The moment I touched the faded library cover, I knew 'The Boy in Striped Pyjamas' would be one of my favourite books for years to come. John Boyne has engineered a book that can and will open the eyes of hundreds of people like me. As a fictional history fan myself, this is among the greatest World War Two books. By showing us the other side of the war, the one that books don't dive into as Boyne does, he has unknowingly created a new style of writing. In the middle of World War Two, young, naive Bruno comes home to find his maid packing and that his father has been promoted to commandant of a concentration camp by Adolf Hitler himself. The next days of Bruno's life are mere flashes. He and his family move from their house in Berlin to a house on the verge of Out-With (Bruno's naive interpretation of Auschwitz). He complains about Auschwitz, stating that there's no one to play with, and we learn that his naiveté has been kept all this time. He becomes more and more curious about what lies beyond the fence, and decides that one day, he shall venture over the bleak chain link fence. And so he does. Once there, he discovers a young boy, named Shmuel, 'the boy wearing striped pyjamas', and, day by day, learns his life story. He learns about his birthday and his family on the other side of the fence. He learns Shmuel's way of life, and the life that war has thrust upon him. Bruno's life was forever changed on that fateful day in Berlin.
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I'm aching to tell you the rest, but that would spoil the gripping, heartfelt story that is 'The Boy in Striped Pyjamas. John Boyne has shown me and is showing others that the true message that needs to be heard: War is not born, but taught, that the purest, most loving minds are children's. 'The Boy in Striped Pyjamas' is Boyne's take on the unheard factor of life, the children, with warm hearts and big ideas, being silenced by gunfire. ‘The Boy in Striped Pyjamas' is set in Nazi Germany, in the early 1940's. Due to this, I feel my connections to the book were not as strong as they would've been with a book set in the 21st century. However, I do have an eight year old brother, which helped me connect to Bruno, not personally, but rather know how different his views on the world from say his father, how naive he really was. This just shows how well John Boyne has developed his characters in his own unique writing style.
Boyne's style is simple, yet intriguing, like he's holding back from us. His vivid way of putting us into Bruno's shoes is one you will find in no other book. In this case he narrates Bruno's life, but at times he dictates his family's lives too. In the end, his message is powerfully inspiring, one like no other.
'The Boy in Striped Pyjamas' is the most heartfelt, stunning novels I have read in many years for so, so many reasons. The way that John Bonye grabbed our hearts with amazingly crafted characters like Bruno and Shmuel, and then twisted them with plot twists and the reality of war. Additionally, I loved how I could relate with the characters so seamlessly. 'The Boy in Striped Pyjamas' is a heartbreaking story that will be loved by me for years to come..
Book Reviewed by Ben Nakhuda
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