“The Book Thief” is a historical fiction novel set during World War II. It was published in 2005 by Picador Publishing.
The novel is narrated by Death himself, and the story follows Leisel, a young girl growing up during the beginning of World War II.
In the beginning of the novel, Leisel is on the way to her new foster home when she suffers the loss of her younger brother. During the funeral, she steals a book called “The Gravedigger’s Handbook.” She is unable to read it, and her foster dad teaches her how to.
The rest of the novel follows her adventures in her small town, especially as she starts to steal more books. As World War II breaks out, rationing begins, air raids threaten the town, and Leisel’s foster parents decide to shelter a Jewish man in their basement.
“The Book Thief” is a very engaging, emotional read. Having Death narrate the novel is a very unique addition and adds an interesting perspective on the story.
Between paragraphs, Death provides short and insightful comments that do not interrupt the story, but add to it instead.
The storytelling is engaging and poignant. All of the characters feel real because each one has his or her own attributes and flaws.
The novel is also relatable to the audience. Even though the circumstances are different, Leisel’s childhood endeavors are representative of the adolescent experience. The entire novel pulls on the empathy of the reader, and provides a strong emotional payoff at the end.
“The Book Thief” is an extremely powerful read that earns itself 5 out of 5 stars.