Friday, January 24, 2014

I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious . . .

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Date: 2007
Pages: 576
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
ISBN: 978-0375842207

A book narrated by death – not a typical narrator. And death has a sense of humor and compassion for the book thief, Liesel who stole her first book at the grave-site of her brother. A handbook for grave diggers. When her mother sends her to a foster family, she meets a compatriot in her foster father, a painter and violinist. Her foster mother is rough and sharp tongued, but strong and smart. Liesel becomes frenemies with Rudy and is teased at school for being uneducated. With various traumas surfacing each night in her dreams, her foster father begins midnight reading lessons. Liesel learns the power of words and wielding word in WWII Germany as Hilter begins his campaign against Jewish people. Because of an old promise to her foster father, the family hides a Jewish man, Max, who also befriends Liesel and builds new stories with her. As Germany rises and falls, Liesel's childhood is filled with unique characters, the illicit pleasure of stealing forbidden books, and treading a fine line of secrecy and discovery. Being a book narrated by death, the body count is not unexpected but it is still difficult to comprehend. The author uses a very interesting tone and style throughout the book that at first was distracting but became comfortable over the first few chapters. It was originally intended as a young adult book, yet because of the movie released in 2013, the book has been taken up by adult reading groups.

Here is some background and discussion questions from One Book, One Chicago 2012
Other discussion questions from LitLovers

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