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The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak

PBR Review Although this book is labeled Young Reader, it is packed with enough personality and thought provoking substance to make its appeal much broader. Initially the young adult label put me off, but it was recommended with such enthusiasm I bought it anyway. I have since learned that is has been marketed as a young adult book in some countries and as an adult novel in others.It is helpful to know beforehand that the narrator is Death; otherwise you may find the start of the book a little confusing. Looking at events from Deaths perspective gives the book an interesting twist and a unique perspective. You feel his compassion and confusion as he is witness to the brutalities of the human race. You sense his understanding of human weakness and frailty.The book is set in Nazi Germany providing a background for a variety of characters. You meet the hard lined obsessed Nazis and the German citizen willing to risk everything to hide the Jews from them. You quickly become emotionally involved with the title character Liesel and her best friend Rudy as you watch the war come closer and intrude more and more on their day to day lives. The story and the characters are believable. The book is intense, memorable and beautifully written in a clean style. I highly recommend it.Back.
Talking Points: The narrator of this book is death and his perspective on war and the day to day lives of the characters is unique and a great discussion topic. The voice the author chooses for him will also spark conversation; it's impartial and devoid of emotion causing different perspectives on the same topic to emerge. There are several other threads that will also generate discussion such as abandonment, the atrocities of war, and the power and allure of the written word. This book will appeal to book clubs that enjoy well written captivating stories.
PBR Reader Comments:
The writing in this book is amazing and the messages on the meaning of family and friendship even more so. Its a moving, profound novel that will be a classic. I highly recommend.
by-Johanna 2009/07/05, 05:34 PM

This is a powerful emotional story with great character development. Death is the narrator, which at first I found bazaar but in the end was a very effective tool for depicting the trials of dealing with the Holocaust, acting as a sort of buffer to the horror of it as Death is very matter of fact in this regard. It was a little hard to get into hence the 4 stars but seriously good once you did.
by-Lyn 2009/03/16, 05:06 PM

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