The Book Thief

April 8, 2016

Author: Marcus Zusak.


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. (Summary from Goodreads.)

My Thoughts:

One of the few books that can bring tears to my eyes. Zusak has a knack for unconventional prose that truly overturns the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words”.  In this moving World War II story he focuses not on the allies, or the Jews, but on a common German family. They may hate Hitler, but there is nothing they can do, or will do – and yet the consequences of the war will hit them just as hard.

Content Review:

Sexual content: Three boys forced to strip naked for physical examination (one doctor is a woman, incident is later thought about by girl). Man staring out the window pretends aloud to be watching an attractive woman, although there is no one there. One character asks another for a kiss several times. In grief, a character kisses a dead body.

Language: 18 d***, 17 hell, 99 derogatory names, 13 anatomical terms, 7 scatological terms.

Violence: The story is set in World War I, and there are multiple scenes without many details in which Death carries away many souls. (No, that’s exactly what happens. I’m serious.) There is one more detailed scene in which an airplane pilot crashes and dies. Multiple bombing without details, one with in which multiple characters are killed. One character hangs himself. Multiple fistfights. Multiple incidents of disobedient child being spanked. Jewish prisoners who have been starved and beaten are marched past.







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