Sorry it’s been a while everyone! Been working on my own writing a lot the past month, and combining that with caring for a baby, I haven’t had much spare time. But I’m back for good now! Looking forward to sharing more bookish thoughts with y’all.
WITHOUT ANY FURTHER ADO, LET’S GET STARTED!
Our protagonist, Liesl Merminger, is sent to live with a middle-aged foster couple, as her mother can no longer afford to look after her during the harsh times of Nazi Germany. On the train to her new home in Himmel Street, her brother dies from illness, and Liesl steals a book from his graveside, the Gravedigger’s Handbook. Her new doting father teaches her to read, and Liesl proceeds to steal books to fuel her reading addiction. This book is about passion for literature, coming of age, and discovering the more important things in life during a period of widespread hatred.
I am still not over this book. If any book can be described as a rollercoaster, it’s this one. I went into this book with very high expectations, as I’d heard nothing but praise for it, and came away with little to no disappointment.
The setting was perfectly sculpted – either the author must have German origins, or did some fairly extensive research before the formation of the book. The small broken town of Mulching felt truly authentic, with its beautiful characters attempting to get on with their life during harsh winters and difficult monetary times. Each character reacted in the way you’d expect, as the Fuhrer further influenced the German population.
The plot was potentially the only downfall for me for this book. It was good, but it wasn’t GREAT. I feel like there was more that could have been done with the novel. The narrator of the book was ‘Death’, which personally I saw as a downfall, as everything was spoiled before it happened essentially. But somehow, it WORKED. I still found myself tearing at the pages, yearning for more. It was certainly a unique way to present a story, but it was slightly disappointing as the huge events within the book were essentially spoiled for you. I’m still very much in two minds as to whether I liked it or not.
The absolute best thing about this book was the prose. It was such a uniquely stunning book because of the writing. Words were used to their maximum capacity to invoke feeling, and it was just simply beautiful. The author truly had you in his grasp as you read it.
I’ve rated this book a 4.5/5 stars.
I can understand if this book isn’t for everyone, but it’s one of those books you ask yourself why you hadn’t picked it up earlier. This story is one that has the potential to break you, and I know that it will continue to stay with me for a long time.