This review was written by Stephanie Allen as part of Ian Douglas’s Writing Reviews course at NWS, which she attended in the summer of 2012.
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak (2007)
‘I could introduce myself properly; but that’s not necessary. You’ll meet me soon enough.’
Set in 1939 Nazi Germany, Death narrates the story of Liesel Meminger; a young girl whose life has been turned upside down by the devastation of war. After being taken in by the Hubermanns and befriending a boy called Rudi, Liesel turns to books to help her escape the realities of conflict. But her newly established life is threatened by the arrival of the vulnerable Jew Max Vandenburg, in hiding from the Nazi authorities. As Liesel struggles with the dangers of war, she must also cope with loss, love, friendship and adolescence…all the while watched by another.
Zusak has created an engaging and heart-warming novel, despite its all too familiar historical context. With an episodic style of flashbacks and memories the novel takes its readers on an emotional and gripping journey, directed by the strangely likeable and often amusing commentaries of Death. The younger characters provide starkly honest outlooks, whilst the adult characters are no less engaging; the warm appeal of Hans Hubermann seems to resonate through every page. As relationships build, a touching suggestion of hope is offered amidst the chaos of war.
With the ongoing motif of reading and escape, Zusak’s novel offers a story appealing to both older teens and adults providing likeable characters who try to restore some faith in humanity, whilst the sarcastic and often predictive voice of Death prevents the book from becoming too naïve.
About Stephanie Allen
A student at Nottingham University, I am pursuing a career in journalism – the perfect step for an individual who loves writing and loves news! I currently write for The Huffington Post and The National Student as well as presenting both a news and entertainment show on award-winning student radio URN.
My creativity is also unleashed on my personal blog.
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