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.