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Reviews From a Bookworm: The Book Thief

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There comes a time in every book reader’s life when they find a perfect book that changes everything. Drenched in emotion and a fantastic writing style, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak was one such book for me.

Modern authors have started to create books with a common algorithm in mind. A troubled teen meets some fate that makes them special and unlike normal humans. These kinds of novels blend with each other and never really stand out amongst the crowd as special. Often, the main character is either a damsel in distress or a troubled teen. There’s also the famous “chosen one” that seems to be an author’s go-to for a character idea.

However, The Book Thief is no such book. In this novel, the narrator is Death, which gives an interesting perspective that helps this story stand out. The main character is a normal German girl in Nazi Germany, named Liesel. Death starts off this story, and he ends it, though he is never cruel nor menacing. He is just himself, an entity left to forever pick up the souls of humans he is constantly puzzled by. At a time when he is busiest, during the morbid times of World War II and the Holocaust, is when he stumbles upon the story of Liesel. Death first sees Liesel when he picks up her brother on a train to Molching, Germany. He thought it would be the last time he saw the girl, until her time came of course. He was wrong.

When Liesel arrives on Himmel street in Molching, she is met by her new foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann. Rosa is a loud and angry older woman who takes up calling Liesel rude German explicatives as her new hobby. Hans on the other hand, is a gentle painter who Liesel adores instantly. Liesel eventually tells Hans her darkest secret; she can’t read. That is when her journey of learning to read begins, and her love of books and words develops.

Everything seems fine, almost perfect, until a strange man comes to the Huberman’s house in the middle of the night, shaking up the tranquil peace on Himmel street. My heart is broken and re-mended every time I read this tragic and wonderful book. Having Death as a narrator gives a unique point of view to the story that makes this book stand out against the many I have previously read. The Book Thief is a story full of heartache and bliss, as you follow the journey of Liesel and her attempt at surviving in the heart of Nazi Germany. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a superbly written story, and a distinct Holocaust story.

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