I finished John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas last night. Let me tell you, that book pretty much broke me. It was sooo good. So good, but the ending turned me into a wreck. In hindsight, I totally should have seen it coming, but I was so wrapped up in it all that it didn’t really hit me until I was in way too deep.
Despite the wreckage I feel after reading this book, I want everyone to read it. It is a YA novel, so it was a quick read for me. Even so, Boyne’s style in this book is genius. He presents the monstrosity of the Holocaust from the perspective of such naïveté that the story is both so much more and so much less than other Holocaust narratives.
I find a lot of Holocaust-era narratives from a non-Jewish perspective very interesting. I loved Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi (really great, definitely recommend it), but this was just so much different. The innocence of the children and unwillingness of the adults to fully explain what is going on makes the story that much more overwhelmingly inspiring. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is about the Holocaust, but really, it isn’t. It’s about two lonely little boys who form a friendship, innocent and unrestrained by the larger political picture.
Seriously though, this book was amazing and it is so inspiring. I think sometimes we need the naïveté and innocence of a child’s voice to bring us back to what is truly important. I have a feeling that I’ll end up rereading this book on multiple occasions, even if it did wreck me.
23 hours ago