The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


One of my friends gave me this book for Christmas. It seems like everyone I’ve talked to has read this. As my friend said, this book is perfect for me since it’s an easy-to-read story with a historical backdrop. I found myself comparing this book to The Kite Runner, maybe because of the similar color schemes on the book cover. Overall, I liked The Book Thief, but I think The Kite Runner is on another level.


1) “Snowflakes of ash fell so lovelily you were tempted to stretch out your tongue to catch them, taste them. Only, they would have scorched your lips. They would have cooked your mouth.”

This line sounds like it’s straight out of a 9th grader’s poetry homework. Reminds me of

You fit into me

like a hook into an eye

a fish hook

an open eye

Thanks Ms. Chase – for making me still look for synesthesia, synecdoche, etc whenever I read anything.

2) “Oh, how the clouds stumbled in and assembled stupidly in the sky. Giant obese clouds. Dark and plump. Bumping into each other. Apologizing. Moving on and finding room.”

Great personification. I really enjoyed the narrator’s descriptions of the sky throughout the book.

3) “‘I’m waiting,’ she said….The framed photo of the Fuhrer kept watch from the wall. ‘Heil Hitler,’ Rudy led.”

A leader is by definition a leader only if he/she has followers. To me, followers are the truly scary ones. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and some people are bound to have “crazy” thoughts – see Hitler. But when you blindly follow someone and suppress your own thoughts, that’s scary.

4) “I’ve seen so many young men over the years who think they’re running at other young men. They are not. They are running at me.”

Death – the narrator – brought this book to life. It gave some very interesting perspectives on war like this one.

5) “Imagine smiling after a slap in the face. Then think of doing it twenty-four hours a day. That was the business of hiding a Jew.”

This seemingly dysfunctional family takes in a runaway Jew and the daughter of a Communist. How can you not like them?

6) “Papa was more philosophical. ‘Rosa, it started with Adolf.’ He lifted himself. ‘We should check on him.'”

Rosa blamed the snowman in the basement for getting Max sick. Papa has a different reason in mind.

7) “‘There were stars,’ he said. ‘They burned my eyes.'” – Max

Another great description of the sky.

8) “The first soldier did not see the bread – he was not hungry – but the first Jew saw it.”

We only notice things that matter to us.

9) “For some reason, dying men always ask questions they know the answer to. Perhaps it’s so they can die being right.”


10) “What good are the words?”

Near the end, the author juxtaposes the power of Hitler’s words and the importance of Liesel’s books to her. Even better is when Max paints over the pages of Mein Kampf and writes his own story. The metaphors.


The Book Thief makes me want to do 3 things. One, learn more about anti-semitism. Two, read Mein Kampf – at least part of it. Three, watch the movie. I’m always hesitant to watch film adaptions after reading a book. It always ruins what I imagine all the characters are like, how they talk, how the settings look, etc. So instead of watching that right away, I’m going to watch some tennis.

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