The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This was one of those books that are unique in the way they are presented, with a unique author’s voice, but one that fails to thrill. I think the relatively high ratings are due to sympathy votes since the topic is centred on German children and families that do not espouse Hitler’s cause and who are forced to hide their true feelings about the Swastika and Nazi propaganda. Basically we follow the life of Liesel Melinger who meets the face of death from the onset, having lost her father and brother from a young age. Her adopted parents soon earn her love and she discovers that they are folks that truly know how to love and to distinguish right from wrong even if this means opposing the tide and making enemies of their neighbours. Markus describes the horrors of war quite well through the eyes of Death who is also a main character in the novel, which gives a unique perspective to the story. I think this novel was not written to entertain or enthral but to make a point, to show how futile, selfish, egotistic and wrong Hitler’s war on the world was. And it also paints the treatment of the Jewish nation in a unique grey colour showing how, when brainwashed, man can reach new beastly lows.

For the message being carried across, though it has been hammered into us by many other authors, I would have given a 5 star. But, since this is not only a rating about content but reader’s enjoyment, I am forced to lower the rating to 3.4 stars. I’m sure these messages have been pushed across by other authors in a more talented and engrossing manner.

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