Friday, February 11, 2011

What Do You Mean You Never Read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Submitted by Kady

By now The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is such a part of the YA Lit cannon that I’m assuming not reading it has been a deliberate choice on your part.  I used to be like you, I passed The Book Thief by maybe 20 or 30 times before a 7 hour layover in Las Vegas finally forced me to pick it up.  See, I actively avoid books about World War II.  I find that the subject matter is far too delicate, and it’s rare to find an author who can successfully treat the social, political, economic and human costs of the war with the gravity and respect that they deserve, while at the same time writing a compelling and interesting story.  Markus Zusak does exactly that.  There are many, many eloquent and well-written reviews of The Book Thief out there, and I’m hesitant about my ability to say anything new in this one. 

So instead I want to introduce you to my favorite character and hope that this teaser pushes you into picking up The Book Thief the next time you’re at the library.

Rudy Steiner is 10 years old. He has lemon blond hair and blue eyes, which is a positive when you live in Hitler’s Germany.  He’s also obsessed with Jesse Owens and once painted his face black with coal to reenact a race from the 1942 Berlin Olympics where Jesse blew everyone away.  This is not a positive when you live in Hitler’s Germany and his parents had to keep him inside for weeks until he understood that some things just can’t be done or said in public anymore.  Rudy is tough, he’s fast and smart and has an incredibly dirty mouth that he picked up from his mother and the neighborhood women.  But the most important thing to know about Rudy is that ever since she humiliated him in a game of street soccer, Rudy has been desperate for a kiss from Liesel Meminger, the new foster daughter that the Huberman’s down the street have taken in, and he’ll do anything to get it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would also recommend "I am the messenger" by Markus Zusak. It is a different style than The Book Thief, but is just as thought-provoking.