EPS Review #215 - The Book Thief

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, WF Howes 2007(2005), 660pp.

We chose this book for our book club based on Archie's summary: "A crossover title by a children's author which my daughters have been utterly raving about and which has sold by the truckload."

P (who liked the book a lot, and gave away our copy) got me a large-print edition from the library, which is why you see so many pages. They seemed to go slowly. I was pleased to be able to read with my glasses on (or maybe I am so old I should say "spectacles"?) Distractedly, I briefly thought I was going to be reading a book that Griffin really liked called City of Thieves.

In short this is a good weepie about a young, poor German girl, a foster daughter, whose family hides a Jew in the basement during WWII. Death narrates the story, and he is a busy man. This gimmick annoyed some book club members, but I figured he was just another omniscient narrator and did not mind. Some also disliked the bold-faced asides, possibly by Death, but I kind of liked them.

I enjoyed the small love story. Pick your seat on the train carefully when you get to the sobby end.

At first, Liesel could not talk. Perhaps it was the sudden bumpiness of love she felt for him. Or had she always loved him? It's likely. Restricted as she was from speaking, she wanted him to kiss her. She wanted him to drag her hand across and pull her over. It didn't matter where. Her mouth, her neck, her cheek. Her skin was empty for it, waiting.

If I had known we were going to read a WWII story, would I have preferred The Tin Drum?