One of the most powerful ways we communicate with one another is via words and one will feel the strength of words once they go through a book as impactful as “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak.
The story revolves around Liesel, a little girl growing up in Germany during WWII. Hans and Rosa are Liesel’s foster parents. Liesel steals multiple books during the novel. She has no idea how to read at first, but she recognizes the significance of the book. Hans observes her and explains how to read the letters to her.
Although Rosa and Hans aren’t Jewish, they oppose the Nazi dictatorship and secretly resist it by concealing a Jewish youngster, Max, in their basement. Hans assists a Jew who’s struggling to deal with the group as they march to a concentration camp, and their anti-Nazi emotions are kept hidden. The soldiers retaliated by whipping Hans and the man he aided.
Hans is concerned that this occurrence would raise suspicions about his family and that Max will no longer be secure in his basement, hence he sends him elsewhere. After Max has left, Liesel is handed a book he produced for her called “The Word Shaker,” in which he writes about their relationship and promises that they will be reunited. Hans is subsequently enlisted into the German army, where he breaks his leg and is sent home to recover.
Max was unable to flee the Nazis, and Liesel witnesses him being marched through town on his way to a concentration camp. Liesel is handed a blank notebook to write her narrative in while the conflict progresses. ‘The Book Thief,’ she calls it.
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Hans, Rosa, and her buddy Rudy are all dead when her neighborhood is attacked one day. Liesel abandons her book among the ruins. Max returns to find Liesel when the war finished and the Jews are emancipated, and the two are reunited joyfully. Liesel moves to Australia, start a family, and lives to be a ripe old age at the end of the book.
This story is about a little girl who endures awful circumstances and seeks to improve her life and the lives of others around her. It demonstrates how her foster parents’, Rudy and Max’s, love affects her perception of the world. It’s a tale of resilience.
The novel is divided into 88 sections, with four Prologues and four Epilogues. The following 80 chapters are separated into 10 segments, each of which covers one of the ten books Liesel obtains or writes. Each title’s plot is given in an exact number of chapters (eight in total).
Death is a prominent subject in a novel told by Death, as one might anticipate. In The Book Thief, however, only one sort of death stands out. The narrative follows Liesel from the age of nine to fourteen, which is crucial.
She watches the deaths of her relatives and friends regularly over that time, but none of them die of natural causes. Her brother’s illness-related death and her mother’s disappearance can both be traced back to her communist father’s persecution by the Nazis.
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The topic of wartime fatalities may also be traced back to World War I when Max’s father saves Hans’ life on the battlefield by making a passing remark on his handwriting.
By allowing readers to explore Liesel’s romance with words, readers are given a significant break from the war-focused story, giving us glimpses of the carnage while masterfully deflecting with other central plot points, such as the relationships between Liesel’s love with stories and words, the children on Himmel Street, or her strained connection with her foster mother Zusak achieves a nice medium between a dark, tortured horror thriller and the study of youth and Liesel’s coming-of-age storyline by doing so.
We also come to know that Germans hated Hitler. Yes, Jews and Communists weren’t the only ones who despised Hitler. When Germany joined the Second World War, Hitler unleashed a veritable bag of worms. Those who did not register with the Nazi Party were fired. Without a choice, all of the young men and men were ordered to the front lines, and the vast majority of them never returned. Prices skyrocketed, leaving people little alternative but to rob from others. As a result, Nazi Germany was a jumble of people with ambiguous allegiance, raging passions, and rumbling bellies. It’s no surprise that the Allies prevailed.
One of the hallmarks of a great novel is how it makes the reader think about a particular topic, and I can confidently say that not only did Zusak comment on the insufficient disparity between social classes and demographics, but he also managed to provide a voice to something our lives–will never be allowed to speak, much like the oppressed people who were silenced during Adolf Hitler’s reign.
Overall, this is a wholesome and impacting book.