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Unformatted text preview: on regarding the books. They were eating in the
kitchen. Looking at the spoonfuls of pea soup entering Mama’s mouth, she decided to shift her focus to Papa.
“There’s something I need to ask.”
At first, there was nothing.
It was Mama, her mouth still half full.
“I just wanted to know how you found the money to buy my books.”
A short grin was smiled into Papa’s spoon. “You really want to know?”
From his pocket, Papa took what was left of his tobacco ration and began rolling a cigarette, at which Liesel
“Are you going to tell me or not?”
Papa laughed. “But I am telling you, child.” He completed the production of one cigarette, flipped it on the
table, and began on another. “Just like this.”
That was when Mama finished her soup with a clank, suppressed a cardboard burp, and answered for him.
“That Saukerl,” she said. “You know what he did? He rolled up all of his filthy cigarettes, went to the market
when it was in town, and traded them with some gypsy.”
“Eight cigarettes per book.” Papa shoved one to his mouth, in triumph. He lit up and took in the smoke. “Praise
the Lord for cigarettes, huh, Mama?” Mama only handed him one of her trademark looks of disgust, followed by the most common ration of her
Liesel swapped a customary wink with her papa and finished eating her soup. As always, one of her books was
next to her. She could not deny that the answer to her question had been more than satisfactory. There were not
many people who could say that their education had been paid for with cigarettes.
Mama, on the other hand, said that if Hans Hubermann was any good at all, he would trade some tobacco for
the new dress she was in desperate need of or some better shoes. “But no . . .” She emptied the words out into
the sink. “When it comes to me, you’d rather smoke a whole ration, wouldn’t you? Plus some of next door’s.”
A few nights later, however, Hans Hubermann came home with a box of eggs....
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This note was uploaded on 01/17/2014 for the course ENG 99 taught by Professor Michal during the Winter '13 term at CSU Sacramento.
- Winter '13