The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (paperback)
by John Boyne
AR Level 5.8, 7 points
I do love books that tell the story of the Holocaust from different perspectives. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is slightly different… it is told from the point of view of Bruno, the 9-year old son of a German Commander. Bruno and his family are moved to a home in Poland, Out-With (which I assume is Auschwitz, but Bruno mispronounces it throughout the story). Lonely and upset about their move, Bruno goes exploring and discovers a boy sitting on the other side of a tall, barbed-wire fence. He doesn’t realize this boy is a Jew and the fence prevents him from leaving the concentration camp. Bruno, totally ignorant of what is going on in his country and the real job of his father, becomes friends with this boy, smuggling him food, and lamenting on how they can’t play together because of the fence. In the end, they get a chance to be together on the same side.
What I liked about this book is the character and perspective of Bruno. There were many author’s techniques that I appreciated, like the repetition of certain words and phrases. I also appreciated the way the author left a lot up to the reader’s interpretation and inferences. Very little was said directly, and that is because it is told through the viewpoint of an ignorant little boy (ignorant of what was going on, that is). It left me interpreting things based on my prior knowledge.
What I didn’t like about this book (or maybe it’s what I liked the most) was the ending. It was abrupt and unexpected. I won’t give it away, but I will say that throughout the story, I wanted revenge on the antagonists, and I feel the end gave Father the ultimate revenge. You’ll just have to read to find out what the ending was.
Book 35 of 40 (year 2)