The Power of Words: A Review of The Book Thief

Brad Johnson By Brad Johnson, 9th May 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Dramatic Fiction

This is a review of The Book Thief. The Book Thief searches to explain the duality of human beings and words their ability to display amazing love, kindness, and mercy, while simultaneously being instruments of evil.


Enclosed within the backdrop of Nazi Germany during World War II The Book Thief by Markus Zusak focuses on its protagonist Liesel Meminger, a foster child living in Munich Germany. Death, the tale's narrator, is inexplicably enamored, and sadly intertwined, with the life of Liesel and the story which she tells.The Book Thief follows Liesel on her journey through World War II where she finds hope in the books that she steals.

The Dichotomy of Life

Yes, this story speaks of a girl and her existence during one of the most difficult eras in the history of Western civilization, but that is not what this novel is about. More than anything else this tale seeks to display the power of words. Words have the power to kill. Hitler came to power in Germany riding the waves of powerful speech, and it was with those same words that he committed numerous unfathomable atrocities upon the Jewish people. Yet even amidst this destruction, Zusak seeks to show us something beautiful. As Hitler's audacious speech and malicious Mein Kampf massacred and marched upon Europe, words whispered and wiggled their way into the heart of Liesel Meminger and proved to be her salvation. Words comforted her throughout midnight nightmares, and words made the world seem calm as bombs barraged her hometown. No, it isn't a stretch to say that words were her salvation. Zusak presents the dichotomy of human existence within 500 short pages. Humans, like words, are capable of great evil, and it is these atrocities that the world looks to as testament to the corruption of mankind. Yet, there is good in this world, in human creation. It is subtle and often fails to escape the squalor that saturates and is caked upon this world. If you listen closely though, you may just hear a whispering word that revives your hope in mankind, Liesel did.

To Read, Or Not To Read?

The Book Thief is quite honestly one of my favorite books I have ever read, and it is definitely worth your time to read. Markus Zusak is a terrific writer that is able to entrance you with his words, which proves just how powerful words can truly be.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
18th Oct 2014 (#)

Thanks for the review. I wish you had given some examples of the words and their effect.

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