Teen reviewer Neeka takes a look at a middle school TAB favorite:
The Boy in Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
The Holocaust has been painfully recounted by survivors and onlookers. But John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is told from an entirely unique perspective: a nine-year-old boy’s. Not a boy in a concentration camp—a German boy whose father is a Nazi officer.
This particular nine-year-old, Bruno, happens to befriend another nine-year-old boy, Shmuel, who happens to live on the other side of the fence. Shmuel lives on the side of the fence where men with black and red armbands shoot people who never get back up.
This story is so eye-opening precisely because it is presented to us with hindsight in mind. We know so much more than Bruno does, and that’s why we have empathy for him.
Some people don’t like reading books about difficult time periods in history as it evokes too many emotions within them, but this book is more subtle than a nonfiction book, as Bruno’s helpless ignorance keeps him from blatantly talking about what is happening all around him.
In general, though, this book really speaks for itself and resonates with each reader in a different way. It is a masterpiece and a very cleverly crafted story of one of the greatest massacres in human history. Read it and it will give you chills.