I finished this book a few days ago and I did enjoyed it but it did seem to take FOREVER! I know I was in the midst of exams at the time when I was reading it but even still I felt like I was spending ages reading it but not actually getting through it. My boyfriend did get this for my birthday and so therefore I am likely to like it for that reason alone.
Anyway I will start off with the criticisms so that we can finish positively! I didn’t enjoy the length, partly because I was unsure whether it needed to be so long. This was because many events were mentioned numerous times and you were always one step ahead of where the story, for example, Rudy’s death. Also I found that when I put it down and didn’t pick it up again for a few days it took me a while to get back into it due the constant shifting in times but also due to the future of the story already being shared. Lastly, I also felt that there wasn’t really a storyline, as such, and that it was more of a series of events. Maybe that is just me.
I did enjoy the book overall though, I liked the narration being by death. This was as I have never read a book where the narrator as been death and so found this very clever, although also very sinister. I also liked the characters and felt they all had a unique personality, which many books don’t necessarily have. The history involved also was very interesting as it showed that at a time of despair and dictatorship there were still some sympathetic and gentle Germans who were willing to help Jews and did not want to see them suffer. It shows the complete dislike of the regime from not only the outside world but also of Germans. It also shows how there were some people who really agreed, including the shop owner who made everyone “Heil Hitler” when they went into her shop. This showed the opposite side and shocked but also struck me with curiosity. The ending did make me cry, like so many endings I have read. It was just not what I was expecting, especially to somewhere as ironically named as Himmel Street. Many of the characters I really liked, although the obvious one is Liesel, I felt more strongly towards her Papa and Rudy. The mayor’s wife struck me as someone with a lot more to say than was said and remained a mystery throughout the novel.
I did enjoy this novel and would encourage others to read it, although it may take a while it is definitely one to read before you die! After hearing much about it I am glad I read it and can say that it wasn’t entirely what I was expecting. This was a naive way to think as a book narrated by death should be expected to incorporate lots of death.