To sum up ‘The Book Thief’ in one word: Wow.
While I finished crying – something I haven’t done with a book in a long time – I began to question how I was going to start explaining just how brilliant this book is. Perhaps I should start by thanking the Stylish Dreamer for recommending this book in the first place, because that’s where I first heard about it! The title alone gripped me. But I also remembered Sasha’s praise and bought the first copy I put a hand on.
Admittedly it had been a while between reading any reviews and actually reading the story myself. I couldn’t exactly remember why it was loved, only that it was. And as with many things, it turned out not to matter, for Zusak grips you from page one and doesn’t let you go until the story is out. His writing is compelling and comforting. An odd concept to relate to our narrator, a personified death, who very much feels like a friend throughout. I loved his character. I found myself hoping he was real so one day I will meet him!
Zusak certainly crafts realism. It has to be appreciated the amount of research that must have gone into this story. (In fact, out of curiosity, I did look it up. The events in the characters lives are inspired by true stories he has been told.) Even before knowing that, the story has you in two mind sets. One realises how awful a situation the characters are in. One tells you there is always a silver lining. You find yourself enamoured with one of the most horrific events in history.
If there were ever a way to make people see that the world is made of destruction and love simultaneously, then Zusak found it and perfected it. His story, for me, is nothing short of genius.
That being said, absolutely it broke my heart. The Book Thief is a world you fall into, fall in love with, and when it finishes you almost forget another place exists. Of course I’m going to recommend it to everyone.