The novel is from the point of view of Death. He tells the story of Liesel Meminger who he sees three times. The book that unfolds is his re-telling of her story during her childhood in Nazi Germany.
It’s not a sad tale filled with the harshness of the Nazi regime but a story about a little girl and her adoptive family and friends. The war slowly edges into her life but her spirit is resolute against the troubles surrounding her and most of the book is filled with fun and laughter despite the family’s lack of money.
The book is well written, keeping the reader engaged with shorter glimpses of the girl’s life that form a wider picture.
The use of Death as the narrator is inspired and perfectly fits with the plot but it would have been nice to have seen a little more done with the idea. The notion is not much explored so it seems as though it may only have been used as a plot mover.
Critically acclaimed this book has been made into a recent film and already features on some school syllabuses.
Zusak arches many themes and storylines through the book which are brought together well at the novel’s end. The Book Thief is a powerful and at times emotional read which can take a reader from joy to tears within its pages. I would definitely recommend it.