This is the fifth book for young adults written by this Australian author and recipient of several awards, prizes, and honours (including a very long stretch of time on the New York Times Bestseller List.) Markus Zusak grew up hearing stories of Nazi soldiers marching Jews through his mother’s small German village; and set out to tell a story that would simultaneously educate and evoke a wide range of emotions from the reader…and it certainly delivers.
Set during World War II and narrated by Death (as tired and frustrated a narrator as there ever was); the story follows a young girl and her struggles to find her place in a new foster family. Liesel Meminger arrives in Molching as a malnourished young child who has recently witnessed the death of her only brother and has been left to foster care by a mother who can no longer care for her. As Liesel finally begins to find her place in her new family and community, an unexpected visitor arrives with the power to destroy her and her new-found sense of home. Hiding a Jew in your basement is just not something good German families do – but none-the-less Liesel and her family open their home, their hearts, and their paint cans to this young man.
Studded with moments of humour, sadness, and joy; this book will open your eyes to sides of Nazi Germany you may never have imagined. Though written for young adults; I found that many of the concepts, themes, and situations in this book are geared more towards an adult level of comprehension. I would not consider this a “light” read, or one that will leave you with a sense that “all is right in the world”- but it is an excellent story that will make you very glad to have spent the time and effort! Stop by the library branch to reserve a copy today. You won’t be sorry!
Watch for the movie being released this Christmas! Which did you prefer - the movie or the book?