Overview (via Goodreads):
HERE IS A SMALL FACT - YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier. Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall. SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION - THIS NOVEL IS NARRATED BY DEATH. It's a small story, about: a girl, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. ANOTHER THING YOU SHOULD KNOW - DEATH WILL VISIT THE BOOK THIEF THREE TIMES
Published September 8th 2007 by Black Swan
(first published March 14th 2006)
ISBN 0552773891 (ISBN13: 9780552773898)
Edition language English
Since I've first heard about this book that I had doubts about what I would think about it. I read some books about the Nazi Germany and I liked most of them, but the stories start to be pretty similar. Nevertheless, I always felt curious about this story.
This story is narrated by death. It's the story of a German girl named Liesel who grows up during World War II. We read about her life with her new foster parents. Papa teaches her to read and calms her down when she has nightmares. Mama does the laundry for rich people in town, and she swears a lot but she has a big heart. The girl becomes friends with Rudy, her neighbor, a boy with "hair of color of lemons". She goes to school with him and they have some adventures together. He also helps her the best he can.
Later in the book she also makes a new friend: a Jew named Max, one of my favorite characters. He gives Liesel the perfect gift with the few things he has.
There are several interesting characters in the story, but I'll not write about them all because I don't want to ruin it for you. Every character is really well built and they could be real.
Death, who is trying to understand the human race, narrates the story with insightful observations and dry humor, which made me smile. Death is a strong character, imaginary but so real at the same time because of what this characters feels: the emotions, the sensations, the thoughts.
Zusak is a brilliant writer. He makes the reader think about compassion, family, war and atrocities. He wrote the perfect words for every sentence, for every chapter, for every scene, and the reader has to let the imagination go wild.
It's a book with a slow development. It was a slow reading, but not painful. It was slow because it tells the reader the details, but it's not boring. The descriptions are amazing, you can almost feel it as real.
Liesel is adorable. She is a strong little girl who lives in one of the most tragic moments of our history. Although she may seem fragile, she has already been through some painful moments, and she'll have to deal with more during the story we read. She can always find a way of fighting.
After reading so many book about the Holocaust and the Nazis, sometimes it's hard for me to read about those times again. Weather the story is original or not, it always has a little but of the same old details.
One of the reasons I give it 4 stars instead of 5 is because sometimes I had the feeling I was reading a collection of short stories and not a whole novel. Another reason is I didn't feel attached to this book like I felt for others, which I wanted to read without stopping. The book is brilliant, the story, the way it's written... I just felt something was missing.
Labels: Books, Review