The Book Thief Ending

Markus Zusak
584 pages
2006

I have to say I am still very conflicted about the ending. I understand that authors are free to kill off characters, and while it is tough on the readers, sometimes it is necessary. However, I feel in this case, it was complete overkill. I know that this is a war novel, and we are supposed to understand the unfairness and unpredictability of war, but to kill off almost everyone Liesel cares about in one air strike was rough. To make matters worse, the way Zusak tells this part means we had to live through it at least 2 times, which I just found very cruel to read after becoming attached to the characters.

I think the worst part about the ending though is that we never really see Liesel survive the event. We see her in the immediate aftermath, and just know the bare details until her ultimate death. I felt this was a bit of a cop out. I think it would have been tricky to write about how someone survives that event, but instead we just get a couple of short flashes of what it was like. I was left feeling like the deaths meant very little to the story. Instead of leaving me feeling the impact of war, Zusak just left me feeling cheated.

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