Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

by John Boyne

This is a book where the less you know going in, the better it will be. So no summary this time...

**There are some minor spoilers in this review**

I didn't really like this book. I wanted to, but I just didn't.

I found Bruno too naive to be believable. I realize that he was young (9) and that the author was attempting to use childlike innocence juxtaposed to the horrors that were the holocaust, but I thought it went too far. How could a nine year old really not recognize that they had moved from Germany to Poland? And, if he really didn't believe that he had left Germany, why would he accept it as soon as someone he didn't really know told him? I know that many Germans had no idea what was happening in the concentration camps during the war, and for the most part, I believe they really didn't know. However, Bruno's father was the commandant of Auschwitz. He lived outside of the most infamous of the camps, and he really had completely NO idea that at the very least the "residents" were treated poorly? That, getting to the other side of the fence would not be some fun play date?

It was interesting looking at the difference between someone inside and outside the fence. The, pretty much unlimited freedom that Bruno had compared to the misery that was Shmuel's life. And the dynamics of the military family seemed quite believable. I just couldn't ever get over Bruno.

I guess I just hoped for more - maybe my expectations were too high. I think I'm the only person that didn't love this one - there are tons of positive reviews out there, so I wouldn't necessarily take my word for it.


Susan said...

I LOVED this book, but I get why you didn't. I agree that the author wanted to juxtapose Bruno's innocence with the horrors of Auschwitz - I think he was going more for an effect than for realism. Anyway, it's an interesting book. Too bad you didn't like it more.

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

You are the only one I have seen so far not love it. I thought that Bruno was to naive for his age as well. They do lower his age in the movie, which was AMAZING. I hope to buy it.

Janssen said...

Ugh, I'm so glad I'm not alone. If I get comments telling me how wrong I am not to love this book with all my heart and soul, I will come and comfort myself with your review :)