Here's what I don't like about the Post-Modern Novel (spanning all age ranges):
- Gratuitous and titillating violence
- Endings with no redemption
- Anything involving child-rape scenes, child shipwreck survivors who go cannibal, etc.
What's incredible here in this story is that Zusak conveys such a depth of feeling for all of the characters, even the ones we start out thinking we don't like. It's about being regular people in the midst of extremely challenging times. For Liesel, these challenges include being a poor, pre-adolescent, child of Nazi Germany, who has recently lost her birth family. It's about the small and large ways that we hold onto our humanity. It's about growing up and learning to love. It's about Death, who is actually quite tender at times and quite overworked at the telling of the story.
Yup, this story made me cry (like The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger), because you could feel the tragedy coming, and Death even gives you a heads up once or twice. But it also made me laugh. I marveled at the way Zusak used language and description, and how he went about piecing the story together. So many times I would reread sentences to get their flavor completely.
I am pretty bereft without the characters and it's been three days now since I finished the book. So I picked it back up and am reading it aloud to Jake, my husband, at night while he does the dishes.