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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
17,574
The Book Thief
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on September 24, 2015
I can't actually remember if there was violence or not, as it has been a while since I read it. But I mean, it's about the Holocaust, so yeah, a little emotionally traumatic. I love this book and it is one of my favorites. You will not regret reading it far as I'm concerned.

Edit: POSSIBLE SPOILERS: Also, it's a story about a girl from the perspective of the grim reaper in WWII. She loses her mother and has to live with a foster family. She likes to read and steals books from I believe the Mayor's house. This is at a time when the Hitler Youth were burning books so I believe it was dangerous to have them. It's an interesting story, especially when her foster father repays an old debt by sheltering a Jew from the Nazis. There's a movie out, has been out about three years now I believe.
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on May 21, 2015
Told mainly from Death's perspective, The Book Thief provides an interesting alternative viewpoint to a pivotal point of the twentieth century and a time of vast destruction in the world. This book is a historical fiction novel that takes place mostly in a city near Munich, Germany during World War Two. The narrator has a sarcastic tone that presents the otherwise depressing and sad story with a humorous and enlightening twist. Even so, it is hard for the mood to generally be more than a depression and sense of great loss. The narrator alternates from speaking directly to the audience, to telling the story in third person, to showing things from the perspective of the main characters. The story revolves around Liesel Meminger, a nine year old German girl who lost her younger brother and was forced to live with foster parents because her mom could not afford to take care of her. Her foster parents are Hans and Rosa Hubermann. Liessel develops a special relationship with her neighbor Rudy Steiner. She also forges a secret friendship with a Jew named Max Vandenburg. This novel is intended for a more mature audience because of the war violence course language used throughout. Overall, this was an interesting read because it can evoke the readers' emotions and sympathy for the characters. The main theme seems to revolve around death and loss. The author does so well at displaying this that it is hard to realize that he is not part of the lost generation that followed the Great War. Although this was a long read, the story does tend to feel choppy at times. Personally, I had some trouble keeping up with the plot at the beginning of the book. If the author can make the overall story flow more fluidly then the novel would be so much better.
-Andy Phu
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on January 6, 2016
I read books constantly so I'm probably a fairly tough reviewer to impress. This book is well written, creatively rendered, and appears realistically described. Interestingly, the narrator is Death, and the story line isn't "happily ever after." After all, the setting is in Germany during the Second World War. Liesel, the main character, is quite engaging and one can't help becoming a bit attached to her and anxious to know what will happen to her next. This isn't technically a young adult (teen) book, though some would enjoy it. It's amazing to me how few Americans read much, and some teens today may not be particularly excited about tackling a book over 500 pages long.
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on April 16, 2014
I picked up this book after being enticed by its name. I usually only read books which I expect to be able to leave a mark on me, and The Book Thief certainly achieved that and more. It drilled a hole in my heart.
It is the story of a girl Leisel, who steals a book at a tender age when she does not even know how to read. It gives her comfort during a difficult time and she becomes attached to the alphabet. She grows up and becomes a lover of books, and continues to find peace in Nazi Germany by drowning herself in the written word-reading, stealing and story-telling, and sharing the comfort of books with others.
All of us have read about the Holocaust, but this was a very unique perspective-for one, it is from the angle of a non_Jewish girl, showing readers the sorrow many of these people felt as they witnessed the injustices and how many like Leisel s father risked their own lives to give shelter to those who were victims of Hitler's tyranny.
The other unique aspect of this beautiful novel was that it was narrated by death itself, even though the reader tends to forget about it at times, specially during the light_hearted moments. Despite the fact that most if us do not look forward to our demise, the way that death seems to not like what he does, but must do it, and the fact that he 'gently carries the souls in his arms' makes the inevitable seem peaceful.
The characters of Leisel, her father, her friend Rudy, and the refugee Max ,were all very well_developed and came to life with full force.There were so many powerful sentences in this novel, that it's hard to do justice by including only a few in this review. It is a book about the power of words and how they can appease (Leisel)and how they can destroy(Hitler)
Highly recommended for all ages.
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on April 7, 2014
Beautiful book, well written. Knew from the beginning I was going to like it. The start was so different. Death as narrator, speaking in cryptical outlines of words, using colors to describe his most memorable moments with the book thief...red, white, black. However, I was sleepy when I began THE BOOK THIEF the first time, and only made it through half of chapter one. When I picked it up again, I started over and continued. The story takes form by chapter two, then I couldn't stop reading. May vivid word pictures.

Rosa Hubermann...possessed the unique ability to aggravate almost anyone she ever met.

Papa's face...it traveled and wondered, but it disclosed no answers. Not yet.

"You stink," Mama would say..."like cigarettes and kerosene." Sitting in the water, she (Liesel) imagines the smell of it, mapping out on her papa's clothes. More than anything, it was the smell of friendship, and she could find it on herself too. Liesel loved that smell. She would sniff her arm and smile as the water cooled around her.

In the years to come, he would be a giver or bread, not a stealer -- proof again of the contradictory human being. So much good, so much evil. Just add water.

His fingers smelled of suitcase, metal, Mein Kampf, and survival.

"You said nothing....Not a 'goodbye.' Not a 'thank you.' Not a 'that's the most beautiful sight I've ever seen.' Nothing!" Certainly, she was a book thief, but that didn't mean she should have no manners at all. It didn't mean she couldn't be polite.

This book is worth your time. Read it.
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on April 22, 2014
And there it was, as the Kindle told me I was passing 95%, a rare and welcome surge of sadness, not because the book is coming to a sad ending, but simply because it is coming to an ending. The author earns the tears with his characters and storytelling, but the tears are also from the ache of a beloved journey reaching its destination.

The lyricism of Markus Zusak’s words, and the turns of his remarkable story, are hard to let go. Zusak pulls us gently into the story of Liesel Meminger and makes us love her, along with her adopted and extended family. The Book Thief, I suspect, will be remembered as one of the greatest works of early 21st-century literature, but if my suspicions are wrong, it will still be a book that lingers with me personally until its narrator comes to visit me.

I watched the wonderful film that has been made of The Book Thief after I’d finished about a quarter of the novel, and I was struck by how well the movie honors the book while ably transforming the story from one medium to another. Inevitably, the book is a deeper and richer experience, but the film is worth the investment of time as well.

The decision to buy and read this book came after a reader I respect said she would rank it with To Kill A Mockingbird among the best she’d ever read – the highest of praise. I knew little more about the story, and for those who want to discover the book as I did, I’ll leave it at that. Highly, highly recommended.
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on July 13, 2017
I downloaded this book to challenge my stepdaughter with her summer reading. I can honestly say that I was the one challenged. It took some pushing to get me reading, yet when I started, I couldn't put it down. What an amazing read!!!
No words can express the surge of emotions that came with this book. I lived with these characters, survived the stories (and the war) and have found an honest love of words, and stories, again!
The way the story was relayed was brilliant and well done. I laughed, I held my breath and I cried when it was over. This is definitely a book I want to reread for the first time!
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on March 27, 2015
The Book Thief follows Liesel Meminger, as she grows up in World War II Germany. Death will meet Liesel three different times throughout the course of her life. Liesel is put into foster care after being separated from her communist parents. She grows up in the Hubermann house, and at first she struggles to adjust, but she finds her pace, and makes a few friends, including the neighbor boy Rudy. Rudy seems to be a symbol of her childhood. He seemingly embodies childlike innocence, and mischief. Then comes Max. Max is a Jewish teen boy, who escapes a concentration camp, and comes to hide in the Hubermann’s basement. Liesel and Max have this friendship, where she helps him feel young, and he helps her to grow up a little. Part of their friendship is based on a love of books and words. Just as it seems that Liesel is starting to grow up a little and come into her own, her whole life is changed in one night, in the blink of an eye.
This book has such interesting prose. It’s not quite adult like, but it’s not child-like either. It’s like Liesel in that sense. She seems to be stuck between being a child and trying to grow up in a time that isn’t child friendly. The interesting prose is a strength of this book. The book is quite character heavy, and sometimes it’s easy to get a little confused as to who’s doing what with whom. The intersecting storylines have a tendency to make you question where the author is going, but if you keep along on the ride, you’ll find a heart wrenching, but incredibly well written story. It teaches you valuable lessons about friendships, different concepts of love and youth. A very sad, but enjoyable tale.
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on October 23, 2016
Such a great book and I believe one that couldn't fit more to the times then what our history seems to be headed back towards.

Zusak has an amazing way with his words, describing a painful story of life and many of the evils with in it. Some characters you wish you could just meet and embrace for trying to do the right thing; yet instead they get punished, persecuted and looked down upon because society had told everyone else it was the "right thing".

Read this book.
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on December 9, 2016
The Book Thief was written in a very new lliterary format but settled down into a great story that I could not put down. It was the best novel I have read that looks at Nazi Germany in an intimate way, from the viewpoint of those opposed to Hitler and who felt sympathy for the Jews.
I had followed that , somewhat , reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer , the theologian who attempted , with others , to kill Hitler. This was the best novel I have read that looks at a different Germany. It also presented a look at the rise of Hitler and why he rose so quickly with the power he had.
The story of the young girl and her adopted family and friends was a powerful one.
I look forward to reading more books by Zusak.
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