book review: the boy in the striped pajamas

John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a strange little book. It’s about Bruno, a very naive 9-year-old boy from Berlin whose father is a Nazi commandant transferred to Auschwitz.

Bruno, being nine, thinks life on the other side of the fence from his house must be gobs of fun, what with the pajamas they get to wear. He meets a boy on the other side of the fence and they strike up a friendship, in which Bruno displays his ignorance and privilege. It’s not a terribly realistic story and belongs in the zone of fairy tale, but set in our own monstrous history. Nothing really sounded very German, but did sound very much the way a British person would portray a naive little German boy. It’s like Bruno was Pooh, stuck very far from the Hundred-Acre Wood. I liked it, but if you want a more in-depth German kids in WW2 story read The Book Thief.

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