The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

“The Book Thief” is a cleverly written novel masterminded by Markus Zusak. It is set in Nazi Germany during the second world war in a town called Molching. The Novel follows a young girl, Liesel Meminger, who is given to a foster home as her mother cannot look after her. She is given to the home of Hans and Rosa Hubermann who quickly become known as Papa and Mama. Papa is a big man with soothing, silver eyes who, through his accordion and cigarette rolling, brings Liesel to home on Himmel street. Mama is a cupboard-shaped women who loved dishing watschen and mean words. She meets her best friend Rudy: a permanently hungry boy with ‘lemon’ coloured hair, who stirred Liesel’s desire to steal.

The first aspect of ‘The Book Thief, to bring to attention is probably the most important to Liesel: Hans Hubermann. When Liesel first comes to Himmel street she has just seen her brother die and her mother has abandoned her. Taking this into consideration, it’s understandable that she doesn’t want to get out of the car. Hans is the man who eventually gets her out. When Liesel starts having nightmares, Hans is the one there every night to soothe her. “Trust was accumulated quickly, due primarily to the brute strength of the man’s gentleness” When it’s ‘come to light’ that she doesn’t know how to read Hans turns Liesel’s routine nightmare into a time of learning. Papa taught Liesel to read and eventually to write and may have even sparked Liesel’s love for books. Liesel came to relish the ‘midnight class’ and her capability skyrocketed. I am so lucky to have . The best part of Papa, however, was his accordion playing. “I often look at his fingers and face when he plays. The accordion breathes.” Liesel loved when Papa played the accordion because she could just stop and listen and enjoy. “No one can play like you.” Papa wasn’t any ordinary musician, Liesel could feel the music; Papa didn’t have do be a good musician it was the vibes/feel of happiness that came through his playing. I can relate to Liesel’s love for music in this way. I am a musician and love to get into the playing of the music, but i like to sit down and listen to other peoples creations. I like to sit and feel the music, what type of music it is sad/happy. There are some musicians that could probably communicate entirely through music if they wanted.

An aspect of the book thief which I quite liked was how the Hubermann’s were not part of the Nazi party until deep into the war. I liked this because it showed how not all German’s were for the Nazi party and for the horrible things done to the Jews. Many of them would have even had friends which were Jews. Hans Hubermann did and that is why Max Vandenburg turned up on their doorstep one night. Max becomes a great mentor and friend for Liesel. Max is stuck in inside hiding for months as, if he was seen by anyone, the Hubermann’s would be ‘taken away.’ Since Max doesn’t get to see what the day looks like he asks Liesel to describe it for him everyday when she comes home. “The sky is blue today, Max, and there is a big long cloud, and it’s stretched out, like a rope. At the end of it the sun is like a yellow hole…” Max paints this image of the wall of the basement with two figures, Max and Liesel, walking along it. Liesel finds it her responsibility to look after max and keep him entertained. So, when Max gets he sleeps in her room and Liesel reads to him everyday. She even finds 13 presents for max whilst he’s asleep, to cheer him when he wakes. Having Max in her living with her teaches Liesel how the Fuhrers radical plan to destroy a race is idiotic. She wonders why people hate the Jews as  the one she knows is so nice. I like how Mark Zusak shows that not all German’s blindly followed the Fuhrer and that some were against his plans. We are lucky living in new Zealand as we get free speech so if we don’t agree with something we can speak out about it. The problem with Nazi Germany was that if you weren’t part of the party no one wanted to associate with you so you would lose work and money. If you weren’t part of the party you would also be bullied into joining it. So it would take a lot of courage to hide a jew and I admire that.

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