Thursday 19 September 2013

Review on 'The Book Thief'

In 1939 Nazi Germany, nine year old Liesel Meminger is forced to live with a foster family. She is at first reluctant, but grows to love her foster parents. However, after finding a book left in the snow, a thirst for knowledge causes Liesel to want more, resulting in her nickname of “The Book Thief.” As the second world war approaches, and a Jewish fist fighter comes into her life, Liesel must decide between loyalty to the F├╝hrer , or loyalty to the Jew who now resides in her basement. One thing that Liesel does not bet on is that one day a certain book will save her life.

I don’t even know where to start with this book there’s so much I want to talk about that I could write a whole essay on all the different themes but I will try to keep it as brief as possible. The first thing that I want to point out is that this book is narrated by death. As the stereotypical idea of death is a long, black hooded figure with a scythe, it is interesting that in this book we are actually able to sympathize with death. He has a pretty crappy job having to be the one to take souls away from bodies after a person dies but hey someone has to do it right? But overall Death hates that he has to do this and particularly feels sad about taking away the souls of children. We see that he has his own thoughts and feelings, and can be particularly drawn to the lives of individuals, such as Liesel. Moving on from Death, there are other important themes, a few of them being friendship, bravery, forgiveness, determination and helping those in need, even if it means going against the rules. Like I said I could go into each of these themes in detail but ain’t no one got time to read that. However I must talk about the narrative devices used. I've already mentioned the fact that the novel is narrated by Death. I found it interesting that the reason Death knows Liesel's story is not by creepily stalking her, but by reading the book that she had wrote about her life. I thought this was a great way to personify Death, as reading is a very human thing to do, and the fact that Death made time in his busy schedule to read her story makes Death seem a little less scary. I must also mention the tiny details, such as the text of Mein Kampf bleeding through the painted pages in Max’ stories. I apologize for the long review but I was just amazed by this book and it is one of the best stories I have read this year. I highly recommend it as it is one of those books that has the ability to change your life and your way of perceiving the world. I am now highly looking forward to the movie adaptation and hope that it does the book justice.

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