Friday, October 18, 2013

Book Review / The Book Thief

Set against the backdrop of Nazi Germany, Markus Zusak narrates the story of a young girl, Liesel Meminger in a town called Molching and how her life changes after she begins stealing books. The story is narrated in ten parts through the eyes of Death, which gives uniqueness to the story.  
The Grave Digger’s Handbook, subtitled A Twelve-Step Guide to Grave-Digging Success is the first book to her forbidden fruit of reading in WW II Germany. Liesel steals the book from her brother's cemetery and hides it under her mattress in the Hubermann’s home where she lives with her foster parents Rosa and Hans Hubermann. 

Keeping a promise he made long ago, Hans agrees to hide a Jew in the basement of their home as German cities are destroyed by air raids and the waging war. Here, Zusak shows that not every German was a Nazi in Nazi Germany and that there were some who did not worship Hitler like Liesel’s papa and who genuinely cared for the Jews.

Why does Liesel couldn’t stop the strong urge to steal books? Is she stealing to settle a score with life? For the loss of her brother or the disappearance of her mother? One can only know the answers to these questions if you read the book. 

“I have hated the words
and I have loved them
And I hope I have made them right.”

There’s something profoundly moving about the power of words that Zusak brings out so beautifully in the book. The words bring out a heartbreaking story about the strength, love, kindness and friendship of a human race destroyed by one of the most horrific events in history. It deplores human misery yet it celebrates the power of words.

There is so much pain and beauty in this book that it’s hard to put it into words. I’ve doubts if I’m making the right words to capture this stunning story, but I do know that this is a book that has made its stand in my bookshelf and will linger with me for time immemorial. And the book ends with this…

‘I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race – that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words so damning and so brilliant.

None of those things, however, came out of my mouth.
All I was able to do was turn to Liesel Meminger and tell her the only truth I truly know.
 [...] I am haunted by humans.
 The Book Thief, Markus Zusak, Pg. 554

After reading a lot of good online reviews about the book and the recommendation from the book store lady, I’m not disappointed. It will be one of those books that I’ll read again and again in my lifetime and garner different meaning from it. I bet I’ll be more amused every time I read it since the power of words in the book is beautifully crafted and because it tells a story in which books becomes treasures. And you cannot help but agree to it.   
If you are a lover of words, or if you have a thing for the study of Nazi Germany or holocaust, I bet you will enjoy this book as much as I did. It’s simply one of those unputdownable books that will draw you emotionally and chill you to the bones. With my heart in the mouth, I’m looking forward to the movie in November. Hope it won’t disappoint my visualization of the characters.

post signature


  1. Thanks for sharing. The book seems wonderful going by your review. I will keep it in my gonna-read list.Thank you madam for that..:D

  2. Your review tells me that I must read this book. Thank you so much.

  3. I badly want to read this book, Rekha. I have heard so much about it.

  4. Sherab and Passang Sir, my review doesn't suffice and do justice to the book.
    I highly recommend the book.

  5. i second Passu surely makes me feel like i have sit down and read the book...:)

    1. I wish to sit down again and re-read the book.

      Looks like I need to open a reading session for this book so that the interested ones can sit down, dissect the power of words in the book and devour it.

    2. NOw that would be an interesting thing to do..:)

    3. I would like to hear more thoughts from you and the like-mindedness on this note.


What do you have to say on the post that you just read?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...