The Book Thief Part 9 Epilogue Homecoming - The Handover Man Summary

In April of 1943 Hans Hubermann was sent home to rest, after his broken leg had healed enough for him to travel. He told Liesel and Rosa all about his war experiences. Liesel was very glad her Papa was home and she felt a calmness she had not felt for a long time. Unfortunately, it would only last for three more months, then the turmoil would start again.

Death talks of what happened on October 7, 1943. The bombers dropped their load on Himmel Street. The only survivor was Liesel, because she had been in the basement checking to see if she had made any errors, in the story she had written about her life. The rescuers were happy to see that someone had lived, but Mama and Papa lost their lives that night and Liesel was devastated.

Ninety-eight days after Hans returned home, the Jews were again marched through the streets of Molching. It was considered a bad omen to have the Jews marching through the streets and they marched through twice in ten days. Every time they marched Liesel looked to see if Max was among them; Max would march, but not until August.

On July 24,1943 Michael Holtzapfel hung himself, because he could not bear to live. Hans told Michael's mother and he sat with her in the middle of the street while she mourned.

They buried Michael Hotzapfel on July 27, 1943, the same day the Allies bombed Hamburg and killed forty-five thousand people. Still Hitler kept on fighting and killing Jews in his concentration camps. He worked other Jews in camps located in Germany and other countries, Max was among those working in a camp in Germany.

One day as some Jews were being marched through the streets, Liesel and Max spotted each other. Liesel ran to him and held his hand, she told him she was here for him. They were spotted by the soldiers and each took their turn being whipped by the soldiers. They tried not to give in to the pain.

Rudy saw her and with the help of Tommy removed her from the road, but she still pursued Max as he was marched down the street.

For three days afterward Liesel stayed in bed, but on the fourth day she went to see Rudy. She took him to the forest and after he promised not to tell a single living soul, told him about Max. Rudy then understood her actions, but he was most touched that she had told Max about him. It was in that moment Liesel knew she was in love with Rudy. What she didn't know was Rudy only had a month to live.

Liesel decided it was time to go to the mayor's wife's library to steal a book. It would make her feel better about her world. But as she reflected on all the horror she had seen and felt, she began to turn her anger on the written word. She shredded a book in her angst and felt bad about destroying Frau Hermann's property. She wrote her a letter of apology and promised to never return to the library.

A few days later, Frau Hermann showed up at Liesel's home with the gift of a journal. She wanted Liesel to write and not punish herself the way she had. So this is why Liesel was in the basement the night of the air raid, because the basement was where she went to write her story; the story of the book thief.

Liesel wrote every night in the basement, trying to tell the story of her life in just the right way. She finished the book on October 2,1943.

The Allied planes bombed Himmel Street, allowing Death to come into every home and snatch away as many souls as he wanted. The souls it took on Himmel Street included Tommy Müller and his sister, Frau Holtzapfel, Frau Diller, the Fiedlers, the Steiners, including Rudy, and Hans and Rosa.

Liesel was the only survivor, she wandered the street after her rescue in shocked disbelief. She could not believe everyone she had ever loved had been taken from her. During this time the book she had been writing was swept away with the rest of the debris, but Death stepped in and took it for himself.

It is now many years later and Liesel Meminger had died at an old age in a community outside of Sydney. She had married, had three children and was a grandmother.

Death explained the mayor and his wife had showed up at the police station to take Liesel home to live with them, after Hans and Rosa died. She refused to bathe and showed up at her foster parents' funeral wearing dirt and a pretty dress.

Rudy's father was finally able to return to Molching and came to see Liesel. He told her he wished he had been in the house instead of Rudy. They all carried guilt and incredible sadness with them for a long time.

Liesel helped Alex Steiner in his tailor shop and one day, in October 1945, Max walked into the shop looking for Liesel. They were so happy to see one another they fell on the floor.

When Death finally came for Liesel, he had a present for her. He gave her back The Book Thief, which she was stunned to find in his possession and he told her he read it over and over again. He wanted to tell her so much more about his understanding of humans, but instead he simply said, "I am haunted by humans."

Liesel endured a whipping to be by Max's side as he was paraded, with the other Jews, through town. She experienced great joy at the return of her Papa to their home and she grieved at the loss of her foster parents and Rudy during a bombing. Through it all she endured and was able to live a long and full life.

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