Part 10 Summary

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It was raining when the end of the world came for Liesel Meminger. The gray, metal planes opened and bombs were dropped off-target. Himmel Street was destroyed. All were sleeping when the onslaught occurred. Only one person survived: Liesel had been sitting in the basement reading her life story and editing the mistakes. After the house collapsed, Liesel beat her pencil against a paint can to alert the police. They dug her out of the rubble as she kicked and screamed, desperately clutching the book that had saved her life. They were ecstatic to have found someone alive. Meanwhile, Death had carried away the souls of her mama and papa and the souls of everyone else on the street.

A few months before the destruction of Himmel Street, signs of the worst to come are delivered. Another line of Jewish prisoners is paraded through Molching, this time from the opposite direction. The prisoners are being taken to Nebling to do cleanup work left behind by the army. Liesel looks for Max, but she does not see him this time. Many souls seek Death and ask him to take them away. Later, a returned soldier, Michael Holzapfel, is discovered hanging from the rafters in a local laundry. He could not take the guilt of living. Frau Holzapfel collapses in the street in despair.

Later, Liesel sees another crowd of prisoners being paraded through Molching, and strangely, one of the men looks out into the crowd with purpose. Liesel steps into the street and says to the man next to her, “He’s looking for me.” Liesel calls out to Max, runs through the parade, and grabs Max’s arm. The Nazis had caught Max three months prior on his way to Stuttgart. Max warns Liesel, but she will not leave his side, prompting a soldier to push through the parade toward them. He drags her out of the parade and throws her into the crowd of onlookers. Liesel will not give up, and she enters the parade from the back. When she finds Max again, he stops walking and kisses her hand. Then comes the soldier’s whip, and Liesel falls to the ground. After Rudy comes to her rescue and lifts her to her feet, she still tries to run toward the parade to Max. The soldier turns to deliver another blow, but Rudy pushes Liesel out of the way and takes the blow himself. The two are left in each other’s arms in the middle of the street. Liesel stays in bed for days, but when she rises, she takes Rudy to a grove of trees and tells him the truth about Max.

Liesel returns one last time to Ilsa Hermann’s library, and while there, she is so angry that she destroys one of the books. She writes a letter of apology to Frau Hermann and leaves it behind in the library. Frau Hermann shows up at Liesel’s house on Himmel Street and encourages her to write her own book. Liesel goes to the basement to write The Book Thief. Every night, she goes to the basement to write. She is in the basement when the bombs are dropped on Himmel Street. When her rescuers lift her from the rubble, Liesel is shocked to see the body of Frau Holtzapfel twisted on the ground. She looks around and sees Rudy. She runs up to him and shakes his lifeless body. She kisses him but cannot bring herself to say goodbye. She also sees her mama and papa. She kisses their bodies too, and she is in tears when the police lead her away.

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