The Book Thief

by Markus Zusak

The story of Liesel, the book thief of the title, is told by Death himself, the perfect narrator, who describes what he witnesses of this young girl’s life; from the time she is given up by her Communist mother in Nazi Germany to her realization that words are what hold the country under the power of Hitler and the Nazi party. The importance of words and books is paramount in this story: One of the characters, Hans, teaches her to read at night, the mayor’s wife allows her into her library and another character Max gives her two stories. As well as being the source of her strife, literature also becomes Liesel’s escape from the bleak life she finds herself in.

The story is incredibly moving, but it’s also full of warmth and humour in what were the direst of circumstances.  You really come to care for for the characters, and to fear for them, because you know what’s coming. Death is coming.