When Death tells a story, you'd better listen!
And I did. I listened to this story and I lived through a part of Liesel's life and it still lingers with me. Rudy especially, he and Hans Hubermann are my favourite characters of this book. I love Liesel as well, but these two are dearest to me.
I almost never read books about World War II, because it seems to close to home, I live in the Netherlands and my grandma never talked about this period, even though she always told me about her childhood and when my mom and uncles were little, so I'm guessing it was a difficult time for her as well. It always makes me so sad to think of all the families that were torn apart and all the senseless killing that went on. I went to a concentration camp near Prague once with my high school and it was horrible knowing that so many people died there.
Anyway, back to the book: Liesel is adopted by Hans and Rosa Hubermann, who already have two grown children of their own who don't live with them anymore. Hans is the most kindhearted man you'll ever meet and he sleeps in a chair next to Liesel's bed almost every night because of her nightmares. He's also the one that teaches her how to read and I think she couldn't have had a better father. Rosa calls everyone Saukerl or Saumensch (which means as much as swine-man or woman), but deep inside she has a huge heart and loves Liesel and Hans very much.
Liesel soon finds a friend in Rudy, a boy with lemoncoloured hair and an amazing spirit.
The times are difficult for the family, because Hans helped Jewish people and isn't a member of the Nazi Party he gets less and less work and because nobody has money to spare, the income from Rosa's laundry dwindles as well. To top it off, they have to feed an extra mouth: a Jewish man named Max who is hiding in their basement. I thought is was wonderful to see that Hans and Rosa were so generous, they took Liesel in, would have taken in her brother as well if he hadn't died on the way there and they helped Max survive.
I loved that it was told by Death and the suspense Zusak created by having him tell us what was going to happen, because every time I wished it wouldn't. I was rooting so hard for something I can't mention here, because there would be major spoilers, NOT to happen and I cried when it did.
I loved Death's voice, he says things like:
'A small fact, you're going to die. Does this worry you?'
And I love it!
Rudy is the boy I would have loved being friends with when I was younger and he reminds me somewhat of my best friend when I was little. I was rooting for him to be kissed by Liesel at least once. He's such an undervalued hero in his own way, giving bread to the Jewish people on their march to Dachau.
I thought the ending was incredibly sad and I cried for all the characters, because they had become so dear to me. This book is just beautiful and I think everyone should read it. I've heard people classify it as YA, but in my opinion there's no age category, you can enjoy a good story no matter how old you are.
My rating: 5 stars