The Bookshelf: The Book Thief

The Book Thief review

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.

  • Camila

    I completely agree – it is a book I judge and compare all other books to. It was life changing in a way. And I never know if I’m exaggerating, but I loved it so much! And yes it was heartbreaking!

    • Kiersten McMonagle

      I don’t think you’re exaggerating at all – The Book Thief was absolutely one of the best books I’ve ever read!

  • Kelsey F

    I think part of why I appreciated reading The Book Thief so much was how Death is such a compassionate character, so seeing the world of the novel through those eyes was a gift of an experience.

    • Kiersten McMonagle

      I loved that! Death is usually portrayed as being awful, and having him not only portrayed as compassionate and upset about the lives he had to take, but also that he was narrating it – it was an incredibly point of view, and a great scenario to apply it to

  • Mia Sutton

    The Book Thief was amazing! Definitely in the top ten of all time books. :) It was beautiful and sad at the same time.

    • Kiersten McMonagle


  • ursula @ Nothern Ambitions

    This is one of my favourites too. Actually, I remember reading another by the same author about a bank robber (I think) and it was really good, but again, that’s going back like 10 years so I don’t remember the name. There are some books that I will reread time and time again and each time, I am sucked it.

    • Kiersten McMonagle

      Oooo I know what book you mean – The Messenger! I own it, but haven’t really gotten into it yet. I really want to though, because I loved The Book Thief so much.

  • Chelsea

    One of my favorite books! The last line still gives me goosebumps!

    • Kiersten McMonagle

      Agreed! There were so many incredible lines in there, but I absolutely LOVED “I have loved the words and I have hated them, and I hope that I have made them right.”

  • Dani Fenton

    I completely agree, The Book Thief is up there with my all time favourites! It’s such a great story, told in such a beautiful & captivating way. I’ve read & re-read it so many times, I’ve lost count!

    What Danielle Loves

    • Kiersten McMonagle

      I’ve only read it once so far, but I’m getting ready to read it again because it was just so good. The point of view being from Death, who is usually portrayed as so awful, I think was one of the best parts about it.

  • Kristen Warren

    so beautifully written – the book thief is one of my very favourite books. i will always recommend it and i will always re-read it. i can’t even remember how i first stumbled across it, but i just love it.

    • Kiersten McMonagle

      I can’t either! I found it in my mom’s room when I was hunting for new books to read, and I’m so glad I did

  • Kenzie Smith

    I really, really want to read this book. I watched the movie and fell in love with it so I can only imagine how much I will love the book.

    • Kiersten McMonagle

      The movie was amazing! I definitely think you should read the book though, because getting to read that story from Death’s point of view was incredible, and that was hard to incorporate into the movie

      • Kenzie Smith

        I am definitely going to have to look into purchasing it! I can imagine how much better the book is.

  • Jessica Marie

    I LOVE the book! Surprisingly, the movie was really good as well (movies usually aren’t as good as the book).

    • Kiersten McMonagle

      I agree – the movie was amazingly done, and I actually cried a bit in the theater when I went to see it

  • Brita Long

    Yes, this is such a good book!

    • Kiersten McMonagle