A Review: Mark Zusak's The Book Thief
Liesel Meminger, an orphan, witnesses the death of her young brother while being taken to reside with Hubermann family by her biological mother. Liesel is ever changed by this event, and learns the pain of suffering and loss at a very early age. Once acclimated to life with Rosa and Hans Hubermann, Liesel meets Rudy, her best friend and rival. The narrative paints the town with characters that reside alongside Liesel and her family throughout the progression of the war.
I thought, like so many others, that the use of death as the narrator was neither contrived nor lacking. How poignant is the fact that death is the most prevalent figure in such times? Furthermore, the fact that the novel was written to portray the lives of the Germans who so feared for their own lives was a new reading experience for me. There's not much I can say that numerous other reviewers haven't already stated. I've seen arguments that blame Zusak for simplifying the subject matter and the horrific crimes of the Nazi party. However, I feel that the novel never existed to tackle a huge task of explaining the intricacies of Hitler's rise to power and the fraility of the German nation at this time. No, Zusak is using the text to explain the power of language and human communication. Since this is a children's novel, I hope readers understand that the subject matter has been hashed out in more palatable language, while also encouraging young readers to embark on further investigation of this time period.
The story evokes sympathy and heartache for the individuals that suffered. It teaches compassion while exploring the darkest sides of the human condition. I feel that the novel hopes to convince readers of the beauty of language and the power of words.
I feel the writing itself was not as clear and eloquent as I had imagined it would be after reviewing so many reviews. The story, however, was a complete success. It might not be one of my favorite reads of all time, but I certainly enjoyed it and would recommend it to fellow bookworms.
Note: Book three of the Classics Challenge. (assumed 21st century classic)