Reviews in 200 Words

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

In Fiction, Young Adult Literature on May 13, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Germany glows with the Führer’s bonfires. Stealing a book is an act of defiance and hiding a Jew is an act of treason. Everything, it seems, is punishable by death. He is coming. He knows when, where and why. You cannot escape.

But in a book narrated by Death himself, dying is the least punishment distributed. Even getting through the book is a kind of punishment. You started this, now you have to finish it. Death knows how this ends, and still he has a sense of humor. Sometimes his secrets slip out.

It doesn’t hurt any less.

This is a book about 40 millions deaths costumed in the story of a little girl, her friends, her family, and the Jew they hide in the basement.

The worst punishment? The laughter through the tears as the final pages turn. Because even as the words snap, whip, and beat the reader with the butt-end of a rifle – even as the world is swamped in Nazi red, white, and black – the reader smiles. Because this is a story about a little girl holding Death at bay, looking him in the face and smiling while the world burns in his wake.

-Jay Cullis

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