And, there will be a later one. I'm assigning Meg to write a review of this book as an English assingment. We're running behind in our house. As usual.
I loved this book, even though it was heart wrenching at times. Like Mark, I am a fan of the happy ending. I despised Titanic for two things: Leo dies in the end (and there were Titanic survivors, they didn't have to kill him off) and that old lady chucked a bazillion dollar jewel into the ocean. Is she CRAZY!!! Whatever.
That said, I think if everyone survived this story, it wouldn't have been so powerful. I don't believe anyone in Germany, or even Europe got through that war without losing someone they loved. Death (the character) wouldn't have known Liesel if her life hadn't been touched with so much tragedy. And, he wouldn't have been as impressed with her if she wasn't an embodiment of hope during a really hopeless-seeming time. There was a HUGE dif between this and Forest of Hands and Teeth in that I loved Liesel and cared what happened to her. In the other book, I thought the protagonist (whose name escapes me) was a crazy, selfish witch who was willing to sacrifice lives just to see the ocean. Ok, I live by the ocean, and I like it, but really!? Liesel and her foster family were good people, language notwithstanding, who made incredibly unselfish, difficult choices in dangerous times.
I loved the writing style, (although I coulda done without the language), but when I read the first couple of chapters out loud, Sam said: "what?! this guy thinks he's Shakespeare?" I thought it was very original and descriptive in a way that was unexpected. I think telling the story from the perspective of Death as a character was genius. His observations on humanity were very insightful and I really enjoyed that.
Overall, I really liked this book a lot. I love historical fiction, but so much of what's written about this era is so difficult to read. Also, the Germans are nearly always the "bad guys", when in reality, many of them were good people who were stuck in an unpossible situation. THere were glimmers of hope amid Hitler's craziness.
On this topic, you should watch the Lisa Kudrow episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?", you can find it on Hulu. She traces her family back to Poland and Russia during the Holocaust and finds some heart-wrenching stories there. But, also a great happy ending.