The Book Thief

the-book-thiefI’m sure most of you know about The Book Thief by now. I myself wonder why it took me so long to pick it up. Though always tempted to grab it every time I saw it at the store, I was always put off by the fact that it would be “just another historical novel”. Don’t get me wrong, I love this genre but a YA historical novel didn’t particularly interest me. Nevertheless, a few weeks ago, I succumbed to the temptation and brought home my very own, beautiful copy of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

I really should stop judging YA books by their label….

For those of you who, like me, have been living under a rock for the past few years, the story focuses on Liesel, a young girl who has lost her brother and mother and who is now living with her foster family in Nazi Germany. She is drawn to books at an early age and with the help from her papa, slowly learns to read them. Her passion for words grows and, with the help of Max, begins to understand their importance.

It was when Liesel’s family took in Max Vandenburg, a Jewish young man, that I started to really love the novel. I instantly fell in love with his character and the bond he and Liesel developed, being almost like the big brother Liesel never had. They become so important in each other’s lives and it’s beautiful to see the little things they do for one another to help them forget their situation.

What’s so special about this book and one of the things that makes the story so unique is that the narrator is Death. I loved Zusak’s version of Death. He isn’t dark or sinister like we tend to imagine but is portrayed as a sympathetic being who is just doing his job. He brings a whole other side to the story and brings in his own views and opinions.

If you are looking for a fast pace, action novel, I don’t suggest you pick up this book. It took me twice as long as it should have to finish the novel not for the lack of interest but because my reading pace slowed down while reading it. It’s a well written book with so much power and I was trying to savour every word. For that, I found my self taking my time to read and ponder every chapter.

Don’t be fooled by the YA label on this book, The Book Thief is an intense and sophisticated story that is a must read for anyone who enjoys a historical novel.



I do not carry a sickle or a scythe.
I only wear a hooded black robe when it’s cold.
And I don’t have those skull-like
facial features you seem to enjoy
pinning on me from a distance. You
want to know what I truly look like?
I’ll help you out. Find yourself a mirror while I continue.

-Markus Zusak, The Book Thief