The Book Thief

Time to talk about April’s Book Club selection: The Book Thief!

book thief

You may also find other PBF book reviews and discussions on my Books page if you’re in the market for some new reading material.

Brief Summary

The Book Thief takes place in Germany during World War II. It follows the life of Liesel Meminger, a young girl who, at the beginning of the novel, is given by her birth mother to foster parents in Molching who look out for her and raise her as their own.

The book is narrated by death. Death meets Liesel numerous times throughout her life, and the story weaves around these incidents.

Very early on in her life, Liesel steals her first book and, with the help of her foster father, learns to read and discovers a passion for words. She acquires a handful of books throughout her life and each play an important role in her journey and bond Liesel to those around her, from her neighbors to the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

My Review (Includes spoilers!)

I have always been enamored with novels set in WWII ever since I read Number the Stars in elementary school. I had a feeling I would enjoy The Book Thief since it is set during a time period that fascinates me and I found myself enamored with the writing style of the author. I thought that using Death as a narrator was extremely creative and captivating.

While I didn’t think the book was a suspenseful page-turner like Sarah’s Key, I looked forward to reading it every night. In the past, most WWII novels I’ve read revolve around a Jewish man, woman or child and I thought it was interesting to read one that revolved around a girl who was not Jewish (though she definitely didn’t support Hitler).

I fell in love with the people Liesel loved and looked forward to reading about Rudy, Papa and Max. I felt invested in Liesel and attached to each poignant character which made the inevitable deaths of Rudy and Papa very emotional for me. I sat in bed, The Book Thief propped up on my knees, with tears streaming down on my face after the bombing that killed Rudy and Papa occurred, especially when Liesel reacted to seeing their bodies with such raw emotion that the author captured beautifully.

There were moments woven throughout the book that struck me emotionally and compelled me to keep reading as I became more and more invested in the characters. The snowball fight in the basement. Liesel’s reaction to seeing Max march through the streets en route to Dachau. Papa’s gentle reaction to Liesel’s nightmares and bed-wetting incident. The Standover Man.

The Book Thief was, without a doubt, an emotional and captivating read.

And oh how I wish Liesel would’ve kissed Rudy before he died!

Max and Liesel’s Future?

After I wrote my review, I read through your reviews (I always try to write mine before reading any so I get everything out without being swayed!) and then I read some discussion questions and reviews from other people.

I stumbled upon a list of questions, one of which conveys the thought that Liesel and Max end up together… married. This totally threw me for a loop and I didn’t take that away from the book at all, so I’m curious as to whether or not any of you assumed that they got married in the end. Did I totally miss this!?

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Additional reviews of The Book Thief may be found on the following blogs:

Discussion Questions

  1. What did you think of the author’s use of Death as the narrator?
  2. Did you like how the author told you about the deaths to come before they occurred? Did that intrigue you or upset you in any way?
  3. Who was your favorite character? Why?
  4. Do you think Liesel and Max ended up together in the end?

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