*Original review was posted on acreads.blogspot.com!
I was absolutely convinced that I would not like this book. I forced myself into reading it, resolved that at the end of the 550 (excruciating, I thought) pages, I'd breathe a sigh of relief, pat myself on the back for my accomplishment (because now I can at least say that I've read it), and move on with my life. Instead, it is nearly 2 in the morning, I've finally finished crying, and a heavy weight is sitting on my chest. And I can promise you - I am not usually melodramatic when it comes to books.
The Book Thief was one of, if not the most, beautifully written books that I have ever read in my entire life.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
The Book Thief is the story of five Germans - a young girl named Liesel, her foster parents Rosa and Hans, a Jewish man named Max who they shelter, and Liesel's best friend Rudy - who live during Hitler's rise to power in Nazi Germany. Their story is told through the eyes of the omnipresent Death, who often interrupts the story to offer his own insights and opinions regarding the state of the world during that time period and commentary on the various characters and their doings. Death leads us through their stories, allowing us to witness the horrors of their struggles and yet revel in the beauty that they experience.
This book was... amazing. I don't know how else to put it. I've read several titles that surround the events of the Holocaust and WWII (Number the Stars, Night, etc.) and while each have been powerful in its own way, The Book Thief was different. I read somewhere that the writing style is considered "experimental" - that is, Death often interrupts the main story line to give small anecdotes and his own personal opinions... which makes The Book Thief a rather slow read... but I don't mean boring or dry. I often found myself taking a half hour to devour ten pages because I didn't want to miss a single concept or idea.
I don't know what else to say. The Book Thief was an amazing read and an instant favorite for me. I felt rather daunted by the task of reading it and put it off for so long... but am so glad that I finally decided to pick it up. If you are like me and are shying away from reading it, please do yourself a favor - just read it.