Monday 24 September 2012

Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I usually feel sorry for books that have a lot of hype and love surrounding them because I always seem to be the one person who sticks out and either hates the book completely or deems it as "nothing special". The Book Thief is one book that I desperately didn't want to read, just because I was afraid that my insanely weird brain wouldn't like an obviously amazing book. But alas, my book club at school decides that they'd make the choice for me because tada! Next book = The Book Thief. 


Now they gave me the summer to read the book so you'd think that I'd be a bit happier, y'know? But no, this was my train of thought: 

"Okay, this just keeps getting better. The whole world is out to get me. Seriously. WHY?! First they want to make me an even more of a freak by making me read a book that should love, but will probably hate. And as an added bonus, they're giving me a summer to read this. 6 weeks. 6 long weeks. GREAT."

That probably doesn't make sense, does it? The thing is once I don't like summer reading. Wait no, I like summer reading where I pick up a book randomly when I feel like reading. I like summer reading when I don't feel pressured into reading. But SET summer reading? Hell no. I feel like it's a task I have to tick off but can't be bothered to start, it's agitating and annoying so I always leave summer reading to the last minute, when it doesn't feel I'm reading. In the summer. As work. (? That is such a strange paragraph, please feel free to ignore it.) 

I finally started to actually read The Book Thief after I spent a lot of time staring at the oh-so-pretty cover and I'd taken some random photos with it.

(I was feeling strangely art-y with my pretty necklace)

I'll be honest and say that I didn't fall in love straight away when I started, to be even more honest, I'd have to say that it actually took me a couple of chapters for me to slowly, but surely love this book. It took me a couple of chapters to truly appreciate the amazing storytelling by Death Zusak. If I could marry a book and not be locked away in an asylum, I'd marry this one (actually, I might just risk the asylum for this book - the crazy things you do for love, I guess). 

There's just something so clever and enthralling about this book. 

You probably don't know this but I love history and I love understanding people or trying to understand people. The thing about understanding people in the past is that it's so much harder to wrap your head around ideas that you now find archaic, weird and... insane. In The Book Thief, I understood people that in the past I'm sorry to say, I would have dismissed as horrid, cruel and just, disgraceful. Even though this book talks mostly of only Liesel's (main character!) little world, her world is a microcosm to what was going on everywhere else. The people in her little world are the types of people who would have lived in Nazi Germany. 

Although Death (the narrator - I know, crazy, right?!) discloses many events in the book before they actually occur, I'd rather not ruin the book for you. 

Read the book with an open mind, I'm sure there's something in The Book Thief that will make you incredibly happy that you read it. The Book Thief seems to have it all; the historical backdrop for the history lovers, the romance for the soft-hearted, the drama, the humour, the sarcasm, the originality, the tragedy... must I go on? 

PS. You might cry. A lot. 

Music choice:  One of the main things that stood out for me in this novel is the amazing bravery of all the characters. The most memorable scene is probably the part in which Liesel's adopted father acts on impulse and gives the bread to the dying Jewish man, although it was a foolish thing to do in the circumstances, it was definitely brave and I can only dream of ever being that courageous. My music choice is, because of this, is about wanting to be brave - One More by Superchick


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