"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

09 February 2010

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Boyne, John. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. New York: David Fickling Books, 2006.

"If you do start to read this book, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy called Bruno. (Thought 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 such a fence."

I saw the movie based on this book maybe a year ago. Although I thought it was a good movie, I wasn't that excited to dive into the story in book form. However, as is usually the case, I found the book to be better than the movie.

This book follows the story of a German boy named Bruno whose family has to move after his father's promotion. The "Fury" promotes Bruno's father to commandant and places him in charge of a place Bruno calls "Out With." While living in his house on the outskirts of "Out With," Bruno goes exploring and encounters a boy who lives on the other side of the fence. Shmuel is Bruno's age, and Bruno is very glad to have found a friend, albeit a friend who lives a very different life than Bruno.

I found it intriguing to view the Holocaust and World War 2 through the eyes of a small boy. He doesn't understand what is going on around him; his concerns are only that he misses his friends and wants someone to play with. He sees himself as very similar to Shmuel: they were both forced away from their homes and everything familiar and both want desperately to return to what was normal.

I do not recommend this book to young children; however, the difficult subject matter was well handled, and it may end up on my list of "books a person must read to call himself or herself a human being."

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