'Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.'- Angela Carter

Sunday, 19 January 2014

REVIEW: The Book Thief - Marcus Zusak

The Book Thief - Marcus Zusak
The Book Thief
This is the tale of the book thief, as narrated by death. And when death tells a story, you really have to listen.

It's just a small story really, about, among other things:

A girl
An accordionist
Some fanatical Germans
A Jewish fist fighter
And quite a lot of thievery.
For the first time I actually have nothing to say about a book. I didn't dislike it, but I wouldn't say I enjoyed reading this book either. I don't know if it was the way the narrative was set out or if it was the bland descriptions, but I just couldn't get as emotionally involved in this book as many others managed to. I found it hard going in places and this wasn't because of the subject matter. I learnt a lot about Nazi Germany during my A Levels so was ready to read something from the point of view of the German citizens. I was looking forward to reading a book that has had so many rave reviews and 5* ratings, but something about this book just didn't resonate with me. I found myself feeling bored and looking forward to the end - or for something to evoke some sort of emotional response in me.

With so many reviews stating how emotionally exhausting this book is it's safe to say I felt pretty heartless reading this book. I found myself wondering why I wasn't having the same reactions. The deaths fell flat to me and I just couldn't find it in me to drag up the 'appropriate' response to some of the dialogue. I found myself praying for passionate speech and writing; something to take me out of this world and into the world of Liesel. This didn't happen. Don't get me wrong, I did feel pity for her quite often throughout the book. I found myself horrified at the effects of the war and feeling so, so lucky that I didn't have to live through a time like that. It brought back all the knowledge I had learnt about the treatment of the Jews. The thing is, I found these events horrifying because of the fact that this actually happened, not because of the way the author had written it.

This wasn't a book for me. I can definitely see why people like it. I get why it has been on the bestseller list. For me though, it all fell a little flat. I wasn't invested in the characters and I found myself longing for the ending so that I could pick up a different book. I put off buying it for a very long time because it didn't sound like my cup of tea. I gave in though, there are so many rave reviews that I couldn't wait to find out what the fuss was all about. I'm glad I've read it, but it isn't a book that I'll be rushing off to re-read or a film that I'll go and see unfortunately.


  1. I have yet to read this but I know how you feel. Everyone loved Code Name Varity and got emotional yet I thought it was just okay and did not get emotional at all. I got Book Thief for Christmas so I will be picking it up soon, so we shall see how I take to it!

    Ashley @ The Quiet Concert

  2. Aww too bad! I was quite looking forward to this one despite me not being neither history fan nor WWII fan (not the fight, the era of history!), it's just my general dislike for the genre too - too realistic for my liking. I plan to read it someday but I wont hurry.
    Thanks for an honest review :)

  3. Sorry to hear that you didn't like it that much. I'm currently reading it but I'm not far in so I can't say what I think of it yet. We'll see how it goes...

  4. Aww, it sucks doesn't it when you're the ''odd man out'' and just don't get the hype for a book EVERYONE and their dog is gushing about! I'm so sorry this one fell flat for you hun but to be honest, I have a feeling I might have a similar experience with this one! I don't know why but I think so - anyways your review put things in perspective for sure. Now I know not everyone adored this book. I might still read it one day, but I'm definitely not in a hurry. Lovely review though ^^ :-)

  5. I had some trouble with the book but ended loving it, so I completely understand you. There are plenty of books everyone loves and you just don't get the hype. Hope you enjoy your next reads. :D


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