I'm feeling quite speechless about The Book Thief by Markus Zusak but realise that won't make much of a blog post so I'd better think of something to say...
So I've gone for rapturous approval on here about quite a few books recently I know, especially some of the young adult ones of which there is a plethora of brilliance out there right now. To eulogise about yet another one would be a bit daft, I must be more measured and critical or you won't believe me and it can all be a bit off-putting, so really perhaps I should just pan one every so often.Besides, I often think too much praise can set a book up to fail with all and sundry.
Well not this one, sorry. In fact I think this one could be better than all the others put together so I don't quite know how to go into superlative mode without going right over the top.
First thing you need to know is that this is a book infused with sadness and hope in equal measure and it is narrated most unusually by Death.Death tells us the story of a young foster girl, Liesel Meminger living in Munich in the midst of Nazi Germany.Life is harsh but Liesel soon learns that words and more importantly books are her life and she starts to steal them firstly from the mass bonfires and then from the library of the local Mayor and his wife.Slowly she learns to read and shares the books with neighbours during bombing raids but also very movingly with the Jewish man they are hiding in their basement.In turn he writes a book for Liesel which you get to read within the pages of this book, be prepared for it to do you up like a kipper.
It's all a complete emotional roller-coaster of a book and must join the canon of excellent books that depict the war through the eyes of children.More about those in another post but meanwhile somehow there's no way round it, I can't recommend The Book Thief, highly enough, no bracing or gritting of teeth required, it's a book that takes very good care of you.
Uplifting, life affirming and memorable.