November 10, 2009

Moved by "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas"

"The Boy in the Striped Pajamas"
John Boyne



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 from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see 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 to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

"The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" is a book that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Even though I knew that it would be a heartbreaking story from the very beginning of the book, it was still a wonderful book to read. Bruno is such an innocent boy who is experiencing the horrible circumstances of the Holocaust and relaying it to the reader. He doesn't always understand what he is seeing, but his descriptions were not lost on me. Even though some of the facts about Auschwitz were changed in the book, I still found it to be a useful book for starting a conversation about the Holocaust. Since it is not a historically accurate account, Boyne describes it as a historical fairy tale instead of historical fiction.

My only complaint about this book was that I found the music in the audio to be annoying. If you read the book you will not have this problem, and maybe I am just being picky about the whole music thing. I just find it to be distracting and unnecessary. It is read beautifully and I don't need ominous music to set the tone of the book.

The story is not just about the Holocaust, it is also about friendship, family, and growing up. I don't think you have to be a fan of history to enjoy "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas", this book is for anyone who loves a good fairy tale. In true fairy tale form, there are things to be learned and there are aspects of the story that are twisted. It may be a little more disturbing because instead of fantastical monsters, it is based on horrible events that happened to real people.

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