Monday, June 2, 2008

The Book Thief (2007)

This is an extraordinary Holocaust story written by Marcus Zusak. Liesel Meminger is eleven years old when she moves to the small town of Molching near Munich to live with Hans and Rosa Hubermann. The story is told by Death who follows Liesel's life in between his calls to duty delivering souls from people who die (which keeps him very busy as you can well imagine). He considers himself a student of human behavior and Liesel constantly surprises him. When she arrives at the Hubermann house she is unable to read but has a book with her called The Gravedigger's Handbook which had fallen out of the pocket of one of the men who helped bury her little brother. Amidst all the horror and tragedy, this girl can always find a way to show kindness and compassion to others around her. Her overwhelming desire to learn how to read and her love of reading drives her to find books wherever she can. Once she even pulled a book out of a bonfire of books considered not suitable for reading. Considering how many of these types of book end up tragically, I thought I was in for a sob fest. Yes, there were horrors all through the book, but Liesel's outlook on life is truely inspiring.
If you enjoy (?!) reading books about the Holocaust, don't miss this one. If you don't enjoy reading books that take place during the Holocaust, don't miss this one. It's a great story of keeping one's humanity when everyone else is losing theirs.
My rating for this book: +++++

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