I have read a lot of books about the war, but rarely one about the lives of ordinary Germans on the home front, scared of bombs and just trying to get enough food to survive. Liesel's adopted family, the Hubermanns, were so brave hiding a Jew in Germany, indeed in a town near Munich where the Nazi party was born. Despite the atrocities committed by many Germans, it is important not to view all the people as the enemy but to see that German families had to suffer too. In fact, nearly all the characters are killed when the town is bombed accidentally by the Allies. Liesel's struggle to come to terms with this, her devastation at the loss of her second family, is heartbreaking.
The book is superbly written and is, I believe, an important story. Tears, laughter, fear, admiration; Markus Zusak evokes it all. With the clever embedding of German words and breathtaking attention to detail, this book will transport you to the German town of Molching and take you on an emotional rollercoaster alongside a little girl who just wants a family of her own, to tell her best friend Rudy that she loves him, and to stop Hitler from persecuting her dear Jewish friend Max.