Review: The Book Thief

About a month ago, I started reading The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak.

I haven't finished it. I don't even think I'm halfway. I'm putting it down.

Here's the thing: I've been listening to it on audio book, and usually I can get through anything on audio. But for some reason, this just hasn't grabbed me. And I know that if I'm not interested in it on audio, I won't be in print either. That's just how I am.

If you look on the goodreads page, you'll see that others have raved about how wonderful and brilliant it is. To be frank, they're absolutely right. It's written flawlessly, with beautiful imagery and intriguing characters, in a setting that many of us are curious about (Nazi Germany, WWII). In fact, I recently read another book set in the same place, and loved it.

So why didn't I read it in a week like I do most other stories?

Honestly, I'm not sure. There are some things I could name that I didn't like, but none of them would usually keep me from finishing a book. (I won't say what they are, because I don't want to spoil it for you.) Whenever I think about going back to listen to it again, I think, "Ugh, I don't want to," like it's some kind of burden hanging over me. Then I find something else to do instead. Which, like I said, is weird. Consciously, I know it has so many great elements. 

I've learned a lot from it about creative description and tight writing, but still I have no desire to finish it. The characters, while interesting, don't pull me in. I don't feel for them. I can't imagine myself thinking what they think, and doing what they do. I don't really care about what's going on, I don't really care what happens to them. I don't care to find out the end. And I don't know exactly why.

After going through more of the reviews on goodreads, I found people like me. They recognized The Book Thief for the beauty of the writing, and the ominous narration, but it didn't grab them. Things like "bland" and "easily forgettable" and "frustrating at times" really resonated with me. That's how I feel about it. It's great, but just not for me.

It kind of makes me sad. I wanted to like it...

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Am I crazy?



1 comment

  1. Personally, it doesn't seem to be the kind of book that can fully work with audio. It plays a bit with formatting in the book version. Have you reached the part with the children's book? How is that handled?


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