*WARNING – Contains Spoilers!*
What a book.
I have a fair few favourite books and it takes a lot for me to call a book or a series one of my ‘favourite.’ But this is now up there with my all-time greats. With some books I find it very difficult to imagine the voice of the speaker, or get into a book straight away. A lot of the time it will take me a few chapters before I find myself immersed in a book.
I did not have this trouble with this book.
Automatically I was captured by the writing and transported to Germany. The clever aspect of the book being told from Death’s point of view was truly special. Death telling Liesel’s story made it more believable and perhaps more harrowing. I also liked that Death was telling a story of a young girl growing up in Nazi Germany. As so many of the stories I know are obviously told from the perspective of the British. I like that it reminded me of the casualties and struggles in Germany and not only in my own country.
The book to me was a little bit of light, in a time so dark.
For those of you who don’t know here’s a little bit of background. The book centres around Liesel Meminger, a girl who is sent to live with her foster parents, as her mother is a communist. She is unknown to this at the time and is instructed to call her new parents ‘mama’ and ‘papa.’ Overtime she begins to love them as if they were her own parents, especially her papa who teaches her to read and write. It is at the beginning of the book, when she tragically loses her brother, that she steals her first book. And so it is from here the book stealing begins.
Along the way she has nightmares of her dead brother which starts her ‘papa’s tutoring. She also quickly befriends a boy named Rudy. Who, as a reader, I fell head over heels for. His spoiler death, is perhaps, for me one if the most heart-breaking, as the character of ‘Death’ tells us early on that he is going to die. He tells Liesel throughout the book that he will get a kiss from her one day. You should read the book to find out if he ever did get that kiss.
We also meet Max. A Jew. Liesel’s relationship with Max is a very important one and key for understanding Liesel and Papa as characters. Long ago, her Papa helped a man in the First World War, and as a result they have to hide this Jew now.
Unfortunately, the Nazi’s are at large and Papa has to go back to War.
Another key aspect for me was the humour, which was why, perhaps, it was such an easy read. Like I said before, there is so much light in it, in a time that should have been and was so dark. Also the narrator is Death, which is humorous in itself. The most humour comes from Mama and Rudy, and their choice for words and actions. Mama loves her few German swearwords and they really help to set the book alight!
This book, is beautifully written and had me gripped from the start. It is a story of love, life and loss. And the last few pages are complete heartbreakers.
It is a definite must read!
It is a definite must read!
What’s your ‘Favourite’ Book?