“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak is a bit strange. It is narrated by Death and Death jumps around a bit and sometimes spoils parts of the later story. The story takes place during the second world war — at a time when Death had much work to do — in a small German town not far away from Munich. The story evolves around Liesel, a girl who lives with her foster parents. Liesel steals books. When she steals her first book, she cannot read, but she is very determined and learns it gradually.
Many novels about that time are about the victims of the war, how they hide, try to escape and are murdered in concentration camps. This is a story about the people who just try to survive. It’s about children who learn to “Heil Hitler” correctly and who go to the Hitler Jugend because that’s what they are supposed to do.
It’s not a justification or an excuse for anything. It just shows another aspect of that war and that somehow the common people are often losers of wars — even if they belong to the side of the aggressor.
It liked it for for its interesting style of storytelling, the memorable characters and the insight on the life of common people during that time.