The Book Thief - Markus Zusak I must preface this review by stating that I only made it about 1/5th of the way through. This is one of those stories that I was really looking forward to because of all they hype that surrounded it. However I just kept putting it off because I never seemed to be in the mood to read it. Well I finally decided to just sit down and read the darn thing in preparation for the movie that's coming out later this fall.

As of right now, I'm still considering watching the movie. Afterall, it can only be a couple of hours of pain versus the MANY hours this would take to get through. It's not that I don't see the literary merit this story possesses. I do. But reading it reminds me of the days in high school where we'd be forced to read a "great literary work of art" that I would find abysmal at best. (Don't get me wrong, there were a few I enjoyed, just not all.)

I will admit a small part of me wants to keep reading just to see what happens. But a much larger part wants to just wipe my hands clean of it and move onto something more enjoyable. Afterall, this isn't the only WWII/Holocaust set story. Here are a few reasons why I just can't stand to continue this:

1. The writing. As a whole, it's not terrible writing, as previously stated. But when it's bad, it's BAD. Example: "Chocolate-colored sky" Okay, um, pretty sure I've never seen a brown sky. Sure it can get gray and dark, but I have never seen a chocolate sky, even a "dark, dark chocolate" one. This is just one of many. In fact, the entire prologue I had a difficult time understanding what was happening because it felt like words were just mashed together to form some "great literary prose." To be fair, once into part one the horrible bits were less frequent and the story became easily understood, thus helping to make sense of the prologue as well. However a prologue is supposed to draw the reader into the story (at least last time I checked). The prologue did nothing for me, except make me question why it takes 550 pages to tell a story about a little girl stealing three books. Which brings me to my next point:

2. The Plot. And it's pacing. It's not that I didn't know what this story was about going in, because I did. However for the story being wholly fiction I would have expected for more plot to be thrown in to create the need for such a long story. Now granted, as previously stated, I did only make it through 20% of the book. But that's my point, at 20% there should be something going on that holds the reader captive to at least get to the 50% mark. But really all I can say that happens is she steals a book, goes to foster care, learns to read and write, and gets treated like trash. Okay...and? I kept hoping something would happen to hold my attention, but it never did. I felt like the story was going at a very slow pace and I just wanted to get on with it.

3. Death. At first I thought "okay, cool, things from Death's perspective. This should be intriguing considering the time period and at the very least it's different." Having the story narrated by Death wasn't a poor choice on the author's part. It had a definite potential to work really well. But Death's snarky little inputs and the interruptions in the story, just to add the snarkiness, were so distracting and VERY annoying. Also, looking at it from a very realistic perspective, how does Death know all the details of the story if he's so busy collecting souls? You can't expect me to believe he "watched" her entire life go by. How does that work then? Does he just automatically know everything? (I know it's kind petty, but since I'm tearing this story apart anyway, might as well throw that in.)

I could probably go on about why I will never be able to finsih this story, but let's just suffice it to say that this was just not a writing style that I enjoy. I certainly hope this is one of the very few cases where the movie is better than the book.