‘The boy in the striped pyjamas’, written by John Boyne is one of the most touching books about the second world war, written for almost all ages. The book contains themes which are familiar to all cultures and ages. Love, friendship, fear, loyalty, discrimination, anti-semitism and cruelty are noticeable during the whole book.
A story about a boy named ‘Bruno’ , who is the son of a Nazi during the second world war. His father gets ‘a new job’ as commander of the concentration camp ‘Auschwitz’, so the whole family (mother, sister, Bruno and father) has to move from Berlin to their new home near the camp. Bruno doesn’t like it at all and he gets bored at his new living place. One day, when he is looking through his window he sees the camp and thinks that it must be a farm. He’s only wondering why there aren’t any animals at the farm. He likes to discover things, and his new house is too boring to discover so he starts walking in the direction of the camp. Arrived there, he meets a little jewish boy named ‘Schmuell’. They have a conversation and Bruno promises to come back a day later to chat again and that he’ll bring some food with him, for his new friend Schmuell. They start a real friendship and Bruno is starting to like his new friend and living place. Their friendship develops until Bruno hears that he’s moving back to Berlin. He meets his friend again and says that he’ll come back a day later and that he’ll come into the camp, to look for the father of Schmuell who is missing. This action has a terrible but, for some reason beautiful and heartbreaking outcome.
John Boyne succeeds bringing the story of ‘the boy in the striped pyjamas’ on a total different way comparing to other stories about friendships-in-the-midst-of-tragedy. The special thing about this story is that Bruno and Schmuell are having a total different background and that they are living extremely different lives, but still consider themselves as equals. This aspect makes their friendship more special and real than any other relation in the book. What is remarkable regarding the content of this book is that the whole ‘hollocaust’ situation is told through the eyes of a German boy, which gives you a whole different way to look at it.
The way John Boyne succeeds to show the reader the friendship and loyalty between little boys from the age of 9 is very special. John Boyne uses just little and standard ways to create a special band between this boys but the way the story and conversations between the boys are touching you as reader are incredible and heartbreaking.
This book does have some aspects which are normally only found in children’s books, but even when you would call this a children’s book, it would be a pleasure for every adult to read it out to kids.