“The consequence of this is that I’m always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both. (Death)” Markus Zusak, The Book Thief Markus Zusak is a writer best known for the worldwide known book The Book Thief (also translated into 40+ languages) but also wrote other books (Fighting Ruben Wolfe; Getting the Girl; I am the Messenger; The Book Thief; Underdogs).
Zusak was born on June 23,1975 in the city of Sydney, Australia. His first 3 books were first published between 1999-2001 and then the other 2 were on the year of 2002 and 2005. He won many awards and honors but gained more recognition with The Book Thief with having the book the most sell and having it on the New York Times best sellers. Zusak’s; The Book Thief; we could see the times in Germany when the Natzi’s ruled part of Europe and wanted more.
Death/ soul carrier, narrates the life of Liesel Meminger and the ‘real world around the time. Tells about Himmel (Heaven) Street, Germany/USSR, the war, his encounters and learnings (sometimes deadly), Liesel’s life, the Fuhrer and his powerful chaos, the numerous souls he had to pick up death after death, and the haunting humans after him. Liesel was on her way to her foster parents with only nine years of age, along in the trip was her younger brother, Werner of six years of age, and their mother.
Her brother died halfway the trip and had to be buried somewhere nearby the railroad; that’s when Liesel stole the first book about how to dig a proper grave and when death and Liesel took a first glimpse of each other. After all the commotion, Liesel and her mother got to the designated train station and greeted her mother goodbye to never see again and head towards her new Mama and Papa on a new street; Himmel (Heaven) Street. There she meets her new best friend Rudy, a lemon haired boy that loved Liesel within at first sight; a new home and family for her, new surroundings with new people to like or dislike.
Throughout the story, Liesel, meets new faces with good, soft, bad, or/and hard attitudes. take for example Mama (Rosa Hubermann), Papa (Hans Hubermann), Ilsa Hermann (Mayor’s wife), Frau Holtzapfel (Hubermann’s next door neighbor), Steiner Family ( Friends and next door neighbors), Max Vandenburg (Son of Han’s dead Jewish friend, Erik Vandenburg. Max is kept safe at the Hubermann’s house. ), Tommy Muller (Rudy Steiner and Liesel Meminger’s friend), and others that weren’t well meet but seen.
She learned that Mama was hard on the outside but was very soft in the inside and with a harsh/ nice side for everyone especially to the ones she cares most for; Papa would do anything to have all of his loved ones happy and protected; Ilsa Hermann is a nice lady that would let you read in her library if you loved words and books as much but with sad and hurtful memories of her son freezing to death; after years of a hard cover Frau Holtzapfel reveals part of her soft side but then a disappointed and sad side of her when she finds out that her young son died and her other son suicide himself for the same reason which wakes a wish to die at the first given moment. Liesel also sees the trouble and sacrifices that her parents, the Steiner family and Max Vandenburg have to make in order to survive, live and become or stay happy.
The Steiner’s Father, Alex Steiner, has a tailor business and is glad when the Jewish competition is gone but sees that his Jewish customers are gone too and is losing business and accepts the job opportunity from the military to fix up the uniforms somewhere away from Germany, so he leaves his family and comes back after the bombing of Himmel Street and finds everyone of them dead in their sleep. Liesel sees that her own foster parents suffer too; her Mama barely has a job on washing and ironing clothes for other people, even though she complains it helps out a little especially since Papa’s trade painting job isn’t going so well, but the troubles increase when some of the customers start to leave or can’t have the helping service anymore; then time comes when a job increases and then falls to where it was before.
Hans goes in a dangerous air raid recovery unit service not only to help out the family but to also save it from the consequence of his kindness to give bread to the falling Jewish on the street. He later comes home from almost dying on one of those missions but did die later in the bombing in Himmel street along with Mama and the Steiner Family. Max found shelter and a friend with Hans, Rosa and Liesel while there was trouble in his town and left his living family, he then left Hans’ family for them to have some peace of being “safe” for both the family and Max. Max wandered off and got caught later to be sent to a camp, passing by the Himmel Street he saw Liesel and both knew each other were all right and they would soon will encounter each other again in which they did once after the war ended.
They all meet Liesel and she helped them out and they helped her too by having fun and experiencing different situations. Everyone either died except for Max, Liesel, Mr. Steiner, the Mayor and his wife. The Mayor’s wife took in Liesel as theirs after her foster parent die; Leisel helps and keeps company Mr. Steiner and his shop. Max gets to come out of the camp as do the other Jews in other camps and finds Liesel after a long time and stay friends. They all made their life and they fell one by one on Death’s arms until it came to Liesel’s turn. Death returned her the book and talked about how it was found and he told her a little secret: he was and always be haunted by humans.
Around her surroundings; the streets, her home, her life, and her most preferable places; she seeked adventure, fights and an untold power within the very own words of saving some and killing others. So did Max, Death and Rudy such as well of the Hubermann couple; they experienced lovley and dreadful memorise to use through life and to share to avoid or to enjoy along. The whole story was not only to tell the difficulties of being in Germany in being part of the German families or the Jewish families, helping for the good or for the bad/Natzis; but for also to share a life, a few words and its powers and a death that will always be haunted by humans.