Title: THE BOOK THIEF
Author: Markus Zusak
I don't usually mark my books with a 6, since my scale only goes up to 5, in fact I don't think I've ever given a book a 6 before. But this is the best book I've read in a very long time, marking it a 6 is the only way I have of making that fact instantly clear.
This story is related by Death and set during WW II in Germany.
Death makes a great narrator in this book because even though Death comes to all of us and he is (obviously) well used to all the ins and outs of death and all the various forms it takes, even he can't help being touched by the plight of the Jews in the concentration camps. As he says: "That Germans in that basement were pitiable, surely, but at least they had a chance. That basement was not a washroom. They were not sent there for a shower. For these people life was still achievable.
Death tells the story of Liesel, a young girl sent to live with a foster family just outside Munchen, when her parents are sent to concentration camps as communists.
Liesel is fascinated by words and to feed her hunger for them, she steals books.
This is also the story of her foster parents, good people, despite the situation around them, and the other people on Himmel street; The way the war affects their lives, the things they do, hoping to protect those they love, the risks they take, despite knowing better.
What makes this book so special is that the Germans in this story are not depicted as monsters or villains. They are normal people, trying to make could choices under very difficult circumstances. Himmel street contains just as many good, bad and indifferent people as any other street, in any other country, at any other time.
This is a heartbreaking story, but how could a story about WWII and Death, ever be anything else.