The Book Thief … a review

I have heard so so much about this book since the longest time and so, when I picked it up, I was sure I’d love it. I didn’t know then that the book had been on the New York Times Bestseller list, not did I know that there was a movie, due to hit screens on 15th November. All of this I found out while I was reading the book. All I knew was that it had received rave reviews, that it was narrated by Death, and it was Nazi Germany.

Liesel Meminger, the book thief, is taken in by the Hubermanns who live on Himmel Street. In a novel that symbolises everyday objects, books, an accordion, a window, a street, different characters come alive. All of them battling a fear – fear of the world, fear of getting caught, fear of showing compassion, and fear of living and loving. As Liesel adjusts to life on Himmel Street, she must slowly grow up, she must face up to a cruel world, that will eventually take everything away from her.

Google the book for reasons why it is a must read. However, read on to find out why i didn’t like it. This is not to say that I wouldn’t recommend it; I would, but it is not one of the best ever books as people have made it out to be.

1. It is narrated by Death. Okay, innovative, I agree. But it is only ‘cool’ for the first ten chapters or so, after that, it just becomes normal narration. The Death signature sort of disappears through large parts of the book and then reappears in other bits.

2. I do not like the amount of swearing in the book. It is a way for Rosa Hubermann to demonstrate her acceptance, affection, fear, grief, everything. It put me off. It made me want to skip scenes where she was speaking any sentences riddled with abuses and slangs. She is a brilliant woman, kind and caring, but her verbosity was just annoying.

3. It felt like a very long book. For a large part in the middle, I felt like nothing was happening. I loved the bits where the family hides a Jew, but anything surrounding it was just faff.

For a lovely father-daughter relationship book, read it. For a general everyday life during the war account, read it. So, as far as Nazi Germany themed books are concerned, I will stick to Anne Frank or even Between Shades of Grey.