Sunday, 18 September 2016

The Book Thief-Markus Zusak

The_Book_Thief_by_Markus_Zusak_book_coverThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Date started: 10 June 2016

Date finished: 25 July 2016

Title: The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, New York

First published: 2005


Format: Paperback

Pages: 550 pages

ISBN: 978-038-575-472-9


Rating: 5/5

First the colors.

Then the humans.

That’s usually how I see things.

Or at least, how I try. (page. 3)

It was January 1939, and Liesel was nine year old—soon to be ten—when she’s on the train along with her brother and her mother toward Munich to see their foster parents. Her brother, however, didn’t make it. Both of them were supposed to be at their foster parents’ house in Himmel Street by morning, living a new life,  having a new home and family, but unfortunately Liesel had to see her brother buried by two gravediggers. And that was where Liesel start her first act of book-thievery. ‘The Grave Digger’s Handbook’ was a gate for her to understand the hidden power of words, even though she couldn’t read even a word back then, she kept the book that later will bring her to another book-thieving act and another story. It was her foster father, Hans Huberman, who helped her reading, and also writing, through the night in their basement after she’s awaken from her nightmare.

You wouldn’t think it, she wrote, but it was not so much the school who helped me to read. It was Papa. People think he’s not so smart, and it’s true that he doesn’t read too fast, but I would soon learn that words and writing actually saved his life once. Or at least, words and a man who taught him the accordion... (page 64)

Later, things went on pretty seriously. Nazi raided more region, bombing were everywhere, and they keep on hunting The Jews. Liesel had enough with hiding and keeping secrets of the books she had stolen, and now she had to keep a secret of another serious thing that risk the life of herself along with her foster parents’. A Jew came knocking on their door one day, looking for sanctuary, and Herr Huberman owe his life to the Jew’s father. Herr Huberman knew he had to help The Jew, named Max Vandenburg, since Max’s father left for war, hand over his life, and died, while Herr Huberman was left at the camp, alive, and completely fine.

Still no one stepped forward, but a voice stooped out and ambled toward the sergeant. It sat at his feet, waiting for a good kicking. It said, “Hubermann, Sir.” The voice belonged to Erik Vandenburg. (page 177)

First thing first, I am frequently checking on the internet about the list of books I should read—before I die. And as long as I can remember, this book is always on every list. I have no idea what is this book about, I haven’t watched the movie yet, and I wonder. Therefore when I saw this book on a ‘speciel price’ shelf of a bookstore, I quickly grabbed the book. And the other thing. Usually, after buying a or some books, those new books remain in my book shelf for a long time, still in a wrap, and remain unread for such a longer time. Like, really long time. But this book, well, it takes me—ONLY—a few months to finally open up the plastic wrap and read it and, yeay, finish it within a month.


The thing is, the writer used a completely different story-teller than any other book, and as long as i can remember, I have never read a book using Death as its story-teller.

You will know me well enough and soon enough, depending on a diverse range of variables. It suffices to saya that at some point in time, I will be standing over you, as genially as possible. Your soul will be in my arms. A color will be perched on my shoulder. I will carry you gently away. (page 4)

The first thing crossed my mind when I heard about this book’s story-teller is that this book is going to be dark, full of misery, and scary, and gloomy, and bleak. It turned out that the narrator—mostly—tell us a sad story. Well, yeah, it’s basically gloomy, but sad-gloomy. It’s not just a sad story that’ll make you feel sorry for the person told by Death, it’s a kind of sad story that’ll make you cry and wipe your tears many times. And yeah I cry a loooot.

The thing about using Death as a story-teller is that the author able to tell us the whole situation and condition freely without making it awkward. If people ever wonder why this book turned to another set or person while we still following the story of the main character, the author simply answer that it’s Death who’s on duty as your story-teller. And because Death is the only certain thing that will happen to every one, therefore Death is able to travel anywhere, and it’s impossible to use God as a story-teller without making the book controversial, therefore using Death as a story-teller is the only possible solution. The author could just use one of the main character’s point of view, but that will make the story awkward since there are more than one person’s life to tell to the reader. If the author used one of his main character’s point of view, Liesel’s for example, it sure will be awkward if Liesel told us a life of the other person, since they haven’t known each other yet. Or, the author could use two point of view from his main character, in this case, author could use Liesel’s and Max’s. If it’s happen, I think it will make the story less touchy for me, since we’re focusing on two point-of-views. Nevertheless, both characters share the same sad-story of loss, but still, if the author use two point-of-views, I will feel less sympathetic for one of those character. Or maybe, the author could use third-person-point-of-view, author could also describe the whole situation and condition freely, since the third person is able to change the subject or the story as they want, but then again I will feel less sorry to the characters even if they tell us their greatest loss, even if the story should make us cry a river. I think it will be difficult to make readers feel the same agony the way character feels if the author use third person point-of-view, author needs to use one of his character as the story-teller to make a very deep story, a story-teller who knows a lot about the setting of the story, knows a lot about the person he/she’s going to tell to everyone, and that everyone has to feel like they have a very deep sympathy for that person. And Death is literally the best choice as a story teller.

He followed the map in his mind, from Pasing to Molching. It was late when he saw the town. His legs ached terribly, but he was nearly there—the most dangerous place to be. (page 168)

Dude, I can sit here all day, wasting like 3 pages just for writing a review about the story-teller of this book. The thing is I like it so much that the author using Death as his narrator. The first thing I love about this Death is that he/she told us how was it like picking up someone soul.

I think enough for me telling you about our narrator. Let’s get into our book-thief. Liesel, our book-thief, experienced several great loss. First she witnessed his brother passed away, on a train that supposed to take them to their foster parents. And then their mother completely left her behind. Liesel’s lucky enough to get a foster parents like Hubermanns. Papa taught her a lot espescially to enjoy her life, and short-tempered Mama always taught her about being honest. She might look like a grumpy woman, but she’s caring and loving, she put her family first before anything, including her foster kid and a Jew who stayed in her house. The thing is, each booklover has a lot of different ways to show people their love of books, and Liesel show them by being a book-thief. The other thing is, I have never seen someone so dedicated for their love of books that she keep on stealing them. The thing she found out from reading books is she realized that somehow words can be a powerful weapon, words can influence people, by influincing people we can somehow take control over them slowly. And that is exactly what Hitler did to the world. Through words he was able to convince and influence people, hold a control over everything.

I literally have no idea what is this book all about, all I know is that the main character is a girl who stole books, and it was set in Germany during the World War II. And that this book is recommended by a lot of reader on the internet, and my friends on a book club. I tell you once again, this book is not about a girl who steal book many times, left by her parents, and have to run and hide forever in order not to get caught and sent to the camp by Nazi. It’s merely about a friendship, about experiencing great loss, about being strong and patience. Liesel’s story is full of adventures, it’s cherishing. Meanwhile Max’s story, somehow, makes me desperate and put me into a grief. I’m literally out of words, actually. Well, here is the thing, if you haven’t read this book yet, and your friends or you read a lot of articles in the internet suggest you to read this book, well then you literally should read this book.

Oh, I forgot to tell you the other thing about our story-teller. As a story teller, Death is like our annoying friend who always watch new movies at the premiere date.



He didn’t deserve to die the way he did. (page 241)

He told us the ending of the story first, and then go back to the opening. It’s annoying. But interesting.


I am haunted by humans. (page 550)

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