The structure of this book is fantastic. Death narrates the story and follows Liesel, the main character. He visits her on a few occasions, never stopping for her, but she catches his attention. He speaks directly to the reader and lays out exactly what’s going to happen. There are no surprises, but you’re not entirely sure when and how things are finally going to come together… or fall apart. And even though I knew what was coming, I still had hope I was wrong.
I love the way Zusak wrote this. Death makes little lists, he pauses to point things out for you, he talks about the colors that help him survive the survivors. He is not cruel. He is not kind. He just is. Zusak masterfully has him narrate Liesel’s story and uses her to view Nazi Germany during WWII. It’s a story about growing up and the things we all deal with growing up, only Leisel has to do it in fear and with extra confusion.
I enjoyed the originality of the writing and structure. It’s not just the way Death is used as the narrator – it’s the drawings and asides and leaps forward and back in time. Zusak created something amazing here and I’m glad it’s on so many To Read Lists.
If you don’t read this, you suck.