Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

genre: young adult historical fiction

When I finished reading this book, I felt wounded and healed at the same time. I have read, truly, dozens of books about World War II - none have touched me more than this one did. Never, in all my reading, did my heart feel so much pain for the "others" that suffered during a war. My thoughts turned to other families and neighbors in Iraq, Afganistan, Sudan - all victims of other people's decisions, all with stories to tell that are full of beauty, kindness and horror.

Zusak made Liesel, her foster parents, her neighbors and friends so real to me - the characters carved their way into my thoughts and I couldn't stop thinking about them until I finished the story. I'm still thinking about them. The narration was perfect for so harsh a story - Death's insights, foreshadowing and asides gave me pause and made me so eager to read more. The way he described himself going about his job was truly moving imagery - and I loved his close attention to color and detail. Max's stories were a unique addition to the text - they caught me off-guard and I loved the theme of words as a force of healing and acceptance - or of hatred and destruction.

I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who loves words and the power they have to change people's lives

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