Review The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Alfred A. Knopf 2005, 550 pages. Winner of a bunch of awards including the CFWP** for 2009.
FIVE PIEs. Five WHOLE Pies, not mere slices. This book is some kind of awesomeness. You may have noticed that the last few reviews (or blabberings) I have presented were also for books that I bestowed the Five Pie Rating to and I will stick by those. But of these three books (all this month, too), I adored The Book Thief the most.
I can’t review this. Ich habe keine ahnung* how to start this. I made the mistake of reading other reviews here in lit-o-blog-o-sphere. So let me introduce you to this book with other’s words.
The Koolaid Mom at In the Shadow of Mt. TBR loved this book and shares lots (including a companion post of excerpts) of why she loves this book: “… Zusak writes with a poetic beauty that captures the way children take in the world around them. He often crosses the communication of the five senses”.
I so agree! What made this book amazing to me was how the author created a physical world of sensations with words and descriptions counter to their flat lettery two-dimensional black-and-whiteness. He gave taste and shape to the words and their meanings; like stumbling and pouring out a different dimension of the universe. The narrative is creative and sensation-able.
I knew I wanted to read this book after seeing tons of praise for it. The Book Lady has also read some of these ‘it-will-change-your-life’ reviews but wasn’t quite as impressed as the hype lead her to expect to be. She still enjoyed the book but “would have liked a bit more complexity” and less bluntness, more subtlety from Death, the narrator: “Instead of foreshadowing or hinting at events to come, he flat out tells us what’s going to happen”.
Personally, I didn’t find this style at all off-putting. It worked for me and made me eager to keep reading; a page-turner throughout. Softdrink, too, found it a bit long – and I admit that when I realized the page count exceeded 500, I was hesitant! I’m so not a chunkster-reader. But I sailed right through this.
The Bookfool was braver than I; she admitted that she was intimidated to review this but did a wonderful job! In her summation, “The Book Thief is a thought-provoking book, full of stunning imagery and, in my opinion, technically perfect with not the slightest deviation in tone. It’s worth talking about, passing around, setting up on the good shelves for a future reread; and it has just rocketed to the top of my list of best books read in 2006.”
Well, this has rocketed to the top of my list of best books read in 2009. I highly recommend this. If not on YOUR tbr, put it there. If it IS on your tbr, MOVE IT UP.
And, since I keep editing this post and finding more reviews to read, I’ll add just one more thing: Serena of Savvy Wit and Verse and Anna of Diary of Eccentric are coordinating the challenge War Through the Generations and they post bits of reviews from submissions. So, click here for even more thoughts, enticements, and critiques of The Book Thief.
* Ich habe keine ahnung –> I have no idea. or… I have no NOTION. I only took a bit of German in high school. Knowing a smattering of the language and being of German heritage might be more reasons I loved the book. Zusak sprinkles some German words into the text but almost always immediately defines it for the reader. Without disrupting the flow of the narrative.
** CFWP = Care Five Whole Pie