The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne 4/5
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 to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people 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 from his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.
Bruno is the nine year old son of a Nazi Commandant of Auschwitz. The story follows Bruno’s story of moving from Berlin for his Father’s job on the special request of Hitler, to starting up a friendship with a Jewish boy within the camp, and eventually, shockingly, having his eyes opened to the horrors of what really goes on behind the fence..
I read this book when I was a teenager, and when I spotted a copy in my library, I decided to re-read it and see if I experienced the read in the same way as I did back then. I can honestly say that this book still packs the same punch it did on my first read. Bruno’s naivety and the way that Boyne uses that innocence to tackle tragic realities in this hard-hitting, heart-wrenching narrative is masterfully constructed.
*No spoilers* The ending stays with you, even after you have closed the book.
Why I couldn’t give it 5*: unrealistic niggles. Bruno never questioned certains things that were said about his Father, most importantly, by his own Grandmother. Bruno was able to meet up with Shmuel more than I’d imagine possible under the circumstances.
If you want a hard-hitting, thought provoking read based on WW2 atrocities, then this is the book for you.
The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties
All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman
K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review