This was a reread, so I’m going to share both my initial thoughts, and my input after another, and more recent, look.
My first review (2011):
I wish I could give this book 10 stars. I had actually started this book once before and couldn’t get into it for some reason. I am SO glad to have given it another chance because this definitely is now on my list of favorite books of all time. I’ve learned about the Holocaust and read literature by survivors but I’ve never read anything from the perspective of someone non-Jewish as they went through this experience and watched the world crumble around them. This book is actually in the young adult category but I wouldn’t have known it if it wasn’t shelved in that category.
With the death as the narrator the perspective and omniscience was unlike anything I’ve ever read. This book really moved me and I am suggesting it to everyone I know!
My second review (2017):
My fiance is in a book club with a few work folks and he mentioned what I voracious reader I am, and they said to bring me along (yay!) I was delighted to find out they were tackling this book because I remembered liking it. I did not remember being so effusive in praise, but thanks to Goodreads I have a portal to my own memories. Weird, but awesome.
I’m happy to report I really enjoyed this book as a reread, and this time enjoyed it in the format of an audiobook. A novel heavy in narration as this one is does well in audio with the write voice actors, and the person who did this novel was great.
This is a book about Germany in World War II, but unlike a lot of the prevalent literature, it is about neither Nazis or Jews, but rather average unremarkable Germans living out lives. But their unremarkableness is what makes them rather remarkable, and relatable as they are just trying to make their way in an ugly and messy world. And the protogonist has a love of reading, and respect for the written word, that will touch your heart. There are lots of moments in this book that highlight the importance of reading and the thirst and hunger for knowledge. Zusak creates a story of horrors and hope, and it is one that should be read by any and all book lovers.