***This discussion contains MAJOR SPOILERS***
If you have not read this book, and want to read a spoiler free discussion click here!!
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
Rating: 5/5 Doughnuts
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.
SPOILER ALERT – there are so many spoilers ahead! Consider yourself warned! Let’s go ahead and get into the discussion!!
I want this post to be more of a discussion than a review because if you have already read this book you don’t need me to tell you how amazing it is. If you’ve already read this book, I’m pretty sure you’ve been moved; you’ve laughed, you’ve certainly cried, you’ve had your heart grow immensely with love for these characters, and then you’ve had your heart shattered into a million pieces as they left you. At least this is how I feel! There are so many amazing things to discuss about this book, and so many emotions to get out, so let’s talk about all of it!
Our Wonderful Narrator
“Even death has a heart” Markus Zusak The Book Thief.
I absolutely loved Death as the narrator. I went into this book knowing it was set in Germany during World War II, so I knew there was obviously going to be a lot of death in this story. That in and of itself is an emotional topic, but having Death personified, and envisioning him showing up in battle or in a concentration camp and taking the souls from the bodies just made the World War II setting that much more impactful for me. Zusak did a wonderful job of describing things in a way that was hard for me not to imagine that I was there with Death, experiencing everything he did, which made this story so good, but so emotional!
I absolutely loved the beginning of each section of the book where Death mentioned what things/people/situations would make an appearance in the section. I found this incredibly charming; the way Death narrated in general was incredibly charming. I honestly just fell in love with Death! The way he cared about Liesel, and Rudy, and everyone else just made my heart grow three sizes!
“He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It’s his only detriment. He steps on my heart, He makes me cry.” Markus Zusak The Book Thief.
When Death said this about Rudy, I about died! Speaking of, let’s talk about Rudy.
This boy broke my heart in the best way! He was so. Feaking. Lovely! Rudy loved Leisel so much, and their friendship was way too cute! He jumped into the freezing water to save her book, I mean come on! I love Rudy, and when Liesel found his body and finally kissed him… I lost it!
“… And the boy whose hair will remain the color of lemons forever” Markus Zusak The Book Thief
Although Death spoiled it for us earlier in the book that Rudy was going to die, I still WAS NOT READY! Even If I read this book over and over again, I don’t think I’ll ever be ready!
“He must have longed for it so much. He must have loved her so incredibly hard. So hard that he would never ask for her lips again and would go to his grave without them.” Markus Zusak The Book Thief a
Let’s all take a minute to weep for the sweetest love that just didn’t get a chance.
Okay grab your tissues, because this is only getting worse… Let’s talk about the Hubermann’s!
“Make no mistake, the woman had a heart. She had a bigger one than people would think. There was a lot in it, stored up, high in miles of hidden shelving.” Markus Zusak The Book Thief.
I love Rosa Hubermann! She was strong, opinionated, loving, and kind. I love how she welcomed Max with no questions! I love how she went to Liesel’s school and pretended to yell at her to tell her Max woke up. My heart broke when she would sit on the bed holding Hans’ accordion. Although I found it very fitting, my heart broke even more when Death took her mid-snore.
This man is everything! While I was reading this book, the pure mention of his name brought a smile to my face. He was such an amazing father to Liesel! And just a good person in general. It broke my heart when he gave the Jewish man the bread, and they both got whipped, Max had to leave, and he got sent to the war. I think this was really the turning point in the book for me where I started to get truly scared. I was scared for what was going to happen to Max, and that Hans wouldn’t make it home from the war. Obviously he did, but not for long. When they found Liesel after the bomb and she was screaming for papa, my heart was shattered! Again Death had already spoiled for us that everyone was going to die while she was in the basement writing her book, but I still WASN’t READY! Hans was just such a beautiful human, and I’m truly glad that the Hubermann’s were the ones to adopt Liesel! She needed people like them, and they needed her.
Hans Hubermann you are a beautiful soul!
“His soul sat up. It met me.Those kinds of souls always do – the best ones. The ones who rise up and say, ‘I know who you are and I am ready. Not that I want to go of course, but I will come’.Those souls are always light because more of them have been put out………… Lisel. His soul whispered it as I carried him.” Markus Zusak The Book Thief
Oh Max!! My heart continuously broke for Max! What he had been through, what he was going through is something no one should have to go through! It is such a painful part of our history. Max was so strong and so sweet! I loved that the Hubermanns took him in. He needed them, he needed Liesel! She was his light in a very dark time.
“Often I wish this would all be over, Liesel, but then somehow you do something like walk down the basement steps with a snowman in your hands” Markus Zusak The Book Thief
I loved their friendship! I loved what they meant to each other! I loved how they all became a family! It broke my heart when he left, and I was so terrified of what would happen to him! But when he walked into the Steiner’s shop my heart exploded out of my chest! I am so happy he survived, and they reunited! This moment was everything!!
“One was a book thief. The other stole the sky.” Markus Zusak The Book Thief
I have to talk about Ilsa because she supported Liesel’s book thieving addiction, and she literally saved Liesel’s life. By giving Liesel the little black book, and encouraging her to write her own story, she gave Liesel a reason to be in the basement the night of the bomb. I am forever thankful to Ilsa Hermann for saving my favorite little bookworm!
This girl is one of my favorite main characters of all time. She is a beautiful little human! She’s strong, smart, funny, loving, accepting, and hands down the greatest bookworm ever. I could go on and on about Liesel, but this discussion is long enough! She impacted everyone’s life in such a huge way, even Death’s. Her story surely impacted me! I’m so happy to have read about Liesel Meminger! Though she lost so much, she continued to be a light and hope for others. I’m so glad that she lived a long and happy life! I absolutely love that Death kept her book, and gave it to her upon her passing.
“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.” Markus Zusak The Book Thief
This book was so beautiful and heartbreakingly lovely! I’m so glad that I read it! Thank you all SOOO much for reading this long discussion! There were so many things about this book I wanted to talk about, and I appreciate you reading them all! Let me know your thoughts on this book! I’d love to talk even more about it in the comments with you all!