The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. 552 pages.
1. A succinct evaluative annotation. Plot: [Conflict] Death is narrating this novel about a girl named Liesel Meminger who lived in Germany during Hitler’s rising. She is also known as the book thief as she steals books throughout her childhood, wanting to learn to read. [Rising Action] As the war goes south for Hilter’s side, Liesel’s life is turned upside down, but she resorts to stealing books to get a sense of life back. [Climax] Liesel’s town gets bombed and everyone on 4 different streets dies. Everyone that Liesel has come to love and respect for the last 4 years is gone and Liesel is the only one left alive. She was writing her own book in the basement when the bombing happened, keeping her safe from the bomb. [Falling Action] Liesel lives with the mayor and his wife after the bombing, remembering everything that happened and still using books as her life line. [Resolution] Death finally comes for Liesel – many, many years down the road, where Liesel waits for Death and finds out that the book Liesel wrote in the basement when she was 14 was with Death, who read her story over and over. Theme: The themes in this novel include death, war, afraid, survival, reading, and trying to find ways to live through the days during the war. Tone: The tone of this book is very solemn and always afraid. There is a war going on throughout Liesel’s childhood and she had to grown up being scared all of the time. Style: The author’s writing style was very different. He had Death narrate the novel, following the story that Liesel wrote when she was 14 and retelling her story with some tidbits of Death’s own life. Characterizations: Death is very serious, but also puts a tad of humor during parts of the novel. Parts that he deemed worth talking about. Liesel is a strong, curious, and ambitious girl. She wanted to learn to read and reading became a passion for her. She was able to help others during the hard time because of her love for reading – and reading also saved her life in the end. Readability: This is a little difficult to read – one needs to take their time and really think about what the author is saying throughout the novel. It’s a great read – it just takes time and thoughtfulness.
2. My reactions to the book. This book is amazing. It is a slow read book – one has to be very dedicated to come back and read this book, but it is definitely worth it. The biggest strength of this book is the emotion – the reader can tell what the emotion of the book is and see how the events occurred. One of the weaknesses, though, is how it was written. After awhile, the way it’s written won’t matter because the reader gets used to it, but at first, it’s very difficult. Death narrates numerous characters’ lives and the reader has to be able to keep up with the changes. As for accuracy, I think the content was very accurate when it came to the current events of what happened during the war when Hitler was ruling Germany.
3. Comment on the cover art. The cover art is not what one would expect when reading the title of the book. Honestly, the cover is what kept me away from reading this book earlier because it just didn’t look that interesting. After reading the book, though, I can see one meaning that can go with the cover: suspense/waiting for the inevitable. That domino is going to crash into the other ones, destroying all of that work, just like the contents of the novel do.