Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

 Title: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Author: John Boyne
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Paperback, 216 pages
Date Published: September 12, 2006

Description (Taken from Goodreads)
Berlin 1942

When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences. 

 The Boy in the Striped Pajamas presents a vision of Germany, under Hitler's reign, through the eyes of an innocent and naïve 9 year old. The language is written in a way that younger readers will understand and grasp onto, but not so much that it is strictly aimed towards younger readers. The book’s topic is anything but childish. Nazis, war, and the mistreatment of Jewish people are touched upon, but rarely outwardly addressed.

Bruno, a precocious and adventurous 9 year old, meets Shmuel, a 9 year old Jew in the concentration camp, on the other side of the fence at Auschwitz. What follows is a touching tale of friendship, love, and the barriers that young children overlook or don’t see at all.

The following is written on the back cover of the book and I believe it sums it all up very well:

“If you start to read this book, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy named Bruno. (Though this isn’t a book for nine-year-olds.) And sooner or later you will arrive with Bruno at a fence.

Fences like this exist all over the world.
We hope you never have to encounter one.”

One fence changes Bruno’s life forever and this story can easily change yours. It is touching, heartbreaking, and knowing that things like this actually occurred is sickening.

Years ago I had the opportunity to see an exhibit at a museum in England that focused on the Jewish Holocaust victims and survivors. Outside of the museum was a piece of the Berlin Wall. I remember that day and the feelings that all of those images evoked within me. Reading The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was a lot like that day and it's not something I'll easily forget.


MarceJ said...

This is the 2nd review that has made me say 'Marce read it'

Good review.

MarceJ said...

Back again - Guess What..........

I have an award for you.

Cleverly Inked said...

I so want to read this. My husband and his family are from Poland and they experienced all of this first had. His grandmother was in a "work camp" for about 10 years. We plan on going to Poland in a few years to visit. I am going to try to make it to Auschwitz.

Kristen said...

I watched part of this movie on tv the other day. Reminds me I DVRed the rest and need to watch it! Sounds like a great book.

Nikki (A Haunt of Ancient Peace) said...

MarceJ - Thanks so much for the award and I hope you get to read this soon!

Cleverly Inked - I hope you enjoy the book. I'm sure it pales in comparison to the actuality of living in a camp, but it is still an excellent read.

Kristen - I need to see this movie. I picked up the book when I heard about the movie, so I'll have to see it soon.

Deanna/ibeeeg said...

I have seen this book before but I believe this is the first time that I actually thought that I should read it. I am thinking this may be a good book to have in the house for the children to read.

Jo-Jo said...

I'm glad you liked this one...I also enjoyed it. Did you happen to see the movie?

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