Monday, August 9, 2010

Book Review - The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I finished it this morning. My tears were silent, because my husband was sleeping next to me. But I had to cough at one point and quickly wiped my eyes. Because tears on my face tend to excite him:

"Are you okay? What's going on? Is something wrong? Are you sad? What can I do to help?"

And I thought it would be better for him not to wake up that way. So I whispered an apology and he rolled toward me and put an arm across me and I read the rest of Markus Zusak's book with my husband's warm breath on my cheek.

And I thought, "Where did this book come from?"

I mean, I know it came from the mind of Markus Zusak. But it also came from courageous Germans, and a reprehensible man with words in his fists and a square black mustache, and starving Jewish prisoners who held hands with Death.

I first heard about this book at WIFYR. The title on a thousand pairs of lips, whispered everywhere. I don't remember exactly what was said about it, except one workshop member said my manuscript reminded him of The Book Thief and I heard over and over, "You haven't READ it?"

And I thought, "How great could it be?"

I didn't know. Now I do. Great and wonderful and searing and painful and perfect. PERFECT. I haven't read many perfect books. I actually stopped believing a book could be perfect anymore. I want to tell everyone about it, but I think I'll cry when I start to form the words. I want to buy twenty copies of it and hand it out to my parents, my brother, my friends, my children (they'll have to get a little older), my neighbors.

Markus Zusak. I want to shake your hand and say thank you. I wonder how you were made. You remind me of Athena, born fully-formed from the forehead of Zeus. I think, "Markus Zusak, where did you come from?" I know there are answers, completely mundane and logical. But none of them would match what The Book Thief has meant to me.

And I think I will start the book again this evening, and make notes in the margins and highlight passages that inspire me.

Well done, Markus Zusak. The Book Thief is unforgettable.


  1. yes yes! one of my all time favorites.

  2. Wow. You make me want to read this in a bad way.


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