Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Review: The Book Thief

The Book Thief
From The Book Thief, by Marcus Zuzak:
Open quote 

She was the book thief without the words. Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like the rain."

Life in Nazi Germany for a young girl. Ugly and glorious, a story each generation needs to relearn.

After the jump, my review.

Grade: A-

Spoiler alert: A novel about life in Nazi Germany before and during World War II narrated by the Grim Reaper is not going to have many happy endings. And this one doesn't. Still, reading it brings a deep satisfaction.

The Book Thief is this year's selection for "Richardson Reads One Book." (Last year's was One Amazing Thing. Meh.) I wholeheartedly endorse this year's selection. Despite its grim subject matter, it's suitable for all ages. It's targeted at young readers, but this old reader thoroughly enjoyed it. Importantly, it tells a story that each generation needs to learn, take to heart, pass on to the next generation, and vow, never again.

The Book Thief tells the story of young Liesel Meminger. A war refugee herself, her foster family also shelters a German Jew. Books are Liesel's salvation, those she steals and those that are written to capture stories from her own life. She's a girl who likes to play soccer with the boys; whose best friend is a neighbor boy who she won't let kiss her; and who experiences more hardship and tragedy in a few short years than anyone deserves to experience in a lifetime. Prepare to cry, prepare to smile, prepare to be uplifted. As Death says, "I wanted to ask her how the [human race] could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant."

The Book Thief is available from the Richardson Public Library in Kindle format. :-)

P.S. If you are frustrated by the election campaign for Richardson mayor, do pick up and read The Book Thief. It puts things in perspective.

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