Berlin, 1942: When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people in the distance.
But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different from his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas nearly broke my heart. Bruno is young and innocent; he has no idea the truth of what is going on around him. When his family moves to “Out-With”, he is jealous of the people he sees on the other side of the fence, wearing the blue striped pajamas. He wants nothing more than someone to play with, unaware of the horror going on around him.
The writing style is beautiful. It is very easy to read and understand, as if the story is meant to be understood by a child. As Bruno discovers the horrible things going on around him, they are told through the eyes of a child; someone who doesn’t quite understand what is happening. It leaves a lot of room for imagination, a lot of space to read between the lines.
I loved the friendship between Bruno and Schmuel, the boy in the blue striped pajamas. They didn’t judge each other, or hate each other because of which side of the fence they were on. Bruno didn’t understand why they couldn’t play or crawl under the small gap in the bottom of the fence.
The ending of the book wasn’t much of a surprise to me. My only complaint is that I didn’t get emotional enough about it. I was fully prepared to bawl my eyes out, but I think the hype over the book made it less of an emotional journey for me. That being said, it was fantastic, and something that I definitely recommend to everyone.
I am going to give The Boy in the Striped Pajamas four out of five hearts.