I finished this one during Hurricane Matthew, one of the few times I’ve found time to read nowadays, and was crying by the end. I will tell you now this book comes with some of my highest recommendations. I haven’t cried for a fictional character in a while, and I’m sorry this review is so late because I haven’t had the time to write it, but I finished another book while I’ve been trying to get around to writing this review so maybe I’ll have that review posted soon.
The premise, for those of you who don’t know, is Death is fascinated by humans. None more so than young Liesel, who has lost both her parents in different ways and witnessed at the start of the book the death of her brother. This is also the first time Death sees Liesel., it will not be the last. The death of her brother also leads Liesel to steal her first book, just before she finds herself on Himmel Street where she spends the majority of the remainder of the book. There she is raised by the Hubermann family, Hans who she comes to call Papa and Rosa who is Mama. They are an odd pair who seem to hate each other more than they love each other, but that is just their way. On Himmel street Liesel makes a friend in Rudy Steiner, who is her neighbor, obsessed with Jesse Owens and wants nothing more than to be kissed by Liesel. Later Hans Hubermann will bring into the Hubermann home, Max the Jewish fist fighter and if I neglected to mention now would be a good time to tell you this is during Nazi Germany. This gang of people form a family. Liesel learns to read on Himmel Street, defies Hitler, even in the smallest ways, and steals more than just books. It’s hard to describe the premise of these book because I fear giving too much away, but I will say I really loved this story.
What I loved about it was that it’s told from the perspective of a young, blonde, German girl who isn’t Jewish. So often books told during the Holocaust are told from the perspective of someone Jewish, and while that makes sense because their stories need to be told, so do the stories of the Germans who didn’t support Hitler’s war or cause. I love that this story, is being told by Death. It’s such an interesting turn of events and kept me wondering how and when Death would meet Liesel again. I love how Death speaks of humans, and the tone he/she/it is given. I really fell in love with the characters. Max, Hans and Rudy were my favorites but they’re all just incredibly well put together and fully realized. I even found myself wanting to know what was happening to the smallest side characters. This is a really gripping story about a young girl, growing up poor in one of the darkest times in history. It’s about her life, the people she meets and loves along the way and the truly haunting aspects of being human. It’s a beautiful story and I would honestly read it again, even though it hurts my heart.