the Book Thief

Book: The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak
How I got it: Bought it at B&N

Why I read it: I read just about anything I can get my hands on about WWII
Rating: 5+

*sigh* I don’t think I have ever struggled more to write a review for a book. Ok… Where can I start? I picked up the book because 1. I liked the cover 2. I’d heard good things about it and 3. The book was narrated by Death, I was intrigued immediately.
Whoever thought that a book would come along with Death as a narrator, and not only that, you’d feel sympathy and a connection to Death? To top it all off, Death has a heart and a snarky sense of humor. “I like this human idea of the grim reaper. I like the scythe – it amuses me”. Even though the narration was told at a distance I felt a deeper connection to the characters than I would have if it had been simple third person narration, or first person from one of the main characters.
And oh the characters. They are wonderful. The relationships that Liesel has with the people in her life… They are beautiful. From her foster parents, to her best friend, to the man she helped, to a shattered woman who had passed her days wandering around her home like a ghost. Each of the relationships were wonderful. I came to care for each and every one of the characters as deeply as Liesel.
As for the writing… it’s… (I can’t seem to put this into words! Ironic, no?) The writing is quite beautiful. Normally I’m a fast reader, I can read a 300 page book in a good day usually. The Book Thief is 550 pages. It took me over a week to read it. I kept finding myself slowing down so that I could enjoy the way sentences flowed and the descriptions and the imagery that Death conjured up. One might think that with the book being narrated by something as strange as Death, that the descriptions might be odd or difficult to understand. It was the opposite. I had many moments when I would read something and then think “that’s so true! It does look like that!”
After I finished the book I slapped it into the hands of every person I could. I had to spread it around. I was so moved by it that I wanted others to experience it too. My copy of the book is quite worn now. The cover has a bend in the corner, the pages are scuffed, but for once I really don’t mind. (I’m usually extremely picky about the condition of my books.) My copy alone has been read by at least 10 people. Makes me happy to know that it went so far.
I can’t really think of much else that I can say about the book. Only one thing, and it’s a bit of a spoiler, but not really. The closing lines of the book gives me chills every time I think about it…
“I am haunted by humans.”
So what about you? For those who have read it, what did you think?
What were some of your favorite parts? A favorite passage or paragraph?
A favorite character perhaps?
Tell me your thoughts on this book! Obviously it impacted me strongly enough that I can’t even sufficiently put it into words.
So…. What did you think?

(Oh and I just stumbled across this cover
when I was getting read to post this. Isn't it
beautiful? I like it even better than the one I have...)


  1. Nice review. I have to agree, I just loved the book. The narrator was captivating and the characters so... well, haunting!

  2. This book is always going to have a soft spot with me. Not only was it a fantastic read that had me in tears by the end for all of the reasons you mentioned and got me through a small rough patch, but it also got me back into reading after several years of barely reading a thing. I knew my nanny would love it, so I bought a copy for her for her birthday, and she did love it. Sadly she has Parkinsons and some days doesn't recognise her own family, this was really one of my last connections with her.

    I spotted it while having a poke around the book aisle in Asda and the simple cover (the coffee stained colour one with the picture of Liesel and Death holding hands) and the title grabbed me. "The Book Thief"? I thought. "What the hell could that be about?" I read the blurb and absolutely had to have it. I have never regretted that.

    Never has a book held more meaning for me.

  3. I've heard a lot of great things about this book, but I haven't read a review quite like this.
    I think I'm going to bump it up higher on my to buy list!
    Thanks for your review!

  4. I JUST won a copy of this book! It arrived in the mail two days ago. I was looking forward to it before, but now I can't wait! Also, my cover is different from the two you've shown here, and I like it even better than those (though they're great, too). Someone's got a handful of great cover artists!

    Here's my edition:

  5. I have a signed copy of this book (and it's the cover you posted at the bottom, as that was the adult UK cover). Sedgewick signs his name with a smiley face :)

    I adored this book. I thought that it read like poetry.

    It broke my heart while it made it burst! Glad you loved it!

  6. I gave this book to my mother last year and absolutely loved it! Hers is the same cover you have at the bottom (it just says 'De Boekendief' because it's in Dutch).
    I absolutely loved Death's narration! It was so witty! Oh, and Rudy reminded me of my best friend when I was little, so I loved him! And Liesel of course.
    I still think it's weird that it's categorized as YA, in Holland it's only in the adult section of the bookstore.

  7. Oh God - this book. It's just beautiful. I picked it up again the other week but I can't read it often because I end up an emotional wreck by the end every time!

  8. I too really enjoyed the book. I thought is was very well written and I liked how hopeful it was especially considering the subject matter and the narrator.

  9. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Isn't it just to beautiful to express in words? You should read Zusak's other books if you haven't. So good!

  10. i love this book soooo much <3. i couldn't speed through it either, but i thought it was as if you had to digest the words and let them settle a bit before moving on-- the imagery was sooo good! great review!

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  12. This has become one of my favourite books of all time! I love it when others have enjoyed it as much as I did. And I know what you mean about lending it out to 10 other people. I'm constantly trying to push my copy on to others. I read an earlier book he wrote called I am the Messenger which I loved too. So check that one out when you get a chance. It's a YA book and he was a bit younger when he wrote it but it was a great read. Very different to The Book Thief.

  13. Fantastic review. This is one of my favourite books, and I tend to get a bit ranty about it. As in, I rant at every person I know that they HAVE TO READ IT until they do. It's just wonderful. The writing is beautiful, the characters lovable and unique, the story completely unforgettable. So glad you liked it! This is the cover I have

  14. this is my go-to recommendation for anyone who dogs on YA lit. nice review!

  15. This is one of my favourite books of all time. In the top 5, hands down.

    His other book, I AM THE MESSENGER, is also in the top 5. I might even like it better than THE BOOK THIEF... shhh don't tell anyone :P

  16. Thanks for this very nice review. I need to reread this book, it was so good. I am going to give I am the Messenger a try soon too.

  17. One of my fave scenes ist the kiss :'(

  18. i've heard so many good things about this book. Everytime i pass it in the bookstore i think about buying it. i think i have to now. :) Nice review!

  19. Reading your review just reminded me that I have yet to finish this book - NOT because I did not like it but because when I started I was in the middle of receiving some ARC's and Books for Tours. I have to get back to it! I keep hearing everyone how fantastic it is.

  20. I loved this book. My mum is currently reading it (and also enjoying it) and I keep wanting to ask "have you got to this bit yet?". But that might get annoying.

    Now I want to read it again, oh dear. Back on the TBR pile it goes.

  21. I listened to this (though I also have the trade paperback with the dominoes cover) and absolutely loved it. The narrator - whose name escapes me at the moment - just handled the accents and the emotion beautifully. I'd originally heard of the book a while back from an enthusiastic friend.

    I love an enthusiastic revew! :)

  22. I can't sufficiently put it into words but I can echo everything you've said. It was a very beautiful book that has affected me deeply as well. My Review, Kaye—the road goes ever ever on

  23. I loved this book so much when I read it. For some reason I forgot that it was narrated by death. It was such a moving book, I still think about it and I read it several years ago.

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  25. So good! I loved this book with all my heart. I posted a review of it today at my blog: EARphoria

  26. Thanks so much for all of the comments!

    I was actually worried about posting this, I had such a difficult time writing it! Thanks for the compliments.

    Thank you to everyone who posted links to the book cover art, I love all of them!

  27. I know you wrote this review ages ago but I looked it up because you included it in your Top Ten Tuesday majiggy! I read this fairly recently and also loved it...even though it made me physically sob and I had to put it down while I composed myself! It is beautiful though. When I had finished it I passed it on to my Dad because he was the nearest person at the time and I HAD to pass on it's loveliness. About a week later my Dad gave it back to me and said that it made him cry. I have only seen him cry once in my life! I think it should come with a warning or something!

    Anyway, brilliant review- I will try and read your more recent ones next time! x

  28. Really liked that book. Again, get your tissues out because of the end. Took me a bit of time to get used to the way it is written but once in it, you can't get out of it. It is really a moving book and I strongly recommend it!


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