The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is the moving story of Bruno a nine year old German boy whose father becomes the commandant of Out-With, his innocent pronunciation of that dreadful place that most of you reading this will have heard of 'Auschwitz'. Bruno has been protected by his parents from the disturbing truth of his father's army career and is told nothing about why his family leaves Berlin. I found this naivety at times both surprising and annoying especially in the light of the disturbing events that take place. An intelligent young boy would surely have asked questions and been more aware. Then I suppose the horrific ending could not have been written with such an impact, if Bruno had not appeared as such an innocent.
View of the electrified wire fence and barracks in January 1945http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/auschwitz_fence.html
Of course 'Auschwitz' was in the middle of nowhere and having left all his friends behind in Berlin and with only an older sister for company it was no surprise, even though forbidden to do so, that Bruno went off exploring his strange new environment. He is of course delighted to come across Shmuel, the boy in the striped pyjamas that he befriends on the other side of the wire. In all innocence he is completely taken in by the tales of life in the POW camp although he is absolutely no idea that this is what it is and that the people there are apparently enemies!
A sad and disturbing chapter in modern world history seen through the eyes of a child. A dreadful truth this short and sharp story will certainly bring the reality of 'Auschwitz' and other such places home to you.
It is a novel that I cannot say you will enjoy but it is a well written story and worth reading.This has now been made into a film but I am not sure if I am interested in seeing it. My own visual images were enough to find it disturbing without adding to them. Some of you may be interested in this publicity video for the movie though. It gives an insight into the background making of the film.
I must admit prior to reading this I had never heard of John Boyne so I have done some background research. He has written a number of other novels that were published but did not reach the readership of 'The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas' which are due to be reprinted by his publisher. If you are interested more information can be found at his own website.
Wikipedia - John Boyne Irish novelist born in Dublin 30th April 1971.
Another title ticked off from the three unread titles on the Lovereading - Books of the Decade list that I wrote about here in May. I have now read eight out of the ten and the last title is already waiting on my TBR bookshelves.