I often re-read books that I love, but I rarely re-read them so quickly in succession. I finished this, and promptly started reading it the next week aloud, to my husband. I appreciated the opportunity for that second read. Those of you who read books quickly know that sometimes your mind can go so swiftly over the words that they are not absorbed with the full impact they might be from a more careful reading. Zusak’s style, and the simple elegance of his prose became even more clearly powerful to me during that second reading.
Liesel Meminger is the book thief. Without a true understanding of the power of words, she steals her first book at her little brother’s graveside. Her relocation during World War II to the foster home of Hans and Rosa Hubermann begins Liesel’s journey that at times made me laugh and more often made me cry. She makes friends on her poor street in Molching and learns a good deal about loyalty, loss, and the keeping of secrets. She also perfects the art of stealing books. As the world around her explodes in only the way that only a war ravaged country can, Liesel clings to words and comes to know their strength.
Zusak is a clever and cautious writer. There are no over florid descriptions. Our narrator for the novel is Death, and we see a war and a small girl through his eyes. The arcs within the novel are also nothing short of brilliant. We see Leisel and her relationship with Papa and Mama, her relationship with Max, her relationship with Rudy Steiner, her relationship with the mayor’s wife, and her relationship with death. There are scenes within this book that were so poignant. A great book stays with you long after you have finished reading and colors your thoughts on various subjects. The Book Thief is a great book.