Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Review - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

by Markus Zusak

I really like reading books before watching the film adaptation. I like to be able to form ideas about situations and characters in my head first before being shown on a screen. I have also found that some books are absolutely murdered when turned into a film so I like to discover them in the way the author intended first. I hadn't heard much about this book before, I'd heard the title but I knew nothing of the story. When I heard that it was being turned into a film I looked it up on Amazon, read the blurb and wondered why the hell I hadn't read it yet. So I bought it. I read it. I LOVED it.

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.
It's a small story, about:
a girl
an accordionist
some fanatical Germans
a Jewish fist fighter
and quite a lot of thievery.

I wouldn't say that I enjoy reading books about the Holocaust and World War II but I do find them interesting and I have read quite a few, fiction and non-fiction, this one is so different! At first I didn't like that the story is narrated by death. I thought that it was quite impersonal and the writing style took a little while to get used to. After a couple of chapters however, I was hooked. It was also a bit annoying that you knew many of the main storylines, and deaths, in advance. I think that it took some of the shock factor away from the book but it was still brilliant.

The characters, the non-Nazi ones, are loveable and really burrow into your heart. I cared about each and every one of them. Liesel was sweet and caring, Rudy was chilvalrous and daring, Papa was everything a papa should be, I loved mama's brash exterior and the fact that she loved her family so much, Max was poetic and scared. I loved them.

I liked the fact that there were no 'Hollywood' moments. There were a few times I expected something to happen in a certain way, the predictable, happily ever after way, but it didn't. I felt like it represented real life pretty accurately. Lives were saved by pure coincidence and lives were taken too. I don't want to say too much because I don't want to ruin such a wonderful book for someone who hasn't read it yet.

I was in the hairdressers when I finished the book. I knew that I was going to need a good cry at the end of it and that I should stop reading but I just couldn't. I also couldn't let all my emotions out whilst having a wash, cut and blowdry without risking looking like a totally crazy person. So I held them all in, I only let a tear or two escape as I read one of the most distressing endings to a book ever. I held it in all the way home and then I lay on my bed, re-read the last chapter and had a bloody good cry. God, that makes me sound pretty mental. But the book was just so emotive! And good!

I am so looking forward to seeing the film now, I hope that it does the book justice and they don't change it too much! If you haven't read it yet I would definitely recommend it. It's one of the best books I've ever read and it will be one of those books that I will read many more times. Five stars (5*).

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I adore this book. It's in my top 10, ever. I don't know how you held your emotions in when you read the end; I was a mess. It'll be interesting to see how the film adaptation is, I just don't know how they will do it, as half the value of the book was the beautiful, poetic way that it was written. Still, I'm looking forward to it!