“I always saw the book as a kind of love story, with Liesel at its center.” – Markus Zusak
This was the book Caidyn assigned to me for July as part of our book club. We decided to choose our favorite book to assign the other to read.
5/5 – I feel some shame at having taken so long to read this book. Then again, I’m not always drawn to books I know will break my heart. I was about halfway through this behemoth of a book when I decided what my rating was going to be. This was the easiest five stars rating I’ve ever given. It is THE best book I’ve read all year and I don’t know if another book will come close.
The book takes place during World War II, in Germany. Almost immediately, I had a sense of dread. Before I even opened the book, I dreaded what would happen to these characters. That dread followed me through to the last page. What made matters worse, was how attached I became to each character who came into Liesel’s life. The relationships she had with Hans, Max, and Rudy were so powerful and there was so much love between them even if it was never said out loud. It was the little things. The way the characters would do selfless things for each other without a second thought, and the characters came alive against this very real and tragic backdrop of WWII.
Death is a character I want to talk about separate from everyone else. Death is telling this story of Liesel, the book thief, and brings such a unique perspective on humans. Of course, Death is a fictional character created by a human, but that doesn’t invalidate anything Death says in my opinion. Throughout the book, Death isn’t just someone who takes people’s souls to whatever comes after life, but Death sees things that we as humans might not. At the same time, Death feels things the same way we do. This was almost a story told from Liesel’s perspective, according to Zusak, but instead, he kept coming back to the narrator being Death. Having a distance and yet intimate narrator such as Death, someone who sees people at their weakest moment, that was a brilliant decision.
This book made me smile, made me laugh, made me angry, and made me cry. I felt so many emotions throughout this book and yet, I found the ending uplifting. I mean, that doesn’t even mention that the book is divided into parts and each part is the title of a book significant to Liesel. That blew my mind when I figured that out. It’s a minute detail, but it adds something to the book.
This book is gorgeous. Some of the lines Zusak wrote are breathtaking. I was a sobbing mess at the end of this book and it was still breathtaking. I would highly recommend this book. The Holocaust and World War II is a heavy subject and it’s not the easiest read, so I understand it’s not a book for everyone. More than its setting, this is a book about the distinct types of love one girl has for the people in her life. To me, that’s what made the book worth the read.