The Book Thief written by Markus Zusak is a book which at first, I didn’t want to read. Uninterested in war stories and books that get turned into overly popular movies as I may be, reading this has definitely begun to change my mind.
The Book Thief is about a nine year old girl named Liesel Meminger and her foster parents, Rosa and Hans Hubermann, during the time of the Second World War. Liesel’s parents are taken away to a concentration camp, so she grows up on Himmel Street stealing books, spending time playing football in the street, and dealing with the war any way she can, but with multiple things often stealing her attention away from it.
My friend bought me this book as a late birthday present, and the only things that really drove me to read it was the fact that another one of my friends really enjoyed it, and that the story was told by Death itself. The fact that the novel was narrated by Death made me both curious and compelled. This, I decided, was what made me read the book, but then other things in the book stepped in and caused me to be attached to the plot and characters.
The plot itself was both heart-wrenching and addictive. Every time something intriguing or heartbreaking would happen, I would always thirst for more. The book was difficult to put down and every page had something worth remembering on it. The things that Liesel Meminger and her foster parents did are the types of things I would have expected to find in almost all war stories. Them not going with the flow. And they didn’t, but I enjoyed it. Often I believe that stories involving the war are about the protagonist/s not doing whatever the higher-ups say, and I often predict that I will not enjoy it. (This fact contributes to me not wanting to read war stories.) However, I was wrong. This book was something I loved every second of, every single word was special.
Learning of the characters and all of their quirks was another thing that led me to be attached to the story. Every single character was special in their own unique ways which I won’t be forgetting any time soon. Each character was so different from another, yet all of them were extremely likeable. Some of my absolute favourite characters were Rudy Steiner, Max Vadenburg, and Arthur Berg. All of these characters were extremely loveable, in very different ways.
Rudy Steiner, the best friend of our main character, Liesel, was the kind of character somebody would love to pluck out of a work of fiction and have them in their life. A kind and caring person, fictional or real, is worth treasuring – and this, I realise, is what I have done. With “hair the colour of lemons” and an appetite that wouldn’t quit, Rudy Steiner is that kind of person anyone would enjoy knowing, he’s funny and brave and would do anything for someone he holds close and knowing him in a work of fiction is as good as anything.
Max Vadenburg is a Jewish fist-fighter with “feathery” hair who winds up hiding in our main character and her foster parent’s basement. He is a character with a personality which anyone would vow to protect after learning about it. Captivating and sweet, Max Vandenburg is someone who would do anything he could do for someone he loved, just like Rudy Steiner.
Arthur Berg is in a different place on the spectrum. Preferring to come off as hard, but inside is a big softie, Arthur Berg is a top food thief in this novel, and doesn’t appear for very long, sadly. Arthur Berg, someone who says they would leave you behind if you weren’t fast enough, but would come back for you if you did in fact fall behind, is someone who everyone would enjoy being friends with and would most likely enjoy reading about. Arthur Berg reminds me of one of my own friends, which made him doubly special to me.
The book was fantastic and I’m sure anyone who read it would enjoy it. Those I’m close with recommended it to me, and I do the same to you.