By The Bel: Markus Zusak’s – “The Book Thief” Book vs. Film


I borrowed this one from Bolinda online borrowing through the Brisbane City Council Libraries and read along with the paperback. Dennis Olsen narrated this book and did a fabulous job of transporting you to Liesel’s side. The intervals of accordion music added a nice touch.

suzak_bookWe’re all so used to the atrocious tales of the mistreatment of Jews in Nazi Germany: concentration camps and pure evil, and usually told from the point of view of a victim. Our narrator is Death. Yep, you read that correctly, Death–busy guy in those years.

He tells us what he witnesses while observing the life of a German girl, displaced by circumstance. She is brought up by people who do their best to counteract injustices, even if they can only help a few people.

Liesel is just a girl, and yet she is so much more. She hungers for knowledge. She gets on with life and books help her travel on her journey with courage and chutzpah. There’s perhaps a little Liesel in all of us who treasure our books.

I was charmed, amused, engaged, enraged, and brought to tears by this beautifully crafted story written by Markus Zusak.

I’m getting goosebumps just watching the trailer. I couldn’t stand it if they haven’t done the original justice.

Audio book link

Paperback, 584 pages

Published November 1st 2013 by Picador Australia (first published January 1st 2005)

ISBN 1743515863 (ISBN13: 9781743515860)



Now I knew this would be a tearjerker of a movie thanks to the book, but the big mystery would be if the director, Brian Percival, could do justice to Mark’s book.

In short, the answer is YES! The visual element adds to the story in both beautiful and horrific ways.

The casting is perfect, from the narration of Death by Roger Allam, to Sophie Nelisse as Liesel Meminger. It completely matched the vision in my mind. This may have been because I had seen the trailer before reading the book, but I was convinced nonetheless.

Admittedly, some of the more graphic parts, such as some of the more horrific treatment of prisoners by the Nazi soldiers, were left out of the film, but I don’t think it would have added to the emotional impact. If anything, it would have lessened it with shock value, rather than allowing the story to flow.

I will definitely be watching this one again, because under all the tragedy and emotional turmoil, there is a heartfelt and solid story of strength, survival. and beauty.

Verdict – If you’re short on time, watch the movie. If you’re in the mood to be moved, pick the book. Either way, you’re not going to lose. Just make sure you have the tissues on hand.

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