Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Book #46 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Okay, so about a freakin' YEAR later I'm finally writing about another book. Obviously I would have to be Superwoman in order to make my goal of 100 books for the year, but I've increased my total by about 15 books so far, so I consider it a modified success.

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, is narrated by Death. Need I say more? It's a story of Lisel, a book thief, during Hitler's reign in Germany. She is young, and the author's choice to tell the book from Death's perspective gave Zusak the freedom to use an "omniscient" point of view. Zusak also gave Death his own story, his regret over capturing souls, and the tremendous care he took with the souls of children. Beautiful, fresh perspective.

About 2/3 of the way through, I began to wonder if I would finish it. The book drags, I'm not going to lie. But, the night I finished it (actually a few weeks ago), I pounded through the last hundred pages because I was set on finishing it. And, the last hundred pages were *fantastic*. I cried, pulled myself together, turned a page and cried again. With a book about the Holocaust, Zusak couldn't really have a "happy" ending, and knowing it was narrated by Death, the reader doesn't even have the assurance that Lisel will live.

This book is for nearly everyone. It's a tremendous effort, to simplify the Holocaust and show some of the atypical stories from that time (the Jews marching from the train to a camp through one of the towns, in particular) that are just as moving and powerful as the mass graves we've all seen on videos hundreds of times. I applaud Zusak for giving a fact-based fictional novel that still teaches the reader.

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