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BOOK REVIEW OF The Book Thief

The Book Thief was written by Australian author Markus Zusak. It was published in
2005 and is considered historical ction. The book is narrated by an outside force
called Death. The author writes about a young girl name Liesel Meminger, her foster
family and a Jewish man, Max Vanderberg, that they hid from the Nazis. It is about a
girls love of reading and how she becomes a book thief so that she can escape from
the terrible things happening around her. The book describes her emotional journey
through life before and after the bombings on Himmel Street.
AUTHORS POINT OF VIEW
I believe the author, Markus Zusak, wrote this book to give people another point of view
about Nazi Germany and Hitler. The author wanted to blend the historic facts of that
time period with a story about a book thiefs love of reading and how it helped a young
girl get through a terrible time in her life. Rather than writing a typical historical ction
book like Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli, Zusak wrote the book from a different perspective
combining war and the everyday life of a young girl through the eyes and voice of death.
Zusak used Death to talk about the characters feelings, thoughts and emotions as they
go through their lives. Other books such as The Diary of Anne Frank have been written
Sarah Utchel 7th
US book price $12.99
ISBN# 978-0-375-84220-7
General Subject Matter:
Holocaust & death
Special Features: Made
into a lm in 2013
about Nazi Germany and this time period. But rather than being written by an actual
person like Anne Frank that lived through this horrible period, this book was written
years later and from a whole different perspective.
THEME
The theme of The Book Thief is love and morality. Mortality is a major theme in the
book because death is happening everywhere from the concentration camps to the war
zone. Love also plays a major role of the book because one of Liesels, the main
characters, love of books and her desire to read and write.
THESIS
Books and words helped a young girl get through her horric time in Nazi Germany.
Through her reading the main character, Liesel, calmed the Jewish man hidden in her
basement to the people in the bomb shelters. She used the books to bring people
together even though it was a dark period in our worlds history.
METHOD OF DEVELOPMENT
The authors method of development in The Book Thief was through description and
narration. Both Death, the narrator, and Liesel, the main character, used description
throughout the book to describe the sky. Death describes the sky whenever he travels
to a new place in Nazi Germany where a new death has occurred. Liesel describes
what the sky looks like everyday to the Jewish man hidden in her basement since he
cannot see the sky. The entire book is narrated by an outside force called Death.
Sarah Utchel 7th
Death exists because people die, but has nothing to do with why they die. Death tells
us that from the beginning that this is a tragic story and throughout the book Death
gives us little details about what is going to happen in the future.
KEY CHARACTER ANALYSIS
Death
As strange as it seems, Death was a key character in the book, The Book Thief. Death
was the narrator of the story. His job was to carry away the souls of the people that
died. Death was very upset about having to collect so many souls during this tragic
time in the world.
Liesel Meminger
Liesel Meminger was another key character in the book. She is introduced in the book
by Death as The Book Thief. Grieving over the death of her family, Liesel nds comfort
in reading books. She learns that the written word can be good or bad. Liesel also
nds that there is still lots of love in the world for her though her foster family, the
Hubermann; her best friend, Rudy Steiner; and the man her foster family hides from the
Nazis, Max Vandenburg.
Hans Hubermann
Liesels foster father and one of the rst person to win her trust after her familys death.
Throughout the book he teaches Liesel how to read and write.
Sarah Utchel 7th
Max Vandenburg
A Jewish man who hides from the Nazis in the Hubermanns basement. He befriends
Liesel who reads to him every night. He eventually writes two books for her. Max
leaves the safety of the Hubermanns basement and is forced into a concentration
camp. He survives the camp and meets up with Liesel after the war ends.
Rudy Steiner
Liesels best friend. Rudy is in love with Liesel, but Liesel does not feel the same way
towards him until nearly the end of the book. Rudy tries throughout the book to get
Liesel to kiss him but she will not. Unfortunately, Rudy dies during an air raid and Liesel
nally kisses his corpse.
WHY I CHOSE THIS BOOK & RECOMMENDATION
When researching a book to read for this project, I recognized The Book Thief because
I had seen advertisements for the movie. Through the advertisements I had a small
idea of what the book was about, but I was really surprised how good the book was.
This book is like no other book I have read. I do not think I would have ever chosen it
on my own, but I was really glad that I chose it to read. I found it very interesting and it
kept me wondering what would happen next. I look forward to reading other books by
Markus Zusak such as Fighting Ruben, Wolfe, Getting the Girl, and I Am the
Messenger. I would denitely recommend that everyone read The Book Thief. It is a
story of love, friendship, guilt, survival and death.
Sarah Utchel 7th