Book talk: Hold the thief! She’s got my book

I don’t know how I found this book. Besides from seeing it on the shelves of the bookstore, of course. I saw the announcement for the movie, but it struck me more like a teen story, something more like Lizzy Mcguire or the fault in our Stars. So I didn’t pay it much attention but was somehow intrigued by it. So when I saw it in the bookstore and had a massive coupon, I bought it. And yes, that was an amazing idea.

The book thief is about Liesel, who lives in the fictional town of
Molching, near Munich, Germany. With her foster parents and her neighbors, she’s living an ordinary life during the second world war.

I am haunted by Humans.

Mark Suzak – The book thief

Obviously, the main character is Liesel, the book thief herself. At the beginning of the book she arrives at Molding, and she’s left in the care of her foster parents. She has stolen one book but doesn’t know how to read or what it’s about. Once she’s learning, she’s starting to realize the power of words and how they can protect you. Or betray you. She’s constantly growing and learning about life, especially since she’s forced to learn quickly in the war. Other important persons in the book are:

  • Hans Hubermann, Liesel’s foster papa, former WWI warrior, and accordion player. Hans has a strong sense of justice and an easy-going view of life. This both brings him into trouble and saves his life.
  • Rosa Hubermann, the wife of Hans and Liesel’s foster mom. Louder and harder than her husband, but not less loving. Enjoys calling people Saumench or Saukerl, which turns into a term of endearment. Hardworking, strict but always ready when people need her.
  • Rudy Steiner, Liesel’s neighbor, and best friend. Her partner in crime and eldest of a large family. Gifted with blue eyes, blond hair and athletic talents, he soon attracts the interest of the Nazi party.
  • Max Vandenburg whose dad served with Hans in WWI. As a Jew in Nazi Germany, his life is in danger and he goes to Hans for help. When he meets Liesel, they both recognize something and help each other heal.
  • Ilse Hermann, the mayor’s wife with a large library and plenty of cookies.

Death is also just a person

The book thief narrated by Death himself, which especially in the beginning is slightly confusing. Especially since he alters between timelines. He begins with describing his admiration for the book thief, then goes to his ‘ job’ and what colors are involved with that, onwards to an orphan and back to the book thief. Besides this, in between the regular story some updates about the characters are placed in ‘ note’ style: fat, placed in the middle and while I found them interesting, they’re also a bit confusing.

All in all

I definitely loved the book, however, I can see why some people don’t. The story could have gone deeper, more into the actual meaning of it all. Then again, it’s from the point of view of Death and a little girl, deeper might have been unbelievable. Where I found the writing pretty solid, I can also see why people find it annoying. As I mentioned before, the notes placed in between can be pretty distracting and the narrating by Death is sometimes a bit abstract. But it’s also pretty cool and different.