Book Review- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Zusak, Markus. 2006. The Book Thief. New York, New York: Listening Library. Audio CD. ISBN 0739337270
b. Plot Summary
Set during World War II in Germany, Death himself narrates the story of Liesel Meminger. Liesel is a foster girl living outside of Munich who makes a living by stealing books. In a tough setting of rough kids and cruel mothers, Liesel is taught to read her stolen books by her accordion-playing foster father. Along with the collection of stolen books, Liesel collects a variety of friends: her foster parents, the mayor’s wife, a strange boy named Rudy, and Jewish refugee. In this captivating novel, we see Liesel begin to overcome the horrific events of her past.
c. Critical Analysis
This is a moving story for sophisticated teen and adult readers with engaging characters and a heartbreaking plot. There are large blocks of action-packed adventure to keep the plot moving. Interestingly, Death is a fascinating narrator for Liesel’s story. Although it is set in the past, Death’s commentary is very postmodern.
As an audiobook, the story truly takes life. Zusak writes in such a beautiful, poetic syntax, which read aloud, the listener feels a part of the book.
d. Review Excerpts
· Starred review from School Library Journal “An extraordinary narrative.”
· A great addition to a World War II unit in a high school or college class
· Have students discuss the importance of Death as the narrator. Have the students collaborate and rewrite a section with Liesel giving a first-person point of view.