The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Author: John Boyne
Genre: Historical Fiction
Looking at the current state of affairs in Afghanistan, I got reminded of the horrendous crimes that men have committed against fellow men. It is painful to think of things that mankind has gone through in the past. I can hardly do anything about the current situation other than hope for the good of the commoners of Afghanistan. To give more power and depth to my prayers, I decided to read a book about the most horrific time in the 20th century in Europe. Among innumerable books available on the topic, I decided to read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas because it has been written from the point of view of a young boy. The Diary of a young girl is the most moving book I’ve ever read. I was hoping for a similar rawness and innocence in this book, just like there was in Anne Frank’s diary
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas: Book Review
The book warms your heart as much as it breaks it. It is from the point of view of 9-year-old Bruno. I loved the innocence of his thoughts and the simplicity with which he looked at things. He doesn’t understand most things happening around him but has the discretion to classify them as wrong or right. Bruno may not be old enough to decide for himself or help others but is observant enough to see through people. He doesn’t understand a thing about the divide between his side (read Nazis) and the “other” side ( read Jews), as, unlike many other adults, he is not ignorant to the fact that we are all the same.
All the characters in the book have been portrayed well. I wanted to dislike the father, but I couldn’t. In fact, I think, through his character, the author tried to put out an important message. A good person can be on the wrong side of things. Of course, I can’t say with conviction if the father was a good man, but the way he was with his family and had helped Maria, there was hope for him. No doubt his loyalties at work were messed up. But like any other person, he wanted to grow professionally. How could he have denied an “assignment” designated to him by “the Fury”? His fault was being on the wrong side of history and not questioning what he may have felt was a misdeed.
Very easily, the story flows deeper into the plot. The author has very efficiently portrayed the horrors of those times via various situations and characters. Through the eyes of Bruno, one is able to better understand the complexities that adults choose for themselves, and as a result, end up becoming victims at their own hands. It wasn’t an ending one would want, but I was ready for things to turn out that way. After all, one reaps what one sows. To conclude, I really liked the book. It is a very simple read and yet poignant to the extent to give you enough food for contemplation. What I took away from the book is that time and again, all adults should try to connect with the child inside and erase the complexities, boundaries, judgements and distinctions we hold against our fellow humans.
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Happy Reading. Chao!
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