Book Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

“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. . . .” – Random House Books

A gripping and haunting novel, The Book Thief is set in a small German town during the midnight darkness of World War II. This story paints a picture of the life of the 9 year old German girl, Leisel Meminger.

You read as she finds a home, falls in love with her foster parents, makes friends, and watches helplessly as the worlds fall apart around her. As she grows, you grow (both in age and maturity). You watch Liesel struggle, fight and learn. You see loyalty and love. You see the goodness off people despite the roughness of their edges. You see that what is on the surface is not always the truth deep down, below the surface. As you read, you see the goodness in the heart of a child that grows in the center of one of the darkest valleys in modern human history.

During my college years, I worked with a lady at the MidAmerica Nazarene University Library. This co-worker spent much of her professional career as a high school librarian. She told me that the reason she chose to work with books, loves books, and encourages the reading of books is that books teach children and adults values and morals. Story teaches them what goodness, and bravery look like when lived out. Books, with the right message, will show us what humans are capable of.

The Book Thief is one such book. If you have not read this book- make it your next read. You will not be disappointed and you will be better for the time invested in Zusak’s novel.


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