Book: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Publisher/Year: Alfred A. Knopf/2006
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ – above average
Who’s going to be in the movie?
Geoffrey Rush (Captain Barbossa from Pirates of the Caribbean, The King’s Speech)
Emily Watson (War Horse, Anna Karenina)
What’s it about?
Liesel is a foster child in 1939 Nazi Germany. Her and her foster parents (Rush and Watson) live in essential poverty just outside of Munich. Liesel is hesitant to open up to her foster parents when she first moves in and keeps her distance from them until her father, Hans, begins to teach Liesel how to read. Liesel lives for books (YES. We have common ground!). But since her family is dirt poor, she steals them. She gets her joy not only from reading and absorbing her books, but from stealing. In such a downtrodden and ominous time, Liesel finds her solace in stealing the things that she loves the most.
What did you think?
This is a weird one for me to review because I actually read the end several months after I read the first three-quarters of the book. I checked it out from the library, was unable to finish in my allotted time (because it’s long and I still had school and work), returned it and requested it again. But there was a really long wait list and when it was available for me to pick it up, I was home for break and unable to check it out of the library. So, I requested it again and waited for my turn one more time. By the time I was able to check it out again about four months had passed since I read it last. So, it was hard getting back into the story after such a long time between readings.
Regardless of all that I still think it was only okay. It’s really long and takes a really long time to get good. A majority of the book was really tedious reading. I liked the characters, Leisel and her best friend Rudy are actually awesome, but even so I was bored. If I like a book, there’s no way I would take longer than the amount of time the library allows me to check out a book. And there’s even less of a chance that I would wait months before reading the end of it. The fact that I did wait such a long time before finishing, without being phased, says a lot about The Book Thief.
But, the end of the book was so much better than the beginning (and middle). Even though it took me some time to get back into the story, once I did I read it much faster than the rest of the book. In the beginning it kind of drags on but once it gets good, it gets really good. I think that I would have liked it even more if I didn’t take such a long break from reading. Even though I did get back into the story, I still lost some of the connection I had with the characters and wasn’t as emotionally invested as I probably would’ve been if I read the book straight through.
Should I read it?
It’s really long and only gets good at the end — so it’s an investment. The reward won’t be worth the effort for everyone. But if you want to give it a go you can buy a copy from Thriftbooks or Amazon.