Book Review- The Book Thief

The author of this book is Mr Markus Zusak. The story is set in Germany in the years 1939-1943, at the start of World War Two, this story narrates the story of Liesel, an orphan who never knew her father. Her mother, who couldn’t afford to take care of her, disappears after delivering her to her new foster parents.

Her foster parents, Hans and Rosa Herbermann, are poor Germans who were given a small allowance to take her in. Hans, her new Papa, a tall, quiet man with silver eyes, is a painter who also plays the accordion as a hobby. He teaches Liesel how to read and write while Rosa, her new Mama, does the laundry for the rich people in the town.

Her younger brother dies on the train when Liesel’s birth mother is taking them to their foster parents. Liesel steals her first book, The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left lying in the snow by her brother’s grave. Haunted every night by nightmares of her brother’s death, Liesel and her Papa set themselves the challenge of reading The Gravedigger’s Handbook, Liesel’s last link to her brother.

Adjusting to her new life is not easy and Liesel makes many new friends and learns more knowledge. Then, when Hans is taken away to serve in the war, Liesel and Rosa are left to fend for themselves. But, after he has injured his leg, he returns home to be united with his family. A while after Hans returns, bombs are dropped on to Liesel’s town and Liesel is the only survivor other than Buergmeister and Ilsa Hermann. (the mayor and his wife)  IIsa then lets Liesel live with them, despite knowing that Liesel steals books from her library and Liesel has found a new home.

I find this story very touching as it is a story about friendship, family, love and overcoming hardships. I also feel that IIsa is a very kind and caring person as she allows Liesel to live together with her despite knowing that she steals the books from her library to read. Mr Zusak has truly outdone himself by writing such a remarkable story. However, as it is a rather serious story about war, I would only recommend it to anyone aged 13 and upwards, as it may not be fully understood by the younger children.

Laura Zheng

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