Oct 25, 2013

Audio Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I don't know why I put off reading this book for as long as I did, but thank goodness I finally got the good sense to read it. Even though I've had the book in print version for several years, I decided to go with the audio after sampling it on Audible.com. And it proved to be a great decision.

About the Book (Taken from Goodreads):

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. 

 My Thoughts:

Simply put, this book was outstanding.  I've read many books about WWII but not from the prospective that Markus Zusak painted for us with these wonderfully human characters.  My heart was stolen by Liesel from the very start and also with her foster father, Pappa. But singling them out isn't fair to all of the other people in her life like Rudy, her best friend, and Max, the Jew secretly living in their basement. Each one of the amazing characters had such a special purpose in this story and Mr. Zusak did a brilliant job bringing them to life. 

The story takes place in such a bleak time in our world's history and Zusak shows us how it was for the German people under Hilter's rule living in this small town. He shows that not all German's agreed with what was happening and the reader is shown the fear they lived in even from their own neighbors.  Liesel's foster parents showed so much courage by hiding Max in their basement, but they were terrified each and every day that someone would find out. 

The thing that intrigued me the most was that the narrator of this story was Death. In my opinion, that decision took this book to a whole other level. Not only did Death tell the story but also gave insight and even put feelings to the job he had to do.  And that takes me once again, to the writing. I was blown away by the phrasing - taking a simple act or thought and putting it in a way that just made me stop for a moment and think about what I'd just heard. The writing in this book is without a doubt at the very top of my list of all the books I've ever read in my life. That's a huge statement, I know, but I absolutely stand behind it.  

Now I get to the audio review. Allan Corduner did an amazing job. His deep, penetrating tone was spot on for the character that he portrayed.  I've read some audio reviews that said it was too much, but I strongly disagree. For this book and that character, he was perfect. Death is scary and even daunting to some and his voice brought that and much more. If you haven't yet read this book, try a sample of it on Audible.com and see for yourself. Personally, I'm so glad I chose to listen to this modern classic. This book moved me to the point of hot tears and has stayed with me. It is a wonderful book. 

With the release of the movie version coming soon, now I am expecially excited to see these characters come to life. You can watch teh movie trailer here

Author: Markus Zusak
Publisher: Listening Library
Published: September 2006
Length: 13 Hrs 56 Min
Recommend? YES, YES, YES, YES YES!!!!!


  1. I hope to see the movie and can't decide if I should read the book before or after. If I experience them close together, I generally do better if I see the movie first.

  2. I've put off reading this book, too... maybe audio is the way to go.

  3. I'm so glad to see you loved this book, as it's one of my all-time favorites. Death was such a perfect narrator. I can't wait to see the movie, though I haven't decided whether I really want to cry in public. ;)


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