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The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief Chapter 42 Summary
The Whistler and the Shoes It's fall and Rudy has been having the same troubles at Hitler Youth. It's late in October and Liesel sees Rudy coming, his face covered in what looks like mud. Rudy tells Liesel to smell him. She realizes it's fertilizer (made from cow dung). Franz, the Hitler Youth leader, made Rudy do push-ups in a newly fertilized field. Between Hitler Youth and the Viktor Chemmel incident, he feels like a big fat loser.
He needs a little success. He feels the need to thieve. Rudy and Liesel agree to meet the next day to pull some job or other. At first, they can't think of anyone or anything to rob. Then Liesel gets an idea. She takes him to the mayor's house. She expects the library window to be open, but it's closed. Unfortunately, they will have to watch the place for a few days, until the time is right. A week passes and then—they find the window open. Liesel is both relieved, and terrified. Rudy wants her to get some food for him, but she has other ideas. She wants to steal The Whistler. Leaving her shoes with Rudy, she goes in through the window and grabs the book. Uh oh. She hears people walking on the floor above her. Rudy sees a light come on. She makes her way out the window, and they run. When they stop a safe distance away, Rudy sees the book and realizes that Liesel didn't even try to get him any food. Liesel realizes that Rudy has left her shoes behind outside the mayor's window. Ashamed, Rudy tells Liesel to wait and then goes back for her shoes. After what seems like forever, he comes back successful and smiling. He asks for a kiss but Liesel refuses, again. Rudy asks what The Whistler is about, and she tells him it's about a killer on the run from the police. When Rudy leaves Liesel at her door he says, "Goodbye Saumensch. […] Good night, book thief" (42.137). This is the moment Liesel officially gets her nickname. She likes it a lot.
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