Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief


Markus Zusak

Published in 2005, Pages: 584, Amazon India Price: Rs. 211

“A small fact:
You are going to die….does this worry you?”

The Book Thief is set in 1939, Nazi Germany. There are a lot of books written about the war and holocaust but only a few of them from a view point of a German. Not all of them hated Jews and wanted a war. They were also a victim.I won’t call it a book about war for its so much more.


“It’s 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”

The most amazing part about this book is that it’s narrated by death. He tells us the story of The Book Thief, a girl, Liesel Meminger. He meets her when he comes to take the melting and soft soul of his brother who dies on a journey to Munich. Both the kids were traveling with their mother to be sent to foster parents.

Liesel is dragged away from her mother and sent to the Hubermanns, Hans, and Rosa in Himmel Street. The 10-year-old girl is having a hard time losing both her mother and brother. Her foster father, Hans, sits with her during her nightmares, plays accordion for her and teaches her how to read and write. Liesel makes a friend next door, a boy with lemon colored hair, Rudy who keeps asking Liesel for a kiss.

She settles into her new life. Steals a book from a fire and is invited to the library of Ilsa Hermann, mayor’s wife, while delivering the laundry. Words become Liesel’s everything. When the mayor’s wife discontinues the laundry services, Liesel and Rudy start stealing books from her library. Though Issa knows and starts leaving her books and a diary for her to start writing.

On the other hand, Hans hides a Fist-Fighter Jew, Max in their basement in lieu of a promise made to a friend. At first, Liesel fears Max. But later she builds a snowman for him in the basement. Both start reading together.  Max repaints the book Mein Kampf and writes a book for Liesel. Max has to leave the Hubermanns due to security reasons. One day, while Liesel is in the basement writing her story the whole street is bombed. When she comes out of the rubble, she finds everyone dead. She kisses Rudy and is taken away to the mayor’s house. She leaves her book behind which is picked up by Death. He tells us that when he goes for her soul, she is in Sydney, with her kids and grandkids. He shows her the book he stole and takes a walk with her.

My Heart after reading this book:

I fell in love with death. The whole perception changed in a swift 360-degree angle. He is baffled by our sheer strength to go on after all that we go through in life. He teaches you the beauty of life and how courageous it is to be a human.

Liesel is always the girl who gets left behind but keeps going. My heart broke when she sees everyone dead. But she is so brave and caring. She steals books from snow, from fire, from the water. She will inspire you.

Rudy, Hans, and Max are also lovable characters. Rudy will make you laugh and fill you with warmth. Hans will make you go aww with his understanding and caring nature. Max will teach you about the choices we make and how they weigh us and other in our lifetime.

You will surely hate Hitler and Rosa. But that’s okay.

Make sure you read the book thoroughly for it’s filled with wonders.

You can buy the book here:

PS: You can read “I am the Messenger” by Markus Zusak too. It’s another wonderful book.