Book 17: The Book Thief

A few days ago I finished reading The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak. I kept wanting to like this book, all the way to the end, but mostly found it annoying. The story is narrated by Death, which really doesn’t work, as he’s not there for most of the story, and so has to make up a variety of reasons why he knows the story. I found the narrator very distracting. The story itself was interesting, but the narration style came close to ruining it most of the way through.

I’ve read several other books about Nazi Germany recently, including The Boy Who Dared, and I’m always struck by the willingness of people to go along with the scapegoating and persecution of their friends and neighbors. I suppose it really shouldn’t surprise me, given how we treat minorities in the USA. It terrifies me to think how little it would take to turn us into those people. We say it could never happen again, but of course it has happened repeatedly since 1945, all over the world.

Anyways, back to the book. I’m glad I read it, but I really can’t give it the glowing review that I’ve seen other places. The jumping around in time is disorienting, and the narrator’s constant interruptions, announcing that he’s the narrator, is very distracting. I prefer for a narrator to be invisible.

Having said that, it’s worth noting that everyone I have mentioned the book to, who has read it, says that they loved it. So perhaps you should go read someone else’s review.