There are numerous books that tell stories of the people who either survived or succumbed to the World Wars. It’s crazy how a person’s life can completely change because of war and the misery it brings along. It’s easy to talk about war, but when you read these books, you will realize the loss people went through during those times. I have read a bunch of books in this genre, but The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas has to be one of the most heartbreaking books I have ever read so far. Although most of the books in the genre of holocaust fiction are gut-wrenching and painful, some stories end up affecting you a bit too much.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (Review)
“The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” is a holocaust novel, that came in the year 2006, written by an Irish author John Boyne. The book follows the story of a nine-year-old boy named Bruno who lives with his family in Berlin. He has a sister who is twelve, and her name is Gretel. As per Adolf Hitler’s orders, Bruno’s father is promoted to Commandment. And now they have to move to ‘Out-with’. This makes Bruno extremely upset because he will be leaving his friends behind in order to move away. He finds his new home not that good as compared to his previous home. From his new home’s window, he sees a camp where people roam around wearing striped clothes, that is prison clothes.
As curiosity gets the better of Bruno, one day he decides to go and have a look at the camp. So, he hangs around the wire fence to have a closer look. There he meets a Jewish boy named Shmuel. And coincidentally, both of them share the same birthday and age. Shmuel and Bruno become great friends, and soon Bruno begins to sneak food for Shmuel as he sees Shmuel getting thinner by each day. Their bond gets even deeper, and Bruno promises Shmuel that he will never let go of him no matter what.
This book is extremely heartbreaking. I cannot get into details because I don’t want to spoil the book for you. The innocence of the two little boys will make your heart melt. The book shows that on the one hand, the adults are busily afflicting one another, while on the other hand, kids only understand friendship and love. Now, although the book received a lot of love and recognition, it is also criticized by scholars and intellectuals. Apparently, John Boyne based this book on general knowledge, which has led this book to have many inaccuracies in reference to the actual historical facts. This comes under the genre of holocaust fiction, but scholars think that the book gives the readers the wrong idea as to some facts are fictionalized."The book shows that on the one hand, the adults are busily afflicting one another, while on the other hand, kids only understand friendship and love." Click To Tweet
Some intellectuals have found that the book creates a ground for the humanization of Nazis, which in itself is pretty problematic. However, personally, I didn’t dig that deep whilst I was reading the book. So, these things didn’t bother me that much because I was not even aware. I think the message and the story of the book are strong enough to leave a lasting impression on the reader’s mind. You will end up visualizing every little detail as the writing style is extremely lucid and smooth.
In a nutshell, “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” is definitely a must-read, but if you are looking for something that will nourish your knowledge regarding holocaust and history, then you can skip this book and look for something more authentic.