The Book Thief itself is geared toward young adults on the cusp of full fledged adulthood. The book’s narrator, Death, is sorry for what he has to do, his “boss” expecting him to do the impossible while mankind keeps feeding him “clients.” Most of the violence and bloodshed we associate with the Nazis is masked by symbolism or metaphors.
As I’m sure any intelligent reader has already figured out, books play an important part in the story. However, the one book the protagonist didn’t steal plays a very important and unexpected part – Mein Kampf. Hitler’s book helps to save a Jewish man, Max Vandenburg and it is then used to make an entirely new book. The connection between the little girl and the Jewish outcast is forged on a new book built and written on the pages of Mein Kampf.
The strength of The Book Thief is its wit and understated horror. Death has a sense of humor, a keen eye and a literary outlook ("For me, the sky was the color of Jews"). It is an impressive book and I appreciate Mr. Zusak’s ability, but a few lesser moments of the author trying to get the audience to tear up would have worked in its favor.
- 576 pages
- Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375842209