Friday, June 8, 2007

The Boy in Striped Pyjamas

A new copy of The Boy in Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne recently came into the library and I picked it up for a quick read. A young adult title, this book centers around Bruno, the eight-year-old son of a Nazi commandant during Hitler's reign. After a family dinner with Hitler, Bruno's father is transferred to a post as Out-With, guarding a high fence behind which hundreds of people in striped pyjamas live. Bruno is confused by the fact that all the people, besides soldiers, live behind this fence and one day while exploring he discovers a new friend, Schmuel, on the other side. Slowly coming to understand that Schmuel is a Jew and that he shouldn't like Jews, Bruno keeps his growing friendship with Schmuel secret. Eventually Bruno decides to climb under the fence and explore Schmuel's world. The ending is very unexpected. I was shocked and set the book aside, dumbfounded. I realized that it was a concentration camp but I never thought about the name, Out-With. Bruno was mispronouncing Auschwitz. Can't believe I missed that. A must read just for the ending. Boyne brings to light a very different viewpoint and brings to light many remaining questions.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Up A Road Slowly

One more down in my Newbery Challenge! I absolutely loved this book. Almost as much as I enjoyed Jacob Have I Loved. How did I miss out on so many good books as a child. I wasn't necessarily a popularity reader so I read some interesting things but I wish I could replace all the Sweet Valley High reading with titles like this. Although, I'm still hesitant to give up Baby-Sitter's Club. HA! Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt is the story of Julie Trelling, a seven year old, sent with her brother to live with her Aunt Cordelia after the death of her mother. From this new place in the country, Julie grows into a young woman and experiences all that goes along with it...loss, embarassment, friendship, and most importantly love. Really a must read for teen girls. Timeless!

Falling Boy

Browsing library shelves and picked up Falling Boy by Alison McGhee the other day and just finished it. To me, this was one of those books that while you're reading it you think...Why am I still reading this? But no, I continued on and hoped that everything would be tied up in the end. That in the last chapter it would all make sense and I would be astounded by the revelation. Unfortunately, deep down inside I knew that was unlikely to happen. I finished and thought...I don't get it. So, I quickly launched Amazon and the author's website looking for insight. All I found were glowing remarks from authors and readers about the outstanding imagery, emotional energy and depth of this book. What am I missing? It wasn't horrible but what was the point? Obviously I have no depth. I am depthless. Is that a word?