Saturday, October 31, 2015

Review: The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

The Book ThiefTitle: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Publication Date: March 14, 2006
Genre: Historical Fiction

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel 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 before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul. -Goodreads

5 Stars

“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.” 

Warning: this will probably read less as a review and more as a love letter...of sorts.

I read this book three years ago, and to this day, The Book Thief still haunts me, silently but steadily remaining in the back of my mind. Three years ago, it was almost impossible for me to write a review for this novel, and it is unbearably difficult for me to muster up the words still.

It's college application season, and because of this, I have been reminiscing on the past few years; what I've accomplished, what has affected me to this day, and what I did that was notable. Well, as much as what a high schooler does that can be considered notable. Despite my recent inactivity, one of the things which I consider an extremely noteworthy feat was the start of this book blog. I talk about this quite a lot in my college applications, and it's not so much to brag as it is to have this indescribable passion for a hobby that you just want to gush on and on to every person you meet about it.

Why am I bringing this up? Well, upon reading The Book Thief in the beginning of freshman year, I realized something that upon introspection was pretty obvious for years prior: I freaking loved reading. And I didn't love it for the entertainment value, nor for the emotional aspect, but for the sheer reason of loving words and the way they are strung together to create sentences to chapters to full length novels and, if well-written, can leave varying depths of imprints on one's memory.

In short, The Book Thief was one of the main reasons I decided to start this book blog, and as hard as it is for me to maintain motivation (it's one of my main flaws) I still do not regret starting this book blog for the bloggers I've befriended and the experiences I've been through.

Honestly, I had completely forgotten how compelling Zusak's writing is until I had cracked open the first page. It's probably one of the most distinct writing styles I've encountered in all the books I have read, and that truly is saying something. Not only that, but the amount of emotion wrought into each word left me a step short of overwhelmed, and not in a bad way.

I'm not quite sure why I've waited so long to reread this favorite of mine. Perhaps I feared it would be a bit of a disappointment after reading it again, and I didn't want to shatter the pedastal I had put it on all these years. Even so, I can state with confidence that The Book Thief became better the second time around--if such a thing is even possible--and that I was able to appreciate the characters and the history and the worldbuilding more than the initial reading.

As you can probably tell, the ending shocked me just as much as reading it the first time around. I hate the emotional trance this book puts me under, but at the same time, isn't that the reason why it is at the top of my favorites list?

No comments:

Post a Comment