The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


My Rating:★★★★★ 4.7/5

Author: Markus Zusak

Genre: Historical Fiction


It’s just 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. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul. (Goodreads)


“He was the crazy one who had painted himself black and defeated the world.

She was the book thief without the words.

Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like rain.”


This book is heartfelt story of an orphaned girl and her parents living in Nazi Germany. She arrives at her new home hot-tempered and not knowing how to read. She read a book called The Gravedigger’s Handbook. She eventually steals many other books, reading them, at the end is the survivor of a bomb attack.

One really heartfelt symbol in the Book Thief is of the accordion. Hans, Liesel’s adopted father, owns an accordion. He spends his time at home playing the calm instrument and annoying his wife Rosa. At the beginning of the book the accordion is a symbol of comfort and hope for their dark times. For Rosa, the accordion is a symbol of Hans himself. It reminds her of him when he is off to war. For Hans, the accordion is a symbol of the man who gave it to him before. The man who gave it to him before, the man who saved his life is named Erik Vandenburg, and he is the Jewish man Max’s father. The accordion is the thing that connects the Hubermanns to Max. To Max, the accordion is a symbol of his father, and hope for the Holocaust to end. When the town is air-raided, the accordion is found in the rubble. To Liesel at the end, the accordion is a symbol of her enormous loss of her family members.

The setting of this book is vital to the story, because without it none of the characters would be in the situations they are in. The setting is Molching, Germany during World War II. This is where Liesel meets her new parents, and meets other important characters like Rudy. This is where Liesel spends the remainder of her childhood, stealing books and getting into trouble. This is where Liesel learns to read, and this is where her and her family hide a Jewish man named Max. This setting is imagined at the beginning and destroyed at the end. This is where Liesel’s coming of age story take place, in a dark time during the Holocaust. The setting is crucial to the book.

I really loved this book, and it is by far one of my favorites. From the beginning I can’t help but feel bad for the narrator… Death. He spends his days escorting souls to the afterlife. I don’t blame him for trying to find beauty in everything he can. I loved all of the characters, each imperfect and unique in their own way. This book was wonderfully written by Markus Zusak, and I will definitely read it again.


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