Book Review: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
What was it like inside the biggest concentration camp ever built? What was life like for the Jews during the Second World War?
These questions are answered by the book ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ by John Boyne. The book was published in 2006, and soon after, in 2008, a movie was also released with the same name. The movie was directed by Mark Herman, and the box office made a profit of over 44 million U.S dollars!
Say hello to Bruno!
The story revolves around a young boy named Bruno, who is the son of Ralf, a high-ranked Nazi general. Bruno is unaware of what his father really does and is completely unaware of the cruelties of the Nazi army. Bruno’s family, along with a caretaker, move to a new house far away from Berlin called “Out With”. Actually, it is “Auschwitz”, but Bruno continuously mistakes it for “Out With”.
Bruno is upset with his new house as he has no one to play with. He wants to explore, but his parents are reluctant as they don’t want him to find out about the Jews. One day his mom leaves for her job, giving Bruno the perfect opportunity to explore. He goes outside and sees a huge area surrounded by a metal fence. He meets a boy named Shmuel and realises that they share the same birthday.
He questions Shmuel about his clothes and wishes that he could join him and the thousand others that were in the camp, unaware that they were prisoners. Nearly every day visits the spot near the metal fence to give Shmuel food, and slowly, their friendship develops.
One fine day, Bruno decides to sneak inside the camp by digging a hole. Shmuel gets him some clothes from inside. Just as Bruno reaches the inside, the Nazi troops start rounding all the prisoners for a ‘march’. Shmuel tells Bruno that it is normal, but they aren’t aware that this was no routine march. They were all guided inside a chamber where thousands went in, and none came back.
Why read ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’?
The book taught me a lot about the history of Germany. It got me interested in WWII history, the rise of the Nazi Party and why their ideologies were so gruesome. It is also a simple book that can be read by all ages.
I also enjoyed the suspense created by the mistake that Bruno kept making; calling his house ‘Out With’. The book also showed how two people from different sides of the world were able to find peace, even though one side was trying to completely ruin the other.
Contributor: Aarush Mohan
About our Writing Program Student
A teenager with a love for football and gaming, Aarush Mohan is a budding pianist and also plays the violin. He is currently teaching piano to an 8-year-old in his neighbourhood. This 8th Grader from Greenwood High International School, Bangalore has lived in Indonesia, Hong Kong and Japan.