Book Review: The Book Thief

April 8, 2010

“When death captures me,” the boy vowed, “he will feel my fist on his face.”

The Book ThiefThe Book Thief, critically acclaimed, was recommended to me by someone I trust, and I promised her I would read it.  And that’s what I did for about a month, with a break over the weekend to read two other books.

What can I say about The Book Thief?  It’s well-written to be sure, the characters are well- and fully-drawn.  The setting is clear and vibrant.  Set in Nazi Germany during WWII (seriously, I’m starting to think the first book you read for the year dictates the kind of books you read all year–sort of like whatever you’re doing on NYE predicates your activities for the year), the conflict is well-established, especially with orphaned Liesel and her foster family.

So, it has all of that, and it still left me cold.  I struggled to finish it, and I kept waiting to, you know, care.  I think I have to just accept that Zusak’s work is not for me because I had the same response to I Am the Messenger.  I could tell the book was well-written, but I kept waiting for something to happen to fully engage me with the story.

My favorite part of the book was the short, illustrated story about friendship within the text.  I would’ve really enjoyed that as a standalone picture book.

YA Challenge:  12/75

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  1. Teresa

    I listened to this on audio a couple of years ago and just couldn’t get into it either. I liked the idea of it, and I thought the writing was just fine, but it never engaged me. I wondered if it was the audio format that put me off because everyone else seems to love it, but maybe not.

    • Akilah

      I'm glad to know I'm not the only one as well.

  2. VeganYANerds

    I don’t think I’ve ever read a review from someone who didn’t love The Book Thief but I haven’t gone looking for them and I’m sure you’re not the only one.

    I really loved TBT and I really enjoyed I Am The Messenger but I didn’t like his Wolfe brothers series at all.

    • Akilah

      I think I have only seen one other, though I can’t remember where. It’s pretty universally loved.


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