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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (Vintage Childrens Classics) Paperback – 2 Aug 2012
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"This novel is a fine addition to a once taboo area of history, at least where children's literature is concerned. It provides an account of a dreadful episode short on actual horror but packed with overtones that remain in the imagination. Plainly and sometimes archly written, it stays just ahead of its readers before delivering its killer punch in the final pages" (Independent)
"An extraordinary tale of friendship and the horrors of war" (Irish Independent)
"In this unforgettably moving Holocaust tale, nine-year-old Bruno is witness to events devastating in their tragedy" (Irish Times)
"So what makes these different to any other set of classics? In a moment of inspiration Random House had the bright idea of actually asking Key stage 2 children what extra ingredients they could add to make children want to read. And does it work? Well, put it this way...my 13-year-old daughter announced that she had to read a book over the summer holiday and, without any prompting, spotted The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas...and proceeded to read it! Now, if you knew my 13-year-old daughter, you would realise that this is quite remarkable. She reads texts, blogs and tags by the thousand - but this is the first book she has read since going to high school, so all hail Vintage Classics!" (National Association for the Teaching of English)
"A small wonder of a book" (Guardian)
About the Author
John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971. The winner of two Irish Book Awards, he is the author of seven novels, including the international bestseller The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which was made into a Miramax feature film and has sold more than five million copies worldwide. His novels are published in over forty languages.
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“Of course all this happened a long time ago. And nothing like that could happen again, not in this day and age.”
Or maybe it could. But that’s for you to think.
The book is brilliant with its subtle portrayal of the Holocaust brutality. Slowly and steadily, it unfolds the savagery laid upon the Jews by the Nazis through a little boy's eyes who is a son of the top commandant of the Hitler's army.
The book seems like a perfect example to the karmic law. As you sow, so shall you reap is the phrase that came to my mind post reading the book. Unfortunately, the child bears the brunt of his father's sins. The author has done a wonderful job of portraying the cruel truth of Auschwitz in a subtle, simple and childlike manner. However, the climax hits you hard and leaves you sad and haunted. The book forces you to speculate over the cruelty that only human beings are capable of committing. It makes you introspect over the psyche of human beings.
Bruno is unhappy with this unwelcome event as he has to leave behind the bustling city of Berlin, their five-storey mansion, his three best friends for life and his grandparents. His older sister Gretel, who is anyway a Hopeless Case(as all older sisters are supposed to be) is also of no help. Adding to his misery, this new place feels very strange to him, having no other houses apart from his, military men always coming in and out of his house, a fence in front of the house which stretches as far as the eye can see and people beyond the fence wearing striped pyjamas.
With nothing to do and no one to play with, Bruno (being the explorer that he always wanted to be) sets out on his exploration determined to find something interesting in this lonely place. And he indeed is successful. He meets 'the boy in the striped pyjamas', named Shmuel who lives on the other side of the fence. Having nothing in common apart from their birthdays, these boys develop a deep bond of friendship untouched by the malices and hatred of the world around them, also oblivious to the devestating result of this innocent friendship.
My thoughts on the book:
Before sharing my feelings about this book, I would like you to acknowledge the fact that I am a little less aware of the reality of Holocaust and World War II and have read this book purely as a form of fiction. I know that this book has been criticized by many for trivializing the tragedies of people at concentration camps and the Holocaust and I respect everyone's opinion with all my heart. But ultimately it is for the individual reader to decide what they make of this book.
For me it was a good quick read. I got glued to the book from the very first line itself. I liked reading the book from the child's perspective and the fact that the author never forgot this was awesome. The writing style was engaging, the lines that were repeated several times and the missing details in fact, added to the beauty of it. It is innocent, it is tragic, it is cruel, it is heart-breaking...all woven together.
So for me it is 4/5 stars and I would definitely recommend everyone to read it.
Although the story is attention-grabbing, however I feel that some scenes of the novel could have been better like the brother-sister relationship could have been depicted loving and caring instead of fighting in every single scene. Also, at the last scene of the book, I couldn’t figure out what happened to Bruno till I read the paragraph thrice, so I feel the paragraph should have been more describing.
The book is described as fable, so I recommend this book to those people who love to highlight the moral in the end…..
For those who don’t find time to read the books, this book is a one sitting read and you can read it anywhere you go or maybe you can watch the movie….
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