Top critical review
5 people found this helpful
I don't hate it but I definitely don't like it!
on 24 May 2013
I have always loved to read books since I was a kid, but until I got my kindle last summer, I rarely seemed to find the desire to read regularly. Now I have it, I have a huge list of books that I'm trying to get through and then write a review on. The books I have on there have been chosen by me for various reasons, some are recommendations from friends, some are ones I just liked the sound of, and others are taken from the reviews on here. The Book Thief falls into the first and last category, so I started reading with high expectations. Those expectations started off being met quite well, but very quickly deteriorated (within the first couple of chapters), and I struggled to finish it. The only reason I stuck with it was because it had been recommended to me so highly by someone who told me very passionately that it was her favourite book ever. She told me that if I didn't cry I must be a cabbage. I guess I am in fact a cabbage.
As in my title, I didn't hate it, but I definitely didn't like it...for various reasons. I thought the plot was lacking and boring in equal measures. I felt the author sees himself as some kind of poetic genius, when in actual fact a lot of the 'poetic' language (I use the term loosely, perhaps 'stylised' might be more suitable)was just totally ridiculous and pretentious. I'm all for stylised, creative language, but this just doesn't make sense most of the time. I'd give a few examples but they becamse too numerous after a while. I started to lose respect for the author quite soon into the book.
The book started with great promise I felt. I loved the novel idea of the narration by death but wrongly thought that was going to continue consistently throughout. It didn't. Obviously when nobody's dying he's not fully involved, but it continues to be narrated by him, which to me didn't make sense and made me feel disassociated from the characters. Death is not emotional, so you'd figure it would be impossible to create emotions in the reader and for me that was definitely the case. Maybe that's what the author intended...maybe he wanted the reader to remain a distant observer of a very significant time in history...I just can't work out why.
I liked the relationship between Liesel and Max, and Liesel and Hans, and that alone stops me giving the book just 1 star...ie hating it. But they didn't develop enough for me, they were very two-dimensional and we could never really get to know them.
All in all....TOTALLY unimpressed and cannot fathom the high ratings. But I guess that's the beauty of books....the appeal of different things for different people.