The Book Thief has been at the top of my to-read list since I first examined its back cover in high school. The premise was right up my ally (Seriously. It doesn’t get much better than a World War II historical fiction about a girl who loves to read.) On a Christmas shopping trip with my grandparents several years ago, I bought the book and planned to read it as soon as I finished whatever book I had at the time. But life – or at least other books – always got in the way. Still, anytime someone brought up The Book Thief my heart smiled.
In short, I felt so confident that I would fall in love with The Book Thief that I never actually got around to reading it for years.
I fully realize how ridiculous this is, and I promise you it will NEVER happen again.
I will never let it happen again because I now know that The Book Thief is everything I thought it would be and more. But now, rather than because of a semi-vague hunch based on a back cover, I know how great it is from personal reading experience.
Here is an insider look at what my personal reading experience was like:
Unfortunately, there was no actual wine around when I was finishing the book. I did, however, have a small plastic cup with a few sips of Coca-Cola in it courtesy of Delta Airlines. Like Will Ferrell, I was bouncing around a lot because our plane back from D.C. kept hitting turbulence. I was too engrossed in my book to notice. Much.
A very brief summary: The Book Thief is about a young German girl growing up during the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party and the beginning of World War II. Liesel is illiterate at the start of the book but develops a passion for words. Her life becomes entwined with other characters who are now among my all time favorite characters in literature. Some of my favorites are her loyal and hilarious best friend, Rudy, and her foster father.
What I loved: The characters. Even the characters I didn’t like *cough Nazis* felt so real. I didn’t have a problem believing any action or emotion, which is something I admire in a book. I’ve read a lot of books that made it their mission to make me cry, and even though I didn’t hate them, it was nice to find a book that managed to be emotionally powerful but not contrived.
Also, the book is narrated by Death. If you’re someone who has trouble with nontraditional types of narration, I recommend giving yourself a few chapters to get used to the voice. If you’re like me, you might weirdly start to love it. I generally like unique narrators anyway so I thought it was a great touch from the first page.
What I didn’t love: Nothing honestly. Death occasionally gives spoilers, so that was a little weird to get used to.
For readers who: Enjoy books that pull authentically at just about every heart string.
Not for readers who: Prefer books with easy endings. No spoilers, but it is a book about World War II.
Until the next book!