This is the well-known story of a young girl, her foster parents and their quirky little town during WW2. Death himself narrates the tale as he is drawn to the girl’s humanity in the midst of his busiest season. Strangers and enemies appear as well, but this is mostly a tale of love and friendship in a time of hunger and misery.
This book is a treasure. It’s beautiful and horrible and full of life lessons. The story takes place in Nazi Germany during WW2 and you can almost feel the fear and restlessness through the pages. No one has enough food or work and although the children can still play soccer in the street, fear and judgement is found everywhere. We get a few glimpses of what’s going on in the battlefields but the main stage is Himmel Street in the fictional town of Molching – a town filled with Germans of every social status.
The characters in this story is everything. My description of their personalities, actions and thoughts won’t even begin to do them justice. You have to experience for yourself, just how much these people grow on you and how you end up caring for all of them. Towards the end, you completely forget that they’re only fiction!
We basically get to see two sides of WW2 Germans – those who stood proudly by Hitler’s side and those who couldn’t stand by while others were hurt. Our MC, Liesel, is not a hero who saves the world. She’s a naive girl in the middle of a war she doesn’t understand and although Death is the narrator, the story is kept very realistic. We see her fears, struggles and triumphs and eventually you can’t help but cheer for her along the way.
No, it’s not an error in my review stats – I pinned down unique narration as both good and bad. On one hand, having Death narrate the story is completely refreshing and I’m a big fan of this POV. On the other hand, we get some weird metaphors and descriptions here and there that just aren’t easy to understand. It slows down the reading pace a bit – not in any critical way but still.
To be honest, it took me a while to figure out this review. The Book Thief is a massive book – and not just in page count. It has so many layers, so many extraordinary characters and so many ups and downs. It’s not an easy book to write a short review on so I simply won’t say much more because, as I mentioned earlier, this book has to be experienced for yourself. I KNOW this is going to be a reread in a few years and I’m excited to revisit the story during a different time in my life. A new all-time favorite for sure, I highly recommend this book!
Page count: 592
Goodreads rating: 4,3/5