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The Book Thief

ISBN: 978-0804168434
Review Date:

The study of history is not always about the world changing events. To some people, it is how historical events imprinted on their individual lives. I once met a gentleman who spent his childhood years in Shandong Province of China under Japanese occupation, and when I asked him about what he remembered, he told me that his most vivid memory of the war was seeing Japanese aircraft flying over him as he ducked into rice paddies, naively thinking that the aircraft were looking for him. Although The Book Thief was but a work of fiction, it moved along that premise, telling the story of working class girl Liesel Meminger who had nothing to do with the war and had no means to influence world history. While her childhood, evenings reading with her foster father and causing trouble in the neighborhood with other kids, was not unlike any child growing up in any time period, growing up in Nazi Germany and during the war, whether it was seeing her foster parents hiding a Jew in the basement or reading aloud to others who shared the same air raid shelter, marked her distinctly as a child of the WW2 era. Under author Markus Zusak's imagination, Liesel's stories were fascinating, but to top it off, he chose the incarnation of Death to narrate the story. To me, the gloom of death was a great balance to a child's innocent optimism even in a time of war.

I had reviewed this title in its audio book format. Reader Allan Corduner did a wonderful job with this title. While the pace and clarity were impeccable, it was his voice acting that left a nice impression in my mind, whether it was his treatment of Death's musings or the innocence of the children.

Works of fiction had always been mere diversions for me, but every so often some of these diversions would leave a lasting impression in my mind. I would definitely consider The Book Thief as one in this category.

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