synopsis (from Markus Zusak's webpage):
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.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
i actually put off reading this book for a long time. i'd see it in stores, but then right next to it (or several shelves away, sometimes my attention wanders in bookstores) would be a shiny new fantasy novel!!!!
i am weak. i always picked the fantasy.
but one day i finally gave in and got this book because so many people have read it and it has such good reviews.
confession: i didn't even know what it was really about.
i also didn't know what i had been missing. this book was utterly brilliant. i could not agree more with the review i kept rereading on the cover:
"Brilliant and hugely ambitious...It's the kind of book that can be life-changing."--The New York Times
so true. i don't even know how else to describe how amazing The Book Thief is. how captivating and powerful Liesel's story is. it's the kind of book that i think everyone should read at some point in their lives, and i cannot recommend it enough.
especially for a writer, i don't think there's a better book to read. the characters, the setting, the plot, the style, the way Zusak described things, his foreshadowing, use of pathos, the underlying theme--the list goes on and on, and NONE of it could possibly have been any better. it is the best example (i think) that you will find of a perfect book.
of course, i do have one "complaint". well, more of a warning, really. i NEVER cry when reading books. i think it might have happened twice in my life (example: i cried when i read Marley and Me right after my black lab died from cancer). however, i sobbed buckets over this book.
disclaimer: I AM ONLY MENTIONING THIS SO YOU CAN STOCK UP ON TISSUES. THIS IS IN NO WAY A REASON NOT TO READ IT.
in case you need any further convincing, my rating for The Book Thief is 5.0 (out of 5.0)
intrigued? you can read the first chapter or two online for free here