The Book Thief is a story of a young girl in WWII Germany, narrated by Death. It had the potential to be very hokey. But it wasn’t.
Luckily Death is a silent onlooker passing through as he performs his duties. We don’t hear too much about Death. We hear about the girl.
And the girl is very interesting. While somewhat two dimensional due to an overabundance of stoicism, Liesel does something in this book that I don’t see often. She brings the words to life.
So often when reading novels, the focus is entirely on the story. With Liesel’s love of books and words, and the writings from the Jew in the basement, the words themselves become a character in the story.
I loved the characters in the story. I loved that Death will tell you exactly what is going to happen to those characters way too early in the plot line, but that actually doesn’t ruin the plot. I love the literary risks that Zusak takes.
This is a young adult novel meant for grades 9 and above. I don’t recommend this book for younger ages, even for capable readers. There is a lot of death in the novel. There is also a lot of suffering. A certain level of maturity is needed more than reading level.