Rating: 4/5 stars
The Book Thief is a story about the life of Liesel Merminger, an orphan living in Germany during World War 2. As I presume you all know, Germany is infamous for the Holocaust, where millions of Jews were persecuted and killed. In a dramatic twist of events, Liesel and her adopted family finds a Jewish man on their doorstep, whom they cared for as he lived under the basement. Liesel scratches out a meagre existence for herself by stealing something that she can’t resist — books. With the help of her foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with the Jewish man and her neighbours.
As we progress through the book, Liesel comes to understand the power of words, as being able to read not only empowers her, but it also empowers others. The book is also full of visually strong moments: the literal “whitewashing” of a bad book (Mein Kampf) into a good one, the young Jew’s fantasy boxing fight with Hitler. And if that does not convince you to read the book, the interesting thing is: the whole story is narrated by and told in the point of view of Death.
In sum, this is an unforgettable story of the ability of books to feed the soul.