One of my favourite books is The Book Thief by Markus Zusack. I read it first when I was about 14 and have read it two or three times since. The novel, narrated by death, gives a surprisingly funny and touching view of one little girl’s life in Nazi Germany. The narration is one of the main reasons why I love this book. It is so unusual and fresh that it draws you in. Death is not some scary, quiet, omnipresent force but a lonely, witty character who is tired of their job. As they say, they are ‘haunted by humans’.
The style of writing is impressive enough on its own but what really inspires me about the novel is the story. The plot follows issues of racism, sexism, anti-semitism, war and censorship through the protagonist, a girl named Liesel. Liesel, after being taught to read by her new foster parents falls in love with reading. However, this love becomes dangerous when threatened by Nazi censorship. Liesel not only saves a book from a Nazi book bonfire but teaches a Jewish man they are hiding to read. This act draws the two unlikely friends closer and shows the power of literature in the face of censorship. Moreover, as the book focuses on children it shows the often naive but admirable bravery of young people in the face of adversity, which is something we can all be inspired by.
I urge anyone who has not read the Book Thief to give it a go as it is truly different from other literature about World War Two in a way which is unique and inspiring.
– Yzzy (Fourth Year English Literature and Hispanic Studies)