How I found out about The Book Thief probably deserves a post of its own, which involves a Taiwanese TV programme, a magic show session that saw a bell moved on its own while in a glass box preventing any interference, in what we are led to believe was swayed by the spirit of the protagonist of the book. (I use "led to believe" because the book is a fiction but the part about a spirit's doing..erm that I have no comment.)
Anyways, the book caught my attention and before I know it, I was done reading it.
The story is kinda sad and gripping, set in Nazi Germany, with the narrator being the infamous man (or thing) underneath that robe, holding a scythe. Though he did clear that up for us in a later chapter:
*** A SMALL PIECE OF TRUTH ***I do not carry a sickle or scythe.I only wear a hooded black robe when it's cold.And I don't have that skull-like facial featuresyou seem to enjoy pinning on me from a distance....
The story opened up my eyes to how bad life was during the war, under a regime that believed they were the most superior nation in the world. But nothing could be worse than if you happen to be a Jew during that period of time. Hiding a Jew would be next in line. Halfway through, I was googling to read more about the Holocaust, the Final Solution and related topics. What I read shocked me beyond words actually. I'm not much of a historical buff [if you read this, you know who you are :P] though I've heard of the fearsome H-word and knew it was bad. But reading it (as well as the numbers) totally shook me to the core. It was not just bad, it was a million times worse. How could these things ever happened? What an ideology!
It's not all sad though in the book. There are funny moments as we read about how Liesel became a book (and food) thief, her friendship with Rudy (the boy who keep wanting to kiss her), her relationships with her foster family (who are really good people even though they used words like "Saurkerl", "Saumensch" and "Arschloch" as terms of endearment), her relationship with Max (a Jewish fist-fighter), as well as the neighbourhood residents, and we get to look at Max's drawings too, like some kind of graphic-novel of that era..
Also, I didn't know Death could be such a good storyteller. The way he moved from one event to the next, sometimes to some past/future events as he deemed necessary, dropping interesting info here and there. Plus he really couldn't care less about spoilers. He would be telling you XXX died out of nowhere and only then reverse-engineer his way back to how it happened. Yet still have us turning the pages. For that, kudos to Markus Zusak for such great writing prowess.
Lastly it's not always that a book had me wiping tears off my eyes. The Kite Runner was one. Now we welcome The Book Thief to that list.