Monday, June 14, 2010

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Review

This is another one of those books that really shocked me. Even though the plot took place outside of a concentration camp during the Holocaust I was convinced it would have a happy ending. If you're looking for an upbeat book, don't read this. However, if you're looking for an easy read that tells of one of the worst times in Germany through a different perspective, this is definitely a book for you. Even though this is considered a young adult read, I never felt too old to read this. I actually felt like I had an advantage reading this. Boyne told the story entirely from the 9 year old boy, Bruno's, point of view. Because of this, Boyne tended to hint to things rather than just write them. When talking about Hitler, Bruno called him the "Fury" (instead of Furor) and when referring to their new home, he called it "Out-With" (instead of Auschwitz). I believe Boyne was trying to convey that there were double meanings to the replaced words. All in all, no matter how depressing the book was it still told a good story from a different perspective during a very volatile time . I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a story from that time period. There is also a movie based on the book which is currently in my Netflix cue, and both were highly recommended to me by a few people. Here is a review from School Library Journal:

"Boyne has written a sort of historical allegory–a spare, but vividly descriptive tale that clearly elucidates the atmosphere in Nazi Germany during the early 1940s that enabled the persecution of Eastern European Jews. Through the eyes of Bruno, a naive nine-year-old raised in a privileged household by strict parents whose expectations included good manners and unquestioning respect for parental authority, the author describes a visit from the Fury and the family's sudden move from Berlin to a place called Out-With in Poland. There, not 50 feet away, a high wire fence surrounds a huge dirt area of low huts and large square buildings. From his bedroom window, Bruno can see hundreds (maybe thousands) of people wearing striped pajamas and caps, and something made him feel very cold and unsafe. Uncertain of what his father actually does for a living, the boy is eager to discover the secret of the people on the other side. He follows the fence into the distance, where he meets Shmuel, a skinny, sad-looking Jewish resident who, amazingly, has his same birth date. Bruno shares his thoughts and feelings with Shmuel, some of his food, and his final day at Out-With, knowing instinctively that his father must never learn about this friendship. While only hinting at violence, blind hatred, and deplorable conditions, Boyne has included pointed examples of bullying and fearfulness. His combination of strong characterization and simple, honest narrative make this powerful and memorable tale a unique addition to Holocaust literature for those who already have some knowledge of Hitlers Final Solution."

I definitely needed something more upbeat after reading this so I started L.A. Candy on Friday and I am almost finished with it already! I spent a lot of time reading at the pool this weekend. So expect that review later this week.

♥ Erin

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