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"The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak, an Australian novelist

Updated on November 23, 2015
Liesel, entering the forbidden library of the burgermeister (mayor), to steal yet another book.
Liesel, entering the forbidden library of the burgermeister (mayor), to steal yet another book. | Source
Markus Zusak on the set of the filming of his novel, "The Book Thief."
Markus Zusak on the set of the filming of his novel, "The Book Thief." | Source

Novels by Markus Zusak

The Underdog 1999

Fighting Ruben Wolfe 2000

When Dogs Cry 2001

The Messenger 2002

The Book Thief 2005

The latest book I have read is the haunting and poignant story of The Book Thief, written by a young Austrialian writer, Markus Zusak. And, yes, it is also the film that is out right now and, of course, I have seen the film.

While the film is good, the book is much better. Isn't that always the case? So much more can be said and portrayed by words and that is the entire point of the novel. Words, stories, and literature are an important way we as humans connect with one another. They create an everlasting bond that is difficult to break. We reveal ourselves as human to others through words and, again, I cannot express that thought better than Zusak does through this lovely, sad, heartbreaking, but life affirming story.

This fictional novel takes place in a small German town outside of Munich, Germany during the years before and during WWII. It is the story of nine year old Liesel Meminger, given up by her mother to foster parents because she cannot care for her any longer.

It is a beautiful story of the relationships that Liesel forges in her new foster home and neighborhood on Himmel Street. (Heaven Street) Liesel learns and matures into a lovely young adolescent as she wholly lives life as we watch her grow up from the age of nine to thirteen.

And, we see her daily struggles in forging those relationships while dealing with Nazi Germany and all the horrors and restrictions that come with it as the result of the war.

This is a tender young adult novel and film that shows the beauty, kindnesses and caring for one another that comes about in the most horrendous time of the Holocaust. And, yes, Liesel is a book thief, but readers cheer her on as she strives to work against censorship and learns to read, flourish and thrive as a reader.

This is definitely a novel that should be picked up as part of the curriculum of WWII and the Holocaust in schools around the world. It gives a wonderful yet haunting portrayal of that horrific time in history. I cannot think of a better novel for eighth graders to read as it also includes a touching love story between Liesel and her friend, Rudy, the boy next door.

Papa comforts Liesel after a nightmare and discovers Liesel's book and that she cannot read.
Papa comforts Liesel after a nightmare and discovers Liesel's book and that she cannot read. | Source
Liesel and her best friend, Rudy Steiner.
Liesel and her best friend, Rudy Steiner. | Source
The book burning ceremony during Nazi rule in Germany.
The book burning ceremony during Nazi rule in Germany. | Source
from "The Book Thief"
from "The Book Thief" | Source
Rudy to Liesel in "The Book Thief"
Rudy to Liesel in "The Book Thief" | Source

The novel

What is different and unusual about this novel is that the narrator is Death. While you might think that is awfully morbid, it is not. Death is surprisingly humorous and witty - definitely not the Grim Reaper. Death is sympathetic and empathetic to the souls he must collect. He even jokes he is much too busy and over worked at this time because the the war and the Holocaust has him collecting more souls than usual.

Death is tender and loving towards the souls he collects in the most horrific of circumstances. But, he is delighted that although he is able to see Liesel from time to time in his work, he knows he will not be collecting her soul. That also is comforting to the reader to know this.

Death continues to comment throughout the novel on the thoughts, morals and actions of humanity. He does not have control over life and death, he just collects the souls for God and he even speaks too God saying, "I don't understand," and then answer's himself with, "But, it's not your job to."

The novel begins with Death introducing himself to us:

First the colors. Then the humans. That's usually how I see things. Or at least, how I try. HERE IS A SMALL FACT. . . You are going to die.

And, then begins the story of Liesel Meminger and her brother and mother on the way to their new foster home. Tragically, her sick brother dies on the train and they stop to bury him along the way in a small funeral. This is the first place that Liesel "steals" a book. She picks it up off the snowy ground next to her brother's grave.

Then Liesel continues on alone with the social worker to the home of the Hubermann's on Himmel Street in the town of Molching, Germany outside of Munich, Germany.

Liesel's new parents are Hans and Rosa Hubermann whose two children are now grown and no longer live at home. Papa is loving and caring toward's Liesel as he coaxes her out the the car and to come inside the house. He is quiet, reserved and a bit hen-pecked by his wife Rosa. He is an unemployed painter who plays the accordion.

Mama is stern and no-nonsense. She has taken in a foster child for the money she will be paid to do so. She calls everyone pig-headed, even sweet Liesel, and takes in laundry to wash and iron to make some money as her saukerl (pig-headed) husband is out of work. She runs the daily household and makes the rules.

Himmel Street is home to good, but poor Germans who eek out a living during the war. And there are playmates for Liesel, especially Rudy next door, who falls in love at first sight when he sees Liesel even though he is only nine years old.

In the meantime, Liesel makes friends with the neighborhood children and becomes best friends with Rudy, who adores her. They play soccer daily and Liesel becomes quite good at the sport. Rudy is always asking Liesel for a kiss, but she refuses, thinking it is a ridiculous request.

One evening, when Liesel has gone to bed, Papa discovers the book she has stolen from her brother's funeral, a how to book on grave digging, that she has hidden under the mattresses. He also discovers she cannot read and so he embarks on a mission to teach her to read as she wants this very much.

Because of the death and funeral of her brother, Liesel is prone to nightmares and it is Papa who comes to console and comfort her in the middle of the night. To calm her, he reads to her, and the next day he takes her to the basement where he has painted the alphabet on the basement wall and Liesel writes on the wall in chalk all the words she learns as she learns to read.

Liesel, as a German child must join Hitler's Youth Organization, and she wears the uniform and accepts the Nazi propaganda along with the other children without question until the night of the book burning.

All the residents of Mochling must attend the book burning ceremony where the mayor makes a speech denouncing all the undesirables in German society. Liesel is going along with the program as the mayor denounces the Jews and then the Communists. Here, Liesel stops singing, realizing her parents were Communists and are not liked or wanted by Hitler.

Now the world has changed for Liesel. Liesel now understands the importance of words, books and reading and so she embarks on a quest for as many books as she can find. She "steals" a book that has not been completely destroyed from under the burnt pile and hides the book under her clothing.

Papa finally finds her and as they are walking home, he realizes Liesel is hiding something. When he finds out it is a book from the book burning ceremony, he is very upset with Liesel, but when she explains how important books are to her he relents and allows here to keep the book. They end up reading it together.

Unbeknown to Liesel, Ilsa Hermann, the mayor's wife has seen her take the book from the burning pile that night. When Liesel delivers their laundry that Mama has washed and ironed, Ilsa invites Liesel into her library. Liesel is awed. She has never seen a room filled just with books before. Ilsa encourages her to pick a book and read it and Liesel is in heaven.

Each time Liesel returns the laundry to the Hermann house, Ilsa invites Liesel into the library and Liesel eventually learns that Ilsa has lost her son in the war on the Russian front Ilsa is distraught heartbroken, and depressed and Liesel tries to console her. Ilsa and her son used to read in the library and it does console Ilsa to have Liesel read there now.

Eventually, the war has caused so much ruin to the German economy in their town that the Hermann's cannot afford to have Mama Hubermann continue to do their laundry and so Liesel cannot return to Ilsa's library to read.

Hence, Liesel begins to "steal" books from Ilsa's library. Interestingly, Ilsa leaves the library window unlocked and open making it easy for Liesel to enter and fetch another book. Rudy always accompanies Liesel on these book stealing jaunts and he is the one that nicknames Liesel "the book thief."

Of course, the children are starving during the war, and Rudy, the practical one, always suggests that Liesel steal some food from the kitchen, but she does not. She only takes one book before leaving the Hermann house each time she enters.

Max Vandenburg, the young Jewish man who hides out in the Hubermann's basement.
Max Vandenburg, the young Jewish man who hides out in the Hubermann's basement. | Source
Liesel reads to Max in the basement.
Liesel reads to Max in the basement. | Source
Liesel and Rosa accompany Hans to the train where he will leave for German army duty in Essen.
Liesel and Rosa accompany Hans to the train where he will leave for German army duty in Essen. | Source
Rudy, Liesel and Rosa wait out the night in the bomb  shelter where Liesel tells a story to entertain and comfort the residents.
Rudy, Liesel and Rosa wait out the night in the bomb shelter where Liesel tells a story to entertain and comfort the residents. | Source

The story continues

More conflict arises in the Hubermann home as they hide a Jewish friend, Max Vandenburg, in their basement during the war. Max's father had saved Hans Hubermann's life during WWI and taught him to play the accordion and so Hans feels obligated to hide Max.

This is another important relationship that Liesel forms with Max. They bond because of their love of reading and Liesel observes Max writing. To seal their friendship, Max writes several stories for Liesel on the pages he has blotted out with white paint of Hitler's book, Mein Kampf.

When Max is sick, Liesel reads to him to keep him occupied. When he recovers, he is so glad for Liesel''s kindness, that he gives her the book and the stories he has written and encourages Liesel to write a journal. This becomes most important later in the story.

As the war escalates, the German soldiers march Jewish prisoners through Himmel Street on their way to Dachau concentration camp nearby Munich, Germany. The residents of Himmel Street line the street and watch the German soldiers cruelty and brutality towards the prisoners.

Hans Hubermann one day offers a piece of bread to a Jewish prisoner on his way to Dachau and is severely beaten by a German soldier for his kindness toward the Jewish prisoner. Now, Max must leave the Hubermann basement because they fear a Nazi Gestapo inspection of their house because of the incident. Max leaves in the middle of the night.

Liesel looks for Max each time Jewish prisoners are marched through Himmel Street and one day finally does see him. As her Papa had done, she offers Max a bit of bread and is beaten by one of the German soldiers until Mama comes to her rescue.

It is now 1943 and area bombings are starting. When the residents of Himmel Street are in the bomb shelter, Liesel, who has brought her books with her, reads to her neighbors and tells stories to calm everyone down and get their minds off their situation. Words, books and reading become an important way to heal the wounds and scars of war.

Eventually Himmel Street is bombed one night when everyone is sleeping and the sirens were not able to get off quickly enough for the residents to get to the bomb shelters. Liesel is the only one in the basement writing in her journal by candlelight. She is writing her life story as "the book thief" as Max has encouraged her to do. Liesel is the only one on the street to survive the bombing. It is words that have saved Liesel's life.

Mama and Papa have died and Liesel is devastated. And then, Liesel discovers Rudy has died. Liesel is inconsolable and she fills Rudy's lips with kisses -- what he had always wanted from her. Yes, Liesel had always loved Rudy back. Liesel is then taken in by Ilsa Hermann and the mayor and lives out the rest of the war with them.

In her grief and distress over the deaths of her most beloved foster parents and best friend, Liesel inadvertently leaves her journal at the bomb site. When Death arrives to collect the souls of the dead, he also picks up Liesel's journal and that is how he is able to narrate to us the story of "the book thief".

Liesel writes in her journal.
Liesel writes in her journal. | Source
from "The Book Thief"
from "The Book Thief" | Source
from "The Book Thief"
from "The Book Thief" | Source
from "The Book Thief"
from "The Book Thief" | Source
from "The Book Thief"
from "The Book Thief" | Source

Have you read the book or seen the movie?

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Analysis of the novel

I thought the use of Death as the narrator to be brilliant in this novel. Death weaves in and out of the novel, always there in the reader's consciousness to remind is that Death is the primary character in war.

Zusak creates Death as a person with a 'circular heartbeat' which makes him immortal, though he says he looks like and acts like a human person most of the time. He walks among us and he is not invincible. He is sick and tired of his job and he wants a vacation, but because of the war this is not possible. There is no one to replace him and he must collect those souls for God.

Some of the souls are heavy and some are light, like Hans Hubermann. And some are not to be collected until much, much later in life as with Liesel.

What I liked about the narrator Death is he skips ahead and warns us beforehand when a character will die, so when the death happens the reader is prepared and not shocked and completely devastated. Also, by making Death humorous and sympathetic, Zusak makes the readers sympathetic and empathetic to Death's job.

This novel has won numerous awards, and I can see why. With the opening words I was hooked on this novel and totally engaged and engrossed in this story.

Zusak makes clear that the power of words and stories is the most powerful way in which people connect with one another. As a short story writer, I have to agree. This is shown when Liesel and Hans connect and create a strong bond when he teaches her the alphabet and how to create words and read.

Max and Liesel bond strongly when she describes the weather to him as he hides in the basement. When he was ill, she reads to him and in return Max writes stories for Liesel. When he is forced to leave, Max gives Liesel the great gift of a journal which in turns saves her life in the Himmel Street bombing.

Zusak beileves words are the most powerful force there is. Hitler used words to mesmerize the people of Germany and take over the world. Words came first before the guns and conquering. Words are why Hitler had the book burnings all over Germany. He didn't want words other than his own to creep into the consciousness of the German people which could have destroyed what he was trying to do or build. He didn't want the German people to hear any other words than his own.

Liesel used words and books to create a refuge for herself and as a way of coping with the war. When she steals the books, Liesel is empowering herself and gaining control over her chaotic life during the war.

Max writes Liesel a story for her called "The Word Shaker." In the story Max creates, words are transformed into seeds which Hitler uses to create a forest that fills the German people with Nazi ideology.

In the story, Liesel grows her own tree and takes shelter in it. No one can chop it down, not even Hitler himself, though he tries. Max can also take shelter with her in her tree. Words and books will keep them safe and comfort them during the war.

Liesel's words that she leaves behind in her journal that Death picks up after the Himmel Street bombing is Death's connection and bonding with Liesel. And when Death narrates the story of "the book thief" Death creates the connection and bond the reader has with Liesel.

We learn that something we think as insubstantial as words can have life and death consequences on the world. Words could ultimately undermine the Nazi's and their cause. That is why the Nazi's burned books. They realized the importance and significance of words and ideas that can spread quickly.

The act of stealing appears repeatedly throughout this story. Liesel and Rudy also steal apples and potatoes from a nearby orchard. They steal the food because they are starving and Zusak does not portray these thefts as crimes.

Stealing was a way for Liesel and Rudy to take back control over a world that is out of control and beyond their control. And, Liesel develops from a powerless girl given to foster parents to a more mature, empowered young woman in her relationship with books and as "the book thief."

Liesel cannot read when the novel begins, but she gains power over books and her life as she learns to read and write. She comes to realize that 'knowledge is power.' As Liesel becomes more empowered, she becomes kinder and more understanding of those around her.

When the Hermanns have to end their laundry service with Rosa Hubermann, Liesel begins stealing books from the Hermann library to empower herself.

This maturation process and empowerment that Liesel feels is reflected in her friendship with Max. She uses books and words as a way to comfort Max in his illness and in his plight of hiding in the basement.

And she uses words, stories. and books to comfort and entertain her neighbors as she reads to them during bombing air raids.

The cruelty of war and also the kindnesses it produces also are important in this novel. Cruelty is portrayed by Franz Deutcher's treatment of Rudy especially at the Hitler Youth Organization. And, the cruel and criminal Viktor Chemmel bullies Rudy in the HImmel Street neighborhood..

But there are also small acts of kindness as when Ilsa Hermann invites Liesel into her library and purposely leaves the window open so "the book thief" can steal another book.

The Hubermann's hiding Max is a great act of kindness as they care for him physically and emotionally.

We see the cruelty of war as Hans' impulsive kindness to a Jewish man being paraded to Dachau, when he hands him some bread to ease his pain and suffering creates a paradox for himself. His act of kindness forces Max to leave the Hubermann basement.

And then there is the darkness. Darkness figures prominently in the novel and symbolizes the despair and ignorance that goes along with the war and the people who live on Himmel Street.

Death observes that people only observe the color at dawn and dusk, the end and beginning of darkness.

It is in the dark basement where Liesel learns to read and where Max is forced to live. By reading to Max. Liesel brings light into the darkness and his life. And, Liesel must fight the darkness to see the words they read and write.

And, Liesel is writing her story of "the book thief" by one candlelight in the basemenyt when the bombing occurs that kills everyone but her. Her story is the light that saves her and her story so that it can be told to us, the readers, by Death.

Liesel, the sole survivor of  the bombing of Himmel Street, clutches her journal.
Liesel, the sole survivor of the bombing of Himmel Street, clutches her journal. | Source

The film

I liked the film and thought it was a good one. But, I have to recommend at some point reading the book, either before or after seeing the film. I read the book first and then saw the film. The film leaves out important parts of the novel I would suppose to condense the story into a two hour movie.

All the parts about Max and his writing of his stories for Liesel are left out of the movie and these are important parts of the book and of the story. There are a few changes also from the novel to the movie.

I have to agree with what the critics have said about the movie that the pacing could be better. I agree as there are important parts that go too quickly and some parts that drag too much.

I have to say, this movie was perfectly cast. Geoffrey Rush as Papa is just spot on. He is so loving and kind to his 'lost Liesel' and eases her adjustment into life on Himmel Street, while at the same time teaching her so much through his compassion for her plight and all their plights.

Emily Watson as Mama is great. She calls everyone in her way 'pig-headed,' and loves Liesel deeply, but is not as able to show this as Papa does. There is one tender scene between Liesel and Mama that will delight you and you know she loves Liesel as much as Papa, but is so frustrated and in despair over the war, hiding Max, and running the house that she doesn't come across as very compassionate.

Sophie Nelisee, a French-Canadian actor, is just wonderful as Liesel. Her portrayal is spot on also. She is beautiful and haunting at the same time and has captured exactly the character of Liesel. Her portrayal pulled at my heartstrings. I have never seen her in anything else before, but I hope this performance gives her more work in films. I thought she was exquisite.

I highly recommend reading this extraordinary book but I also recommend seeing the film also. I was just a bit disappointed in the film because it had to leave what I considered important parts out of it. But whether you read or view this important story, I think you certainly will enjoy the story of The Book Thief.

The Book Thief - a preview

© 2013 Suzette Walker


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    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      4 years ago from SW England

      This is indeed a comprehensive review of both book and film. I read the book some time back as it was one of the suggestions from the Book Club I go to once a month. It's now one of my favourites. I've also done a hub about it!

      I think it's important to read the book before seeing a film based on it, however I haven't been to see the film as I heard bad reviews, mostly saying that it's not totally true to the story. It didn't go down very well in Britain generally.

      Interesting overview here.


    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      5 years ago from Taos, NM

      Thanks for reading this Nell. The movie was done very well, it was just there is to much in the book for a two hour movie. But, I have the DVD and I can watch it from time to time.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I am so glad you enjoyed reading this review. It has become my favorite all time book. I think you will really enjoy it. It is cleverly written. I have to say again, the book is better than the movie although the movie is good.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      5 years ago from New Delhi, India

      What an interesting book review!

      I want to read the book after reading your great book review, especially with the aspect of Death as the narrator.

      I agree with you that books are always better. Much of the essence is sometimes lost while movies are made out of the books.

      Interesting and informative hub. Thanks!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      I wish I had read the book first Suzette, that way I would have understood the 'death' bit more, but it was great! Great hub and good job doing the research too!

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      5 years ago from Taos, NM

      Chantelle: Thank you so much and I am glad you enjoyed reading this. This has become one of my favorite books. Such a touching and endearing story.

    • Chantelle Porter profile image

      Chantelle Porter 

      5 years ago from Ann Arbor

      I thought you did a wonderful job reviewing this book, and I, too, enjoyed the book immensely.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      SANJAY: This is one of the most life affirming stories I have read in a long time. It is such a great example of how there were Germans who hated Hitler and fascism and in their own ways defied Hitler and Nazism and did their best to help Jewish people throughout the war. The emphasis on Liesel and her love of words and writing is just a precious story. The fact that she wanted so to learn and to read and would 'steal' books from the burgermeister's house is just a great story in itself. I am so glad you enjoyed reading this and it has made your curious to read it. I think you will enjoyed the book because the story is universal and tugs at all our heartstrings because this story could happen anywhere.

    • SANJAY LAKHANPAL profile image

      Sanjay Sharma 

      7 years ago from Mandi (HP) India

      Your book review has made me curious about the novel. Thanks for sharing.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      Nadine: This is my new 'favorite book.' LOL! I fell in love with this story and the beauty of words and stories that we can write. Liesel's story is so touching and I loved the narrator being Death. He was portrayed as empathetic and caring not as cold and hard as we imagine Death to be. I cried reading the novel and I cried at the end of the movie. I am so glad you read this and plan to read the book. You will love it!

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 

      7 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      What a fantastic movie. I have not yet read the book but its on my to read list. Great review. Awesome!

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      VVanNess: This book quickly became my 'new favorite book.' I had not heard of the book until the movie came out and I must say I enjoyed the book so much and more than the movie. The movie was good, but the book portrays the importance of words and stories so much more than the movie can get across. Although, I do recommend seeing the movie - the girl that plays Liesel is an incredible actress and captures her character so well. I can relate with your love of books. It is hard to not have books and books stack up her at my home also. I have gone to reading on a Kindle and I do like it just for the fact I don't have to move out for the books. LOL!

    • VVanNess profile image

      Victoria Van Ness 

      7 years ago from Fountain, CO

      We are definitely book lovers around this house. Just about every nook and cranny is packed full of books. We have huge book shelves crammed full, piles of books with tin flower vases on top, and our end tables and nothing but books. lol I'm going to love your articles!

      In fact, I read The Book Thief a few years ago. I found it in a thrift store and thought it sounded interesting. I was really shocked when I saw a movie made about it coming out in the theater. Even more excited that I had already read the book! I look forward to seeing it's rendition as a movie. Great article! I loved your review.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      Daniel: I just love this book and story and I believe it is so important to remember the Holocaust. This book is interesting because it is a story seen from the eyes of the non-Jewish Germans that had to live through Nazi Germany and what they had to do to survive also. It is a heartbreaking story of just one street and neighborhood in this town during WWII. I just fell in love with the story and the characters. The movie was good, but left out large portions of the original story. I can't imagine living through a war and we are so fortunate there has not been one on U.S. soil since the Civil War. Thanks again, for reading this and for your insightful comments. You really have seen and done a lot yourself in this world. Thanks for serving our nation as a soldier!

    • Daniel1137 profile image

      Daniel Wyvern 

      7 years ago from Athens, Georgia

      Suzette, I already spend too much time reading, and now you have added to my list. Thanks! :) I realize that I have the same respect for words as you. I say respect, and not love, because we know the power that words have, for both good and evil. The power that we as humans must use is one of discernment, to be able to tell the difference between the use of words for good or evil. The setting and subject of this book is near to me because of the closeness I felt for my father in law, who was a soldier on the Russian Front for the entire war. Reconciling what I know of him with this terrible period in history is a task that I may never finish.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      Theresa: I enjoyed the movie also and I am so glad you have seen it and you will enjoy the book. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Theresa.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      Mike: You will enjoy the movie and the book. It is a lovely story even thought the subject is so sad. Thanks so much for reading and I am glad you enjoyed this. If I haven't said so yet, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Enjoyed the movie yesterday with my grown son. My copy of the book arrived in the mail this morning, so I start reading tonight. :)

      Merry Christmas! Theresa

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      7 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Merry Christmas suzettenaples you have done such an in depth review that the movie has become (almost) a must see. I actually think there is a copy of the book floating around here somewhere. Let me think where did I put that.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      Happyboomernurse: Thanks for stopping back. It is good to hear your thoughts on the movie. Yes, you are so right, it does show the best and worst in people and is still a life affirming story, despite all the death and destruction. I hope you enjoy the book - I am reading it a second time. LOL Thanks so much for your comments. Most appreciated.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      Kathleen: LOL It's okay if you didn't read the whole thing - it went longer than I anticipated. The book is fantastic and I really like it - the movie is good, too and the casting of the movie is terrific. Thanks so much for checking this out and happy reading!

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      7 years ago from South Carolina

      Came back to let you know that I just saw the movie and loved it.

      Thought the acting was great and it showed the best, and worst, in people.

      Still intend to read the book as I'm sure there's much more to be gleaned from it.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I didn't read all your hub because I previewed this book on Kindle but haven't read it yet. Based on the first part of your hub, I'm moving it up on my reading list. Thanks!

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      peoplepower75: Thank you so much for your kind comments. I enjoyed the movie also and Sophie's performance so much, but I just liked the book better. I usually do, though. What I like about the book / movie so much was that Death was a narrator, which I have found unique and creative and that he is sympathetic and humorous at times. I also liked that this story was about the typical Germans who had to survive the Nazi regime and WWII and as you say were swept up in the Nazi propaganda machine. It of course touches on the Jewish situation, but for once here was a story about the Germans. Not every German was a Nazi. I found the portrayals touching and poignant. Thanks so much for reading my long review and I appreciate your insightful comments so much.

    • peoplepower73 profile image

      Mike Russo 

      7 years ago from Placentia California

      An excellent and very through review. We saw the movie and were very moved by the portrayal of Lisel by Sophie Nelisee. I hope she gets nominated or wins awards for her very convincing acting. She is beautiful and haunting at the same time. The movie shows the innocence of the village people at that time and how they were swept up into the NAZI propaganda machine. Voting up, Sharing, and Useful.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      Theresa: I think you will love the book. It certainly gives a great portrayal of the typical German and how they had to survive in Nazi Germany. Be sure to read the book - it is far better than the movie and there are parts of the book that they left out in the movie. I enjoyed the movie and the cast is terrific. Thanks so much for your interest and for reading this. And, thank you for your comments.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      Writer Janis: I think she would enjoy this book. You would probably enjoy it also. I think all ages would enjoy this book myself. I loved it. Thanks so much for reading and I am glad you enjoyed this.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I have been thinking about seeing th film/reading the book because it iis set during WW II. I really did not know what it was about. Now I do and I am twice as interested. My son is taking me out to lunch this Friday. We will be going to see The Book Thief that afternoon. :) And in just a minute I am going to go order the book through Amazon. Great book and film review. Thank you so much. :) Theresa

    • WriterJanis profile image


      7 years ago from California

      My daughter is an avid reader and this sounds like something she would enjoy.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      LKMore: Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I think you will enjoy both. I especially like the book. Thanks for your visit.

    • LKMore01 profile image


      7 years ago


      This is an exceptional review and I look forward to reading the book and watching the movie. Thank you.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      thumbi7: thank you so much for reading and I am glad you enjoyed this. I appreciate your comments and visit.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      Kim: So glad you enjoyed this. I have heard of The Messenger and I remember when it came out. I want to read this one also. I think The Book Thief touches my heart because of teaching and I know this is a good book for students to read. He also has a new book coming out soon, either 2014 or 15 and right now I forget the name of it. I do like his writing style and will read more of his novels. Thanks so much for reading this, Kim. It became much longer than I anticipated. I appreciate your comments.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 

      7 years ago from India

      I have not seen the movie or read the book. But it was interesting to read your review

      Thanks for sharing

    • ocfireflies profile image


      7 years ago from North Carolina


      I am a huge Marcus Zusak fan. "The Messenger" is my favorite while most folks like "The Book Thief." I hope they decide to make a movie based on "The Messenger." Thanks for another absolutely awesome hub.

      You are just so good at these reviews. So an up/share as always.


    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      Hi teaches: I thought the young girl that played Liesel in the movie to be delightful and she did such a good job. Do read the book - it is much better than the movie. Sometimes it is difficult to put a book into a film and the film wasn't able to put everything in the book in it. This is my new favorite book. LOL Thanks so much for reading and for your comments. Most appreciated.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      I just saw the movie this week and loved every minute. I am going to pick up the book so that I can fill in the gaps. I thought the movie was well done and the characters were excellently played out by the actors. Thanks for the background information on the author.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      Faith: You will like the book. I love it and it is my new favorite book! The books are always better than the movies sad to say. There are just some parts of a book that just can't be put into visuals although this movie is good. The young lady that plays Liesel gives an extraordinary performance and really captures the character well. Certainly with seeing. Thanks so much for stopping by to read as this is rather long. Most appreciated.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      Happyboomernurse: So glad you enjoyed reading this and thank you for your comments. I think you would enjoy reading this book. I had not heard of it until I heard the movie was being made of it. Good read. Thank you for your visit.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      7 years ago from southern USA

      I have not read the book, or seen the movie. I want to read the book, after reading your great book review. How interesting, especially with the aspect of Death as the narrator. You are so right, books are always best. I do hate to watch a movie, and they leave out the best parts! I intend to watch the movie, though, but after reading the book first.

      Up and more and sharing

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      7 years ago from South Carolina

      I haven't seen this movie, or read the book, yet, but this insightful review makes me want to do both.

      Thanks for sharing this.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      Ashoka: you are a riot and so funny! I just hope you're these books as much as I do. The Book Thief is my new favorite book. The words are beautiful in this book and I do think you will enjoy it as much as I do. I don't know what age students you teach, but this book would be good for ages 11 or 12 up for teaching in school. I highly recommend it. So glad you enjoyed reading this and thank you so much for your comments.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      Bill: Actually the book is better. Too much was left out of the movie to fit it into two hours. Read the book - the words are wonderful and then see the movie. You will enjoy both, but being a writer you will enjoy the book more. This book is now my new favorite book!

    • Ashok Rao profile image

      Ashok Rao 

      7 years ago from Mumbai, India

      "Zusak makes clear that the powerful words ... connect with one another." "It is in the dark basement ... read and write." They are beautiful lines, aren't they? After reading this review , I can say I had a great weekend. Lately I had been buying a lot of books. But I have no option but to buy this one too. I will start the new year with this book. Thanks!!!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      By the time I heard about this movie it had already left the theaters I will have to read the book. Thanks for the review; this is on my must read list.


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