by Markus Zusak
Liesel Meminger was nine years old when she stole her first book. She couldn't even read, but after watching her brother be buried, she simply felt the urge to take the book. Soon, her kind-hearted foster father, Hans, is teaching her to read, and she is stealing books from whenever they need saving. Including from a Nazi book-burning. Set during WWII, Liesel is a non-Jewish German living in Germany.
I found this book before I knew about the wonderful world of book blogs. The word thief is in the title, which means I was automatically drawn to it, and there is something about the cover that continued to draw me in. It still took months for me to find the book, but I finally got it for my birthday last year.
I have to admit that I was slightly turned off to it when I first started reading it. The language is very artsy feeling and it took me a while to adjust to it. Once I adjusted, I loved the lists and random facts that the narrator threw in. There is something very appealing about how sparse and yet fulfilling the language is. For example, in the very first chapter, the narrator explains what the story is about:
"It's just a small story really, about, among other things:
* A girl
* Some words
* An accordionist
* Some fanatical Germans
* A Jewish fist fighter
* And quite a lot of thievery"
Quite random sounding, and yet all of those things are important to the overall story.
I also loved the characters. From Liesel, who I rooted for, to her grouchy (yet, loving) foster mother Rosa. I thought her best friend Rudy's goal to be just like Jesse Owens (and the oft mentioned "Jesse Owen's Incident") was fabulous. Simply put, I just couldn't get enough of this book.
The inside book flap says "Markus Zusak....has crafted an unforgettable novel about the ability of books to feed the soul." and I agree with that assessment 100%.
5 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended