Sunday, May 21, 2006
The Best Kind of Stealing
Dear God this was a long book. It took Forever to read. And what took the longest were the first 300 pages or so. It took me that time just to get used to the format. Zusak's narrator, as I'm sure you know by now - this being one of the most heavily buzzed new books around, is Death in Nazi Germany. Death has this pesky habit of interrupting the story to tell you things you don't really want to know. Like who's going to die. Am I really going to allow myself to invest myself in a character that I know is going to die? The author's got a lot of faith in himself to believe that he's going to make someone so lovable that you'll care despite yourself. On one hand, I admire his honesty - there were no tricks - I knew what was coming, and I read anyway. And I did care. However, I wonder how I would have taken it had I not known. Now, don't let me mislead you, everything is not revealed, and once past the adjustment period (for me 300 pages) it took a mere 100 to fall in love and the last 150 was read in awe (I did say it was long - and I really hate commitment). The characters were distinct and fully developed. All of them. It's interesting to see how incredibly different this is from I Am the Messenger. I'm sure it will at least get nominated for the Printz.
Germany, 1939. Liesel (and how much fun did I have saying that over and over in my head!) is sent to live with foster parents. The trip cross country is difficult and she sees her little brother die during it, which haunts her, making the adjustment more difficult and leading her to steal books - but only when necessary.