Monday, March 3, 2014

The Book Thief

Liesel is a foster girl that has gone to live just outside Munich in 1939. She lives with an accordion player and his wife. She begins stealing with other children in the village. They start out stealing food. Her foster father starts teaching her to read, and as she discovers books, she cannot stop stealing them. During bombing raids, Liesel reads the books she has stolen to her neighbors. She also reads with the Jewish man her foster parents are hiding in the basement.

I did not understand all of the hype about this book. I found the writing to be choppy. The use of death as the narrator would normally be an interesting element to the story, but it was executed poorly. Death seemed obsessed with interrupting the story to provide facts to the reader they either already knew, or should have been able to read as part of the story in a more natural way. Death also gave away the ending several times, which lessened the impact of the ending.

The main characters were suppose to garner sympathy, yet I could not move past my irritation with the way the characters and their story were being presented to feel anything for them. There was a shallowness to the characters that could have easily been fixed. Repeating a scenario or a saying does not help the reader know the character.

I found it annoying to have everything repeated so many times without learning any new information. The things the characters said were repeated incessantly. Their actions were repeated throughout the book. Even the ending which should have only been told once, was given away by the narrator several times. The story could have been told in a quarter of the length of this book.

While reading, it seemed like the author was trying too hard. There were a lot of attempts to use metaphors to illustrate the characters feelings and experiences, but they seemed out of place, and often did not make sense. If the author had relaxed and focused more on the story and not trying to make it something it was not, the story would have flowed much better.

I have read a lot of books about World War II, so I was interested in reading a book set in that period that had received so much attention. I did not care for this book, and would recommend reading a different book about a young adult's experience during World War II.

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