The Boy In the Striped Pajamas (TBSP) was written by John Boyne in 2006. Describing a time during the Holocaust, Boyne sometimes writes as a traditional narrator, and other times as if he is a child named Bruno. Bruno lives happily with his family in Berlin, Germany, until they move to a place that the child calls “Out-With,” where a concentration camp (actually Auschwitz) has been established.
Bruno, alone and friendless, recalls how fun it used to be to explore his surroundings, so he begins to follow the fence that surrounds his house. He finds a little boy sitting, legs crossed and drawing a circle in the sand. The boy, Shmuel, sees Bruno and they soon become friends. Then one day, a terrible thing happens: Shmuel discovers that his father has disappeared. Eager to help his friend find his father, Bruno puts on striped pajamas and crosses the fence into Auschwitz to aid Shmuel.
Instead of trying to convince, Boyne explains events that took place during the Holocaust so that everyone can learn to never let such a thing happen again in our times. Through Bruno, Boyne shows how children are capable of compassion and deserving of it. Bruno has strength and innocence that motivate him to go to any length to find Shmuel’s dad. It shows teens that there are children out there who can be even stronger than we are.
TBSP is particularly moving. It affected me in ways that no other book has ever done. Instead of being like any other book about the Holocaust, it was very descriptive and offered a unique perspective. I give this book five stars and recommend it to anyone who would like to understand the Holocaust in a new, more personal way. Published by David Fickling Books, TBSP is available online at bookstores, such as www.randomhouse.com.