John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a tale of friendship, of childish innocence that can blossom in the murkier waters of hatred and violence.
What sets it apart from any other books about Holocaust is its narrator; Bruno. He is the 9 year old son of a Commandant of the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp. He meets Shmuel, a Jew captive, and they become friends despite a wired fence between them.
While the horror of such concentration camps is undeniable, Bruno brings a fresh perspective; a perspective that draws out the flaws in the world of adults.
He is not privy to the reality of his surroundings but can sense its sadness. This creates a tone of irony which helps to clearly portray how our every conflict stems from the notion of mine and theirs.
It also reveals that no matter how many fences we build to strengthen this notion, the intention of selflessness and empathy can thrive even when we are limited by our perceptions.
If this book’s subject matter is grim then its ending is totally heart breaking. However, it is worth a read because every now and then we might need to transcend our realities to feel someone else’s tragedy.
Credits: Danielle on Twitter
TO DO: Read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas- a story set in the Holocaust.
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