The Book Thief // In which I fangirl through GIFs

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Before I get started, I need to give a huge shout-out & "thank you" to Emily @ For the Bookish. She had an anniversary giveaway on her blog for a $15 dollar gift-card to Barnes & Noble (aka: Candy-land for the Bookish,) and I happened to enter. Aaaaannnddd... I ended up winning it and I spent an entire month trying to decide which book to buy. I finally chose this little gem... Thanks so much for the gift-card!!!

Well, I read it in about three days. And let me tell you... I enjoyed every single second of it!! I know everyone has been waiting for this review, so I'm going to take care of that today. I am going to touch on several points to give everyone a well-rounded idea about the book, and discuss what I liked and disliked. So without further ado, The Review. 


(Taken from Goodreads)

"It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau."


The first thing that stuck out at me when I began reading this book, was the Narrator. At first, I didn't understand who 'he' was, & assumed that it would be revealed later on... After a few pages though, it hit me! 

Liesel's story is narrated by Death.

Notice that I capitalized the word. It's because death is personified as a being in the story & 'he' plays a vital role in the plot of the book. I have never seen something like that in any other book. (Other than the Bible. If you read in Proverbs, you can catch Solomon writing of Wisdom, personified... It's a very powerful writing tool to get the point across!) At first, I wasn't really sure how I felt about it, but in the end, it really made a powerful statement about war & sadness. 


The characters in this book were really neat. They all had imperfections, but that just made me love them all the more! They were awesome!! (I'm only naming the main ones here.)

Leisel is the Book Thief... She steals books because she values words like no one else. She loves her foster father and mother dearly, as well as her best friend, Rudy, & her secret Jewish friend, Max. She has a strong spirit buried deep inside her nervous, frightened shell, and slowly begins to open up to others as her story progresses. 

Hans & Rosa Hubermann are her foster parents... Rosa is a tough, harsh, frugal woman, but she means well. She instills a toughness in Leisel (and several German insults) that helps her to get along in life & she does her best to show her love through discipline. Hans is gentle, quiet, encouraging, and takes a special place in Liesel's heart. He helps her learn to read, in spite of his lack of a decent education & teaches her to find the beauty in little things, but has difficulty saying no.

Rudy Stiener is her best friend... He is confident, smart-alacky, has a crazy obsession with Jesse Owens, and is enamored with Leisel. They do everything together from stealing food to playing soccer. He likes her & every time he helps Leisel, he asks her for a kiss, to which she says: "Never in a thousand years, you (*insert German insult*)"

Max Vandenburg is the secret Jewish friend... He is connected to the Hubermanns, but you don't know how until later in the tale. He is quiet, awkward, sensitive, & heartbroken. He and Leisel find that they are kindred spirits & they give each other gifts of friendship, safety, & words. 

I loved the characters, okay?


It's a tale about war, but it is so much more than that!! It's about life, death, poverty, riches, stealing, giving, love, hate, ugliness, beauty... And books.

The part of the tale that made the biggest impression on me was the fact that the whole thing takes place in Germany. That might not sound like a big deal, but I felt like it was great! 

Most people think of WWII in terms of "all Germans were bad, all Americans were good, and the Jews were the only people who suffered." But in reality, that wasn't the case. Yes, Hitler was German & he lead the nation of Germany into war. But not every German was on board with his decision. Not every German hated Jews. 

Generalizations easily gloss over the fact that while the leader of a nation makes a choice, not everyone likes it or wants to comply. I think that was why I loved this book so much. It broke out of that mindset and tapped in to a beautiful concept: even in war, everyone is an individual!


The layout did confuse me for a while. In the middle of reading, German words are used. And instead of putting a footnote at the bottom of the page, like most books do, the definition appears right in the center of the page, directly after the word is said. 

This bugged me a little bit, but once you read the entirety of the book, this mode of explanation makes sense. 

(*Tiny Spoiler*)

-- When Leisel receives the dictionary, that was when I realized that I was reading the definitions the way she would!! It was kinda cool when I finally caught on. 

It's the little things, okay? 

(*End of Tiny Spoiler*)


The imagery in this story was wonderful. Leisel's way of describing things was refreshing, because it was through the unsophisticated eyes of a youth. In a way, it reminded me of To Kill A Mockingbird, because of the innocent child-like interpretation. 

I will say that the language in this book was rather rough... There were curse-words scattered throughout the entire thing; and though most were in German, you still get the gist of what they all mean. I don't like foul-mouths, but I do believe that in this case it gave a historically accurate representation of the time & setting. 

Most of the story takes place in a bad part of town, during WWII, with a bunch of poor people who are angry at their situation in life. Of course there would be some rough words coming from somewhere

Like I said, I don't like foul language, so that was my biggest gripe about the book as a whole. But, it felt very historically accurate.


I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I thoroughly enjoyed it, I gleaned some valuable lessons from it, and it made an everlasting impression on me. It's not one of those books that you can read & 'just move on' afterwards. It really makes you think about your perspective on life, war, and words

I would not recommend this to someone under the age of 13. (Mainly for the language, innuendoes, dealing with death, and a few minor nit-picky moments...) 

I would, however, recommend this book to someone who is in search of a beautiful and accurate work of Historical Fiction. This was an extremely satisfying read & it holds a special place in my heart. <3

I hope you all enjoyed this review!! Let me know in the comments how you felt about the book! Do you want to read it now? Give me some more titles for other books that are similar to this one. 

Currently Reading: Going Solo by Roald Dahl
Just finished: Boy by Roald Dahl
Listening to: "Somewhere In the Middle" by Casting Crowns

H.M. Wilson


  1. I read this book last year or the year before and had a really similar experience to yours. I really enjoyed the book and had that "wait, what? Death is narrating this?!" I don't exactly remember the plot, but I remember some really heart-breakingly lovely moments in it.

    Such a great read! I'll have to check out his other books!

    1. Yeah, that one bit with the narrator kinda weirded me out for a while, but it did make a huge impact on the storyline... :) Oh, the heart-wrenching beauty of a sad tale!!!!! lol! XD

      I haven't read his other books, but I read a snippet of a chapter from "I Am The Messenger", which I didn't finish... Lemme know if you check any of them out & what you thought of them!! :D

  2. Gahhh! This book! It kill my soul then burned it and danced on the ashes. It took me weeks to recover!
    That is all.
    Great review! :)

    1. I KNOW, RIGHT??? XP I stared into space, unsure what to do with the rest of my life... ;)

      Thanks for reading! <3

  3. I LOVE THIS BOOK. I pretty much had a mental break down in the middle of class when I finished it. I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

    1. Wasn't it painfully great?? XD It's crazy that something that makes you so unbelievably sad can become a favorite!! <3

  4. I'm so glad you liked The Book Thief, Hannah! It's one of my very favorite books. You did such a good job reviewing it.

    1. Thanks, Hannah! :) I thoroughly enjoyed it!! <3


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