The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak become our next book club discussion in June and one again that had mixed reviews. Two of us didn’t connect at all with the book, neither the characters or the story, whilst others loved the book and even one said it was one her favourite reads of the book club.
So for those members who loved it, the character of death they found to be original and were sorry once they had finished reading the book and wanted it to continue. Others thought it showed an interesting take on the other side.
We discussed at length the effect on living through a war and the bravery of people who would hide Jews in their own property. I wondered if this was naivety on their part but others thought that they would know of the risks involved if they got caught.
The book showed throughout the parallels of adults and children. Even living in the circumstances that they did, the children still wanted to play. There was also a discussion around the breakdown of social morals, in particular the relationship between Liezel and Max, but it was concluded that the times that they lived probably let moral standards slide.
I asked about the title of the book – why did Liezel steal these books and were the titles in any way significant? It was concluded that the titles weren’t significant, but the books were something that she could have for herself and she probably was aware of her lack of education in the fact that she couldn’t read when she first started to steal them. It also was a form of escapism and the thrill perhaps of stealing something.
We also discussed how the text was displayed in the book; the form of lists and also the pictures that were used. Some members skipped past the list but we all agreed that the pictures gave us a better visual understanding and seemed to work.
All in all, the majority of members enjoyed this book and were quite surprised to find out that is actually aimed at a Young Adult audience.