I am participating with Ricki Jill's from Art @ Home , weekly party Literary Friday. You should go over to her blog and check out all of the other book reviews.
History was one of my favorite subjects in school and for some reason I found I liked reading about World War II. I do not know what drew me to the books while in school but I enjoy reading about them like The Diary of Anne Frank and The Upstairs Room to name two right off the back. When I participated with my first Books n' Blogger Swap. You can read about it here. Beth from A Living Goddess Life chose this book for me. It was a book she thought I would like. Beth, you were so right! I loved this book!!!! Thank you so much. I saw the movie as a trailer at the theater and knew I had to read the book first. Todd wants to read it as well. I loved the book so much I bought a copy for Kaylee from Chair in the Shade. It was on her Wish List.
The setting is 1939, Nazi Germany. The main narrator of the book is Death himself. He is very busy during this era but takes time to follow the main character Liesel Meminger. The reader will get to hear her perspective too during this story. The story begins with Liesel a German girl on a train with her younger brother and mother en route to a foster home for the children. Liesel's little brother does not make the journey and this is the first time Death meets Liesel and she becomes an interest to him. She also steals her first book near her brother's graveside, The Gravedigger's Handbook.
Leisel is placed with Rosa and Hans Hubermann as foster parents. Hans is such a loving man who makes money on the side playing the accordion. He served in World War I and a friend basically saved his life. He was the only one in his troop to survive the war. This friend is the person who taught Hans how to play the accordion and Hans wanted to return the accordion to his friends wife. His widow did not want the accordion because she had so many. Hans noticed his friend had a son, Max which Hans never knew of. Hans offered the widow to reach out to him if she needs anything at all because he feels a debt to her. Hans has such a loving and helpful character he took a shine to Leisel and when it was clear she had trouble learning, he created a learning center downstairs. He painted one wall where they would list words she learned to read successfully and kept building from there. He would sleep in a chair in her room to comfort her when she woke up in the middle of the night from the nightmares she had of her brother dieing.
Her foster mother, Rosa was a funny character I thought. I loved how out spoken she was. She reminded me of my Grandma Rich in some ways but she was hard on the outside where my Grandma was not. Later in the book we do see a gentle and loving side of Rosa.
Leisel's best friend is a boy named Rudy. Rudy likes Leisel more than a friend, eventually Leisel realizes she has the same feelings but a little too late. Rudy looks out for Leisel in his own way. Times were tough and people were going hungry. The children found they started to steal food because they were so hungry. Eventually Leisel steals books instead of food and this is how Rudy gave her the nickname of Book Theif. This part of the story of who she is stealing the books is so sweet in my opinion. I do not want to go into details to give it away but the books are from someone she becomes very close to. They help one another out in several ways.
Eventually Hans receives word that his friend's widow she tells him she will take him up on his offer and needs his help to hide her son Max; to keep him safe because they were Jewish and being Jewish in Germany was very bad as we all knew. Hans and Rosa kept their debt to this family no matter how dangerous it was for them and hid Max in their basement. Leisel understood she had to keep this a secret from everyone outside the house. Max and Leisel develop a relationship beginning with books and eventually that grew into truly caring about one another. Max writes a story for Leisel as a gift. This story is about Max's life. Leisel was so upset when they had to leave Max during the air raids where everyone would have to go to pointed houses which had better basement or a bomb cellar. During these raids, Leisel would read to everyone trying to keep the children calm. It is shortly after one of these raids Hans tells Max he is not safe any longer in their basement and Max takes off in the woods. Leisel later sees him during one of the parades of Jews heading towards the concentration camp outside of town. This part of the book tears at your heart. Leisel becomes a writer her self and writes her own story after the air raids began and after Max had to leave. She completes it shortly before the major bombing. Death then becomes the Book Thief when he steals her book which was placed in a garbage truck while humans were cleaning up the rubble from the bomb.
This book has so many things to love about it. I loved how Death is haunted by humans and how he takes little vacations from his job of collecting the dead. Once in a while Death will connect with a human and Leisel is one of those humans.
I cannot wait for the movie to come to Netflix or cable. I am so interested to see how they portray Death in the movie. Thank you Beth for the great book you gave me.