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Set in WWII-era Germany, The Book Thief tells the story of a twelve year old girl called Liesel Meminger, the eponymous book thief, living with her foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann. This book is entirely narrated from the perspective of Death—who has surprisingly witty and dry sense of humor (and uses beautiful metaphors a lot). Written by Markus Zusak. A film adaptation was released in 2013, starring Sophie Nélisse as Liesel and Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson as the Hubermanns.Keep some tissues handy.
This work provides examples of:
Adaptation Distillation: What did you expect? The movie cut out some lesser elements from the book, and the main plotlines featured in the film were simplified. It also cut a few of the minor characters out. Most notably, Franz Deutcher had a much larger role in the film, it being a compression of several minor characters.
In fact, Rudy Steiner was one of those audacious little bastards who actually fancied himself with the ladies. Every childhood seems to have exactly such a little juvenile in its midst and mists. He's the boy who refuses to fear the opposite sex, purely because everyone else embraces that particular fear, and he's the type who is unafraid to make a decision. In this case, Rudy had already made up his mind about Liesel Meminger.
Cluster F-Bomb: Rosa Hubermann is very prone to this. And Pfiffikus makes Rosa, in the book's own words, 'look like a saint and a wordsmith'.
Covers Always Lie: A lot of versions of the cover depict a scythe-wielding hooded Death. Y'know, exactly like how Death specified he/she DIDN'T look like?
Cranky Neighbor: The antagonistic Frau Holtzapfel, who detests Rosa Hubermann, and makes it a point to spit on their door handle. She gets friendlier after Liesel starts to read to her.
Don't Fear the Reaper: Death, the narrator, is amusing, non-linear and rather compassionate towards humans, particularly the other main characters. He even describes cradling the souls of particularly vulnerable or sad people, like children or the Jews killed in the death camps, in his arms. Given that it's a book about World War II, the "amusing" part takes a sharp turn. The death camp scenes, unsurprisingly, are particularly bad.
Arthur (after Rudy and Liesel have stolen from Otto Sturm): We'll get the others. We might be criminals, but we're not totally immoral.
Incurable Cough of Death: Sort of. It's not explained why Werner died (it's hinted he was ill) but right before he did so he was overcome by a violent coughing fit.
Irony: The basement of Liesel's house was rejected as an air raid shelter due to its low ceiling but it was sufficient to shelter Liesel from the bombs that fell on Himmel Street, killing everybody but her.
I Should Write a Book About This: Liesel ends up writing a memoir about her experiences. Then, Death picks it up, which is how we get the story. When he meets Liesel at the end of her life, he gives the memoir back to her.
Jerkass: Viktor Chemmel will always give you the inexplicable urge to punch him in his smug face.
The Masochism Tango: You really have to wonder what got Hans and Rosa Hubermann together in the first place.
Maybe Ever After: Liesel and Max might have gotten together at the end. Or not. In the film they remained close friends for the rest of their lives. Word of God from Markus Zusak is that he, personally, believes Liesel and Max don't get married - but in the end that's just his opinion, and every reader can have their own belief about how things turned out.
Noodle Incident: The infamous Jesse Owens incident is mentioned a couple of times. Subverted in that later, Rudy tells Liesel about the incident in such detail that she can now picture it perfectly in her head.
Odd Friendship: Liesel and Max end up bonding over a number of things, including fists, trains, words, and their respective dead relatives.