Rudy Steiner: Character Connection

I have an affiliate relationship with and Malaprop's Bookstore in beautiful Asheville, NC. I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase merchandise through links on my site. Read more on my affiliate page.
Character Connection Button

We all have characters we love. Let’s spotlight these fantastic creations! Whether you want to be friends with them or you have a full-blown crush on them, you know you love them and want everyone else to love them too!

Most of you will probably post about how much you love each character, but this is a great place for the more creative ones among you to let go and have fun! Write a love letter to Captain Wentworth. Write yourself into a scene with Anne and Diana. Draw a picture of yourself in Jamie’s arms. The possibilities are endless.

Be sure to post the book’s title and author, and be very careful not to give away spoilers while talking about how much you love your characters.

Mr. Linky will be posted here on The Introverted Reader every Thursday.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is my favorite book, hands down. Oh, I have others I’ll call “favorites,” but this one is THE favorite.

I love so many of the characters. They’re people that I would like to know in real life. They feel like real people. They aren’t perfect but they’re doing the best they can.

Anyway, little Rudy Steiner is who you’re going to hear about today.

I’m looking through the book at Rudy and Liesel’s first meeting, when they’re both nine, and there’s just no way I can improve on what Zusak wrote. So here you go:

He was eight months older than Liesel and had bony legs, sharp teeth, gangly blue eyes, and hair the color of a lemon. One of six Steiner children, he was permanently hungry. On Himmel Street, he was considered a little crazy. This was on account of an event that was rarely spoken about but widely regarded as “The Jesse Owens Incident,” in which he painted himself charcoal black and ran the 100 meters at the local playing field one night.

In Nazi Germany.  He’s my hero already.

Jesse Owens on the podium at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.  This picture always makes me want to cry.  How very, unbelievably brave for him to be there at that time.  Posted on Wikimedia Commons by the German Federal Archive.

“Insane or not, Rudy was always destined to be Liesel’s best friend.  A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.”

“He was not the junior misogynistic type of boy at all.  He liked girls a lot, and he liked Liesel (hence, the snowball).   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 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.”

Through the years of the book, Rudy is always at Liesel’s side.  He does stupid things, she does stupid things, but they’re both brave and they’re both true to themselves.  But Rudy is always there.  Whether he’s getting her book out of the river or helping her up off the street, he is there and he is faithful.  He’s being pushed into the Hitler Youth, but he makes up his own mind what he believes; there’s no mindless indoctrination for him.

I could probably write more, but really I think you learn everything you need to know about Rudy’s very essence when you read about The Jesse Owens Incident.  He’s only 14 when the book ends, but I just know that as a man he would have been a full-blown book love for me.

Oh, let’s end with one more quote.

“He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It’s his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry.”

Who did you connect with this week? Write a post and link up! Be sure to visit everyone else’s posts too!

Other Posts You May Enjoy:


  1. This is the best book I've ever read, I think. There are so many favorites in this cast of characters. I'm teaching this book next year for the first time and can't wait! I'd probably have to choose Papa as my favorite character from this book.

  2. I've had The Book Thief sitting on my shelf for AGES and I really must get round to reading it soon!
    Rudy sounds like an interesting character 🙂

  3. Cool post-I actually just dug out my copy of Book Thief so I can start reading it once I finish my current book. I hope it's as good as everyone says!

  4. Perfect tribute to Rudy. Love him. I really really need to do a Character Connection one of these days, but I'm so overwhelmed by all my character loves I don't know where to start!

  5. Oh dear *hides behind the sofa* I didn't like The Book Thief!!

    But good connection – I did like Rudy more then any of the other characters.

  6. Oh, this is one of the best books I've read and it's so nice that you chose Rudy as your character this week. He is a very interesting, dynamic boy and I wish I had a Rudy Steiner in my youth. He would have been a great friend and I can agree, as a grown man, he could easily become a love interest.;)

  7. I really loved this book as well. I read it in high school, and your post is making me feel the need to re-read it!

I love to hear from you! Please contact me (menu bar, above) if you're having trouble commenting.