Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Boy In the Striped Pajamas

Book: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Author: John Boyne

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.-Goodreads

Review: Bruno is nine years old when his father, a Nazi Commandant, moves the family to 'Out-With' for his new job. Bruno is not happy to leave Berlin, his friends or their house. He's especially unhappy with their new house as there is nothing to do and no one to play with. That is until Bruno ventures to the 'farm' he can see from his window, the place he is forbidden to go. Bruno befriends a boy the same age named Schmuel and Bruno's life is changed forever. 

If you are reading this for historical accuracy, look elsewhere. As a child of a high ranking Nazi Commandant, Bruno would have been part of the Hitler Youth. He absolutely should have known who Hitler was, what the Nazi salute was as well as what being Jewish meant. As written, Bruno knew none of these things. Although 9, he was written as a younger child, closer to age 6. Throughout the book he referred to Hitler as 'The Fury' and Auschwitz as 'Out-With' even though he was corrected on the pronunciation multiple times.  Almost every child was killed upon arrival at Auschwitz so the likelihood of Schmuel and Bruno ever meeting or becoming friends is far fetched. 

Okay, if you can look beyond all of that and read this as a fictional story of two boys caught up in a war they don't understand, this is an extremely sad tale. 

Grade: 3/5

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