It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.
By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery.
So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found.
But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
"Silence was not quiet or calm, and it was not peace."The writing was great, some passages made me think, others took my breath away. But despite its greatness including the books within the book, I was left underwhelmed. I read this because this is considered Young Adult canon, but I somehow missed all of the awe and tears I was supposed to experience upon finishing the book. Some chapters were far more compelling than others, which makes me think maybe length was the issue. I don't mind reading longer books if I feel the prose is building towards something great, something worthwhile. But the moments I enjoyed the most came far before the end.
Death as a narrator (AWESOME) and Liesel as the powerful protagonist she was, still wasn't enough for me to enjoy the book throughout. This book took me longer to finish than other recent reads, including ones that I liked less. I wanted to rave and praise the book along with the majority of Goodreads. The story is worth a read, if only to experience a side of Nazi Germany from a in-between perspective, This narrative is told from people who helped Jews by circumstance, armed with slightly more conscience than fear. It's interesting, but the book did not rise to its awesome concept.
Some things were developed which weren't worth the wonderful writing, while other interesting concepts were breezed passed. If your interested in the nuance of characters caught in the nastiness of the Fher in 1943, then definitely read. But there was not enough here for me to rate it higher or sincerely recommend it to others, despite the critical acclaim. I am interested in seeing what other mediums this writer can excel in.
"It kills me sometimes, how people die" Said Death.