When I saw the ads on television for this new film called the Book Thief, somehow or other I felt there should be a book it was based on. So, I searched, found and then found the book in a local bookshop. Which I bought of course (the book, not the bookshop). So...
The blurb: Here is a small fact
You are going to die
1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.
Some important information
This novel is narrated by Death
it's a small story, about:
a girl, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter and quite a lot of thievery
Another thing you should know
Death will visit the book thief three times.
My verdict: well, it was a bit difficult to get into the book, mainly because Death (who is narrating) occasionally intersperses with his own thoughts. However, once I got over that, the story flowed nicely. More than nicely actually, I got totally hooked on it. Of course I only read it on the bus. So, a few pages here and a few pages there were all I was able to. But in the end, I read the last fifty pages at home. And cried at the end.
The story is about Liesel who will be dropped off with her brother at a foster family. However her brother dies on the train and that will change a lot in Liesel's life. And all this takes place in Germany just before and during World War II. And I was really glad to read about normal families and their joys and sorrows. Yes, there were Nazis and yes, there were Jews being deported, but it gave another glimpse as well. A life of poor Germans who didn't necessarily support the Nazi party or the whole 'all Jews are bad' idea. Which made the book a richer book for it.
There was however one thing bugging me. The blurb mentioned a concentration camp for her parents. But in the book there is no mention of it. Yes, her parents were communists, hence Liesel and her brother are going to live with another family. Yes, the likelihood of her mother ending up in a concentration camp is very likely, seen as she is a communist, but not even Death really went into that (and he did for many of the other 'minor' characters in the book). Plus there is hardly any mention of her father at all.
Anyway. I would recommend the book. Definitely. To young adults as well as older adults. Because it is a great book. Now I will have to see whether the film lives up to the book...