Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

     Initially I was intimidated by the length of this book...almost 600 pages on top of everything else that I have to read seemed like a difficult task to complete. After being captivated by the first 140 pages, I am so engaged, that the length no longer bothers me. In fact, I would probably be upset if it was any shorter! There is still so much that I want to know about Liesel and her parents hiding Max in their basement, that I am excited to dive into the remaining pages.
    Considering the fact that I have always been drawn to books centered around the Holocaust/ WWII, I knew that I would love this one. Although I am only about a 4th of the way through The Book Thief, I am intrigued and captivated by Liesel and the events that are occurring in her life. Another reason why I am so drawn toward this book is the fact that it is unlike any books about the Holocaust/ WWII that I have read. Books such as The Diary of Anne Frank or Night focus on the perspectives of Jewish people; individuals who know the immediate impacts of the Holocaust. The Book Thief is unlike any of these books, in the sense that it does not tell the story from the perspective of such characters, but rather focuses on a young German girl who is coming to understand the impact of Hitler's regime from an entirely different viewpoint. It's nice to read a book from this perspective, due to the fact that it reinforces the fact that there were Germans who did not necessarily believe in the words of Hitler and wanted to help those who were ostracized.
     As I am lying in bed with The Book Thief in hand, I cannot help but escape into this time period and imagine how life would have been. Through Markus Zusak's use of imagery and powerful word choice, escaping becomes that much easier. On page 77 I can just feel the emotions that Liesel was going through as she attempted to read in front of her classmates. It is through events like this where Liesel recited excerpts from The Gravedigger's Handbook that I began to understand the importance that books had in her life.  Stealing this book ultimately resulted in her having a close relationship with Papa. It was once he found it in her bedroom that they decided to read it together; resulting in Papa teaching Liesel how to read in the basement. Would Papa and Liesel have such a close relationship if it were not for her stealing The Gravedigger's Handbook? Whatever the case may be, I often smile when reading about them; especially since Liesel was a foster child and creating a close father-daughter relationship can be that much more difficult.  As I continue to read, I hope that Liesel is able to maintain such a close bond with her father, despite the events that begin to build up (Nazi Germany taking control).
    Throughout the book I have also been flagging important events or quotes that stand out to me. This is beginning to be rather difficult and overwhelming, as there are SO MANY things that I want to flag. Honestly, this book is amazing and I question why I am just now taking the time to read it.  With only a 4th of the book under my belt, I have already flagged several pages. One page in particular that I flagged was when Liesel first met her new mother and father. This was something that resonated with me because my older brother is adopted and was placed in a foster home for the first few months of his life. Although he most likely did not experience the same emotions as Liesel, as he was so young, I tried putting myself in both of their shoes and understanding how something like this can impact who you are as a person. I look forward to reading the rest of this book and finding more personal connections!



  1. Keara, I am SO glad you are finding this book so enthralling. I agree. The first time I read this book I was so blown away by the richness of the story, the levels of perspective included with the different characters, and the exceptional way Zusak weaves in historical facts throughout the narrative.

  2. Keara, I too loved how Zusak told this story from a different perspective. I think that when we study and think about the Holocaust/WWII, it is easy to focus on the same two groups and their stories. Although these are extremely important, I feel it is dangerous to leave out the voices of other groups that played a role in the events at this time. I think this is especially important because it reminds readers that not all German's blindly followed Hitler and the Nazi Party. Many of them did resist and even reject their efforts and actions, and made their own choices about what was right and wrong. I'm wondering, would you have liked to have had another perspective, other than Liesel's, in the story? Or, would you like to read another book that offers a different perspective? For me, I am interested in people like Hans Hubberman who resisted the Nazi party and who showed such compassion and kindness in a time that it was so dangerous to do so. I'm wondering if there are any books out there that would offer this perspective without being a typical book I had to read for my history courses.