“The Book Thief” is a novel written by Markus Zusak which is based during the Second World War in Germany. The book has a interesting concept as it is narrated by death and the entire premise for the book is that Death is interested by the story/life of a nine-year-old girl who lives in Germany by the name of Liesel Meminger. Throughout the story Liesel is constantly losing the things she loves, the book starts off with Liesel’s brother dying and Death notices that it seems like she is looking at him which he repeats every time he sees her again. Liesel lives with her foster family for the majority of the book, Hans and Rosa Hubermann. These two characters take on the form of a typical good cop, bad cop scenario where Hans is very kind and gentle towards Liesel and becomes her friend by staying up late in the night to help her with her nightmares etc. whereas Rosa is very harsh towards Liesel constantly bickering and scolding Liesel as well as punishing her when she does something wrong, despite this near the ending of the book it is revealed that Rosa loved Liesel very much, almost as much as Hans did The second friend Liesel makes is Rudy Steiner who is a boy of the same age as Liesel and lives next door to her, throughout the book Rudy is constantly asking for Liesel to kiss him which she always refuses they share a very close relationship with both of them loving each other but neither either willing to tell the other let alone accept it which being so young they would usually have enough time to sort this kind of thing out but unfortunately it is a time of war and somethings fall short. Max who is a Jew and the son of one of Han’s good friends who comes into the story at about a third of the way through the book, so Max ends up coming to the Hubermann household is search of refuge from the cold of the night and the fear of being discovered. It is with Max where Liesel makes one of the best friends of her life they really relate to each other as both of their lives have been full of heartbreak, sadness and fear yet by sharing their experiences they find comfort and create an unbreakable bond between the two.
I would recommend this book to anybody who is able to understand the concepts and ideas presented in the book but this is not a necessity. This book is narrated by Death which gives the reader a new perspective on life and throughout the book he presents his views of humans and their resentment etc. towards himself and really how people deal with him in general and it is particularly interesting in this time as more people died in the second world war than all previous wars combined.
Death follows Liesel because of the fact that when he took her brothers soul Death thought that she was looking at him and this idea is spread throughout the entire book as her entire life is surrounded by Death her brother dying Max’s close encounter with him, Hans nearly dying and the pilot who died in front of her another time where she saw death. From all this the reader really gets a sense of what it is to be alive and that death it self isn’t the huge evil monster that we always betray him and that in reality we always meet death its more a choice of how we meet him how we face up to him because there is no stopping it you merely have to accept the fact that you are going to die someday but not to let that get in the way of you enjoying yourself and just move on so that when Death does come you are ready to meet him.
Throughout the book Liesel steals or is given 13 books one of these books is called the “The Word Shaker” it is given to her by Max and it is realistically an analogy for what Max and Liesel in the time they spent with each other. In the book a girl lives in a world ruled by a man who grows trees of bad and mean words and that this is brain washing people using these words and this girl plants a tree for herself and it grows huge and can be seen for miles and miles around so many people come to see it and the evil leader sends many many men to chop it down so the girl climbs the tree and lives there away from those people down there without a need for food or water and for all of the men when they swing their axes they make no mark on the tree so when all those men are done one man comes to the tree and uses a hammer and nails to climb the tree instead of just trying to forcefully cut it down he meets the girl and manages to get her down, whilst she is coming down cuts and scars form the axes etc. start appearing and after a while the huge tree that was once a landmark among all these other bad trees falls over. What this showed me is that Liesel is a coward she hides away from the people that are trying to hurt her and that she is hiding her pain not only from other people but also form herself which I find the most cowardly of all it is only until Max comes along and they share their experiences that she finally opens herself up and shows her true feelings to those that are around her which is quite a lot for a young girl to do. She also is cowardly towards Rudy because despite the large amount of feelings they had for each other it took Rudy dying for her finally kiss him as in a previous scene she had wanted him to kiss her which may seem sweet but is actually quite selfish because despite all this pain and suffering she goes through she never actually bothers to look at things from someone else’s perspective which makes her inherently selfish when she sees Max in the parade of Jews through town that the Nazi Party she runs out into the parade and walks with Max which is simply foolish as all they needed to do was look into each others eyes and they would’ve known how each other felt as had been shown in their previous experiences but Liesel decides to take risk and goes into the parade which wasn’t needed in the first place and Max tries to make her leave but he is so exhausted from the work that he can not so when she is seen in the parade with Max one of the supervising soldiers both she and the exhausted max are whipped which is the last thing Max needs and then after this she still tries to get back to Max and is only Rudy holding her down that stops Max from suffering more pain because she fails to see the consequences that her actions cause considering that mere look in each others eyes would’ve been enough for them to know this purely Liesel wanting to share and failing to see that despite risks not always being bad this risk is just straight unnecessary. However it teaches us to not take everything straight up but to first consider someones else’s perspective, ideas or situation and to make a more informed decision before acting or something horrible may happen.