As many children left their families for foster parents during World War II, so did Liesel and her brother, except he did not survive. He never did reach the doorstep of Hans and Rosa Hubermann. The loss of her brother was Liesel’s first encounter with death. It was then too that Death started taking an interest in her. In fact, Death narrates her story. Readers are invited to adopt a different perspective as the events of Liesel’s time on Himmel street unfolds, from adopting to her life with her foster parents, to hiding a Jew in their basement, and to her friendship with Rudy Steiner. Of course, Liesel’s motivations for becoming a book thief are also revealed.
Instead of sticking to one format for this book, I alternated between the audiobook and the ebook. For the audiobook, I enjoyed listening to Allen Corduner. It somehow made the narrative form of “The Book Thief” more real for me. Though it is a good thing I read parts myself too because of the various illustrations.
As much as I rated this a 5 out of 5, I must admit that I could not read this in one sitting. It wasn’t so much that at 550 pages in print, it is a long book. It was more so because some parts felt somewhat long-drawn. Perhaps that was because the plot didn’t matter as much as the events themselves. There were parts that purposely went against the grain of building suspense before a climax, as plots conventionally are expected to be written. Instead, readers are challenged to think about various issues.
The writing style is simple and clear. Still, even though this book has been targeted at older juvenile and young adult readers, it is so multi-faceted, it should appeal to the adult reader as well. I wouldn’t recommend it to those who are looking for a quick read but for those looking to be challenged, this is a great book.Fuller review here.