John Boyne (2007) The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Posted by celticman on Sun, 12 Jan 2014
This book is described as a fable, a conceit, a what if? It’s I’d guess aimed at children or adolescents, although, of course books like the Northern Lights series, Harry Potter, Little Women or Treasure Island were also read and enjoyed by those that can be described as being more adult. I can’t say I enjoyed The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas much, but maybe that proves I’ve finally grown up and become more mature. It’s quite a simple tale. Nine-year-old Bruno meets Shumel, who is about the same age. Standing on one side of a barbed wire fence Bruno introduces himself, Shumel answers him in German, but he can also speak French and because he’s Jewish and Polish finds himself wearing a pair of pyjamas and is in a concentration camp on the wrong side of the fence and history. The camp is Out-With and it was a bright sunny afternoon when Bruno and his family arrived. Bruno and his sister Gretel, three-years-older than him didn’t want to leave their idyllic house and friends in Berlin. Neither did their mother, or grandma, who was actively opposed to the move and her son’s appointment, but nothing could be done. The Fury and his glamorous blonde companion had come to dinner at their house and asked their father to be Commandant of Out-With. It was a prestigious appointment and nobody turns down the Fury. This is deception by homonym. The Fury is the Fuhrer, Hitler, his companion is Eva Braun and the camp is Auschwitz. Bruno is mystified. I am mystified. I can’t go on. Oh dear, there’s a film version. I’ve never been one for burning books.