I think I’ve said before that one of my absolute favorite books is The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak. I spent years working on reading that book, for some reason never able to quite get into it until one day I did, and then I couldn’t put it down. The Book Thief is one of those books that I judge all other books against (in the way my mother told me I’d judge all other boys against my first boyfriend) because it was not only an incredible story, but was also amazingly written. It left me near-sobbing on a bench in the middle of town, in the few minutes before my lunch-shift started at the Irish Pub where I was waitressing at the time (and not much makes me cry, in terms of fiction).
If you haven’t heard of The Book Thief, it’s a Holocaust story but at the same time not. The book takes place in the life of a Jewish girl who has been taken in by a German family during the Holocaust. A lot like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, this book takes place over a number of years, narrated by Death and always following Liesel from the time she is a little girl terrified of her new home, and through the years following that day.
Throughout the book, Death never keeps a secret – always telling you the points in a story which would otherwise be a twist. Somehow though, you’re always shocked, confused, and heartbroken when what he promised happens. There’s never a point where you don’t almost know exactly what’s going to happen, but somehow, I was still shocked at every turn of the page and I couldn’t put it down.