Friday, April 17, 2009

Book Club

Grade 9 Up–Zusak has created a work that deserves the attention of sophisticated teen and adult readers. Death himself narrates the World War II-era story of Liesel Meminger from the time she is taken, at age nine, to live in Molching, Germany, with a foster family in a working-class neighborhood of tough kids, acid-tongued mothers, and loving fathers who earn their living by the work of their hands. The child arrives having just stolen her first book–although she has not yet learned how to read–and her foster father uses it, The Gravediggers Handbook, to lull her to sleep when shes roused by regular nightmares about her younger brothers death. Across the ensuing years of the late 1930s and into the 1940s, Liesel collects more stolen books as well as a peculiar set of friends: the boy Rudy, the Jewish refugee Max, the mayors reclusive wife (who has a whole library from which she allows Liesel to steal), and especially her foster parents. Zusak not only creates a mesmerizing and original story but also writes with poetic syntax, causing readers to deliberate over phrases and lines, even as the action impels them forward. Death is not a sentimental storyteller, but he does attend to an array of satisfying details, giving Liesels story all the nuances of chance, folly, and fulfilled expectation that it deserves. An extraordinary narrative.–Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
This was the book I hosted last night at Book Club. I really loved this book, it made me laugh, it made me cry. The story is unique in that it is narrated by "death". The story of Liesel is gripping and has you interested from the start. Most of the characters are endearing and it is different to read a book about the Holocaust that is about Germans and not primarily the Jews. If you haven't read this book, go to your local library and pick it up. It is worth it!


kc and k said...

Sounds interesting. But you know me, I'll wait till it's a movie :)

Carol said...

Narrated by "Death" creeps me out a little, but I've been venturing out of my normal reading comfort zone so I'll have to look this one up.

gwen said...

sounds good to me. I am just finishing "Hold on Tight" by Harlen Coben. It's a good mystery about parents whose son is missing. --no bad language or sex. It's a good read