jueves, 24 de julio de 2014

The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak
Genre: Historical, Drama
Publisher: Lumen
Year: 2005
Ranking: 3.8 / 5


It's just a small story really, about, among other things, a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery.

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist: books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids - as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

The Author

Markus Zusak was born in 1975 and is the author of five books, including the international bestseller, The Book Thief, which is translated into more than forty languages. First released in 2005, The Book Thief  has spent a total of 375 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and still remains there eight years after it first came out.

His first three books, The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe and When Dogs Cry (also known as Getting the Girl ), released between 1999 and 2001, were all published internationally and garnered a number of awards and honors in his native Australia, and the USA.

The Messenger (or I am the Messenger ), published in 2002, won the 2003 Australian Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award (Older Readers) and the 2003 NSW Premier's Literary Award (Ethel Turner Prize), as well as receiving a Printz Honour in America. It also won numerous national readers choice awards across Europe, including the highly regarded Deutscher Jugendliteratur prize in Germany.

It is The Book Thief, however, that has established Markus Zusak as one of the most successful authors to come out of Australia. To date, The Book Thief  has held the number one position at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, the New York Times bestseller list, as well as in countries across South America, Europe and Asia. It has also been in the top five bestsellers in the UK and several other territories. It has amassed many and varied awards, ranging from literary prizes to readers choice awards to prizes voted on by booksellers. It was the only book to feature on both the USA and UK World Book Night Lists in 2012, and has now been adapted into a major motion picture. 

Personal Experience with This Book

The truth is, The Book Thief came to me by chance. Normally I do not read or watch sad things ... because they are sad. Personally I do not like these stories because I always end up crying or feeling that life is very hard and that bad things always end up happening to good people, that feeling that I do not like. I do not think anyone would sincerely like it.

I decided to read it basically because I saw many good reviews about the book. A very good novel, moving story, and many said that they had not stopped crying while reading. One of the comments I saw ​​was the one of a girl who decided to read it after her mother while crying told her to please not to. That touched me and I said; well let's see how it goes.

The story overall charm me. Positioned at the time of Nazi Germany, the story is quite "gray", as I like to call melancholy books, but have those moments of light that give little hope and you feel that things will be better.

Liesel is a fantastic character; the truth is that I found it fascinating that the author built the character of Liesel with that love for books, to the point of stealing to have the unique pleasure of reading something new. I loved that. I also liked the fact that even though many bad things happened to her, poor Liesel seemed to have very bad luck in my opinion; she always gave a bit of hope to people who were around her.

Often it gives the impression that Liesel is an adult, I would say that for all that she experienced. However, the author returns and positions Liesel in her role of the child she actually is. I think that captured that a little girl can be very mature and intelligent among her own but still want to be a little loved and protected by her parents. I liked that.

As for the other characters, I will mention only the most relevant. Hans Hubermann, Liesel's foster father. This man reminded me so much of my dad. A man with a giant heart and, also a man of his word. I was moved many of their actions toward Liesel and to Max. Rosa Hubermann, Liesel's foster mother, was a very direct woman with a strong heart, sometimes rude but I attribute this to her lack of education. I liked this character because although she used to complain, she always supported her husband at all times and she loved Liesel very much, but did not show it. Max, the Jewish the Hubermanns protected, was a person who had lived a hard life too, being a Jew in Nazi Germany was not a simple matter. Despite that, he learned to love Liesel as part of his own family and taught her how nice it was to write. And finally, Rudy, Liesel's best friend, who always gave the story its funny and romantic touch.

I enjoyed reading this book a lot and I loved the book as well. I also watched the movie, right after finishing it to see how it was. Then you will wonder why I put a 3.8 and not a higher score? Well the truth is that I read so many things about this book before reading it that my expectations about the sorrows that Liesel was going to suffer rose a little bit, not to say a lot. It was as if I was expecting too much sadness about it. I can attribute the fact of the lack of sadness in me to two things:

  • The first is the way in which history, which I think is very distracting to the reader, is told. The story is told from the perspective of death itself, that is, death is the one who tells the story and gives many tracks ... and died too ugly or ... died in I do not know how much and I do not know how long, that the reader does not get a death by surprise, not once. That's why I personally did not feel sad to read ... it was like "Oh ... and he is death", or something.
  • The second is that even though we know that the story will be sad and that many of these books are quite slow, I felt like the story progressed very slowly. I do not know, maybe it's also because I'm not used to this kind of books. And at the end, then everything happens so fast, the last three chapters are the shortest and less descriptive of the entire book. As it is in the movie, it takes two minutes to see Liesel's life and what happens to her after the last bomber. I wish I would have read more about how she faced her loss. But I did not happen. 


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