The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

The blurb on the book reads:  “1939: Nazi Germany.  The country is holding its breath.  Death has never been busier.”

I think this book had tried to be introduced to my book club several times, and it kept getting bounced.

I personally wasn’t really putting my weight behind it to get it into book club either.  There was just something about the book that put me off reading it.  It might have been the fanfare regarding it – so many reviews had said it was a brilliant book and and and .. I started to feel pressure that this book was all hype and wow, but what if I read it and I did not like it.

The Life of Pi is my Achilles’ heel – that book strikes the fear of reading in to me.  I totally freeze when ever I pick it up and can’t get past chapter three.  The thing does not make sense, so I live in fear that there are more books out there that I might be too mentally slow to understand.

Rest assured, this is not one of those.  I took this book along with me when we did the Whale Trail earlier this year and I flew through this book in just over a day – it was gripping and brilliant.  At a certain point, I put it down as I did not want to it end.

The basic story is that Liesel, a nine year old girl is living with a foster family in Himmel Street.  It is in the midst of Nazi Germany.  You are either a Nazi supporter or find yourself off on a fully-paid holiday camp in Poland.

You get the sense that Liesel’s parents ticked the wrong block when being asked if they were communists and sadly disappeared from the story before even making an appearance.  So she ends up with the Hans and Rosa Hubermann – who seem to be Germans, but not quite Nazis.

Liesel is in this small town, pretty much everyone is dirt poor.  She is thrust into this family who are a bit strange but clearly love her, and express it in a variety of ways.

Liezel loves books and is not above a little stealing to get them.  It is one of those stories where what happens is not as important as how it makes you feel when it is happening.  The characters and how they react to an incident is what knits this story together.

I cried like a five year old when this book was finished, not only because it is so heart-wrenchingly sad, but because the characters and their emotions are so honest.  The story is so bitterly sweet it will stay with you long after you have closed this book and wiped your nose on your sleeve.

The magic of this story is quite simply the power of words to change people’s lives.  It is packed with grueling episodes of human cruelty and kindness, and the story is simple and will stay with you long after the tears have dried.

I really enjoyed this one.

Leave a comment


  1. a definitely unforgettable book for me. see my post

    this book gave me so much inspiration.

  2. p.s. do you mind if I direct our blog ( to your review?

  3. I loved this book!

  4. Now this one I really want to read. Have you read “People of the book” by Geraldine Brooks? Truly brilliant.


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