It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.
There are so many things to say about this book I don’t know where to start.
The story is narrated by Death it follows Liesel from the time she is on the train to meet her foster parents to the time when her world is shattered. It is a story of war, friendship, love, and words. It is powerful and sad and in the end it is brilliant. This is a story where words mean everything.
“If you feel like it, come with me. I will tell you a story. I’ll show you something.”
And oh how it does. We start in 1939 Nazi Germany and travel the span till the end of the war. Many die and some live. But it is the story in between that counts. The story of Liesel Meminger and her book thieving ways and her love for the people in her life. I can’t describe every aspect of the book it would take too long. But let me list for you some of my favorite parts. There is Liesel’s Papa teaching her to read in the middle of the night, the arrival of Max on Himmel Street and the powerful connection he forms with Liesel. There is Rosa hugging her foster daughter in the bomb shelter basement, and then there is Rudy, a little girl’s first love.
And of course there is the book thievery. In total Liesel stole six books, had two written for her, got three as gifts, and wrote one of her own. Why does she love the books so much, because they have shown her the words and words are very powerful. Why are the words powerful. They are powerful to Liesel because thru the words she comes to know knowledge, knowledge about life, her surroundings and people. She learns how she can influence those people with her words, and most importantly she learns that thru his use of words Hitler came to power.
The Book Thief took me thru a roller coaster of feelings and ultimately to tears. It showed the good and bad in the world and made me think. It was wonderfully written and I highly recommend it.