Monday, March 20, 2006

The Book Thief

Carol Memmott reviews The Book Thief (by Markus Zusak) in today's USAToday.

The Book Thief has been getting amazing reviews. I've read about half of it so far and the first half, at least, is more than deserving of the acclaim.

Released as an adult book in 2005 in Australia (you were right, Lee!), Memmott writes, "Zusak's U.S. publisher chose to release it as a young-adult book, believing young readers can and will attempt a 550-page novel that realistically portrays the Holocaust. One only hopes adults also will discover The Book Thief."

I am certain adults will discover The Book Thief. I'm afraid, though, that it may scare young teens away. Death is the narrator and the subject matter necessarily grim. It does seem like something I would have appreciated when I was sixteen, though.

Memmott concludes: "The Book Thief is unsettling and unsentimental, yet ultimately poetic. Its grimness and tragedy run through the reader's mind like a black-and-white movie, bereft of the colors of life. Zusak may not have lived under Nazi domination, but The Book Thief deserves a place on the same shelf with The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel's Night. It seems poised to become a classic."