This novel is narrated in the all-knowing, matter-of-fact voice of Death, who witnesses the story of the citizens of Molching.
When nine-year-old Liesel arrives outside the boxlike house of her new foster parents at 33 Himmel Street, she refuses to get out of the car. Liesel has been separated from her parents, “Kommunists”, forever, and at the burial of her little brother, she steals a gravedigger’s instruction manual, which she can’t read. It is the beginning of her illustrious career.
In the care of the Hubermans, Liesel befriends blond-haired Rudy Steiner, a neighbour obsessed with Jesse Owens, and the mayor’s wife, who hides from despair in her library. Together, Liesel and Rudy steal books – from Nazi book-burning piles, from the mayor’s library, from the rich people for whom her foster mother does the ironing. In time, they take in a Jewish boxer, Max, who reads with Liesel in the basement.
By 1943, the Allied bombs are falling, and the sirens begin to wail. Liesel shares her books in the air-raid shelters. But one day in the life of Himmel Street, the wail of the sirens comes too late.
Oh, this book. This book is beautiful and devastating, I cried so much. I had to take a break while I was listening to this book because it was getting really hard, I’m crying just thinking about certain parts.
In this book, we are viewing the world from Deaths perspective and he is the narrator. He watches the main character Liesel as she is left with people she doesn’t know and is made to call them mama and papa, and then her mother leaves her. She is still struggling from the death of her brother who died on the way to the Hubermans house on Himmel Street.
One of my favourite characters in this book was Rudy Steiner, he was so confident and cocky. He and Liesel become best friends but as the book progresses both his and her feelings grow towards each other.
One of the things I loved about this book was because Liesel and Rudy are so young, they don’t fully understand what is going on around the world and in Germany, but both of them grow to hate Hitler for their own reasons and they act out against the Nazis in their own way.
There is so much that happens in this book, it is such a great story and I think Zusak has done a great job of writing about such a sensitive topic.