A lot has been written about this book, especially since it was filmed, so I came to it having realised the ending, but I hadn’t worked out how it happens.
Told from the point of view of nine year old Bruno, the son of a high ranking soldier who gets promoted to become the Commandant of Auschwitz, Bruno and his family are shipped off (in some comfort of course) to live there. He soon sees the people behind the fence but doesn’t have his fateful encounter with Schmuel until halfway through the book when his loneliness drives him out of the house to investigate.
Bruno has led a privileged and sheltered upbringing in Berlin and loves nothing more than exploring with his friends, but I found it hard to believe that he had no idea at all about the fate of Jews in Nazi Germany. Throughout, he thinks he’s living in ‘Out-With’ and calls the Hitler the Fury – the former started to annoy me, the latter is grimly appropriate.
Marketed as a crossover novel for adults and older children, I found it a powerful parable about innocence and the loss of it, and very sad indeed.
* * * * *
Source: Own copy. To explore further on Amazon UK, please click below:
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne, Vintage Children’s Classic paperback