Friday, May 25, 2012

FRIDAY'S FICTION CHAPTER BOOK: "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" by John Boyne

I stayed up until 1:00am listening to this book on my i-pod.  It's sure less taxing on my eyes. :)

I'm not sure if I would recommend this book to a child to read alone.  I do think it would be wonderful to have a parent or a teacher read it aloud to a child, especially as an introduction to the war and the Holocaust.  I did enjoy it very much, mainly because it's told from a completely fresh point of view, that of an innocent child, who can't possibly imagine the cruelty he witnesses.  At nine years old, Bruno is the picture of innocence and trust.  Living in a mansion, being waited on by servants and having plenty of food  is the only life he has known or can imagine.  Extreme hunger, sadness, cruelty and abuse stare him in the face day after day, even with wide "sunken" eyes, yet he can't see this.  His own safe life, his young innocence and his belief in the basic goodness of mankind cloud the truth.  The two extremes portrayed in this story, show the reality of the Holocaust in a way that is very powerful, very moving.  These extremes exist between Hitler and the blonde woman, the father and his mother, the servants' lives before and after the war, the Jews and Germans, Gretel and Bruno, the prisoners and the soldiers, the two 9 year old boys, and even in the homes where Bruno has lived.  There is also a level of indifference or even confusion portrayed in the mother and Gretel, to a degree.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in viewing the Holocaust from a new angle.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Ages 10+

Book Description

September 12, 2006
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.

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