Review: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Book #39 for 2014

This was a supremely sad tale with a unique perspective of the Nazi concentration camps. Many argue that Bruno and his family — and the rest of the characters as well, I suppose — are extremely unrealistic, and they make good points in their criticisms. Somehow, though, I think there is a core of truth in all of them. Hindsight can make for very harsh judgments. Does that make the Nazi crimes any less heinous? No, of course not. But it does show how human they are, and what risks we run of committing similar offenses just by being human. The story is a call to ethical and moral vigilance, and a reminder of how devastating the consequences of failure can be. It makes me wonder what crimes against humanity we will be judged for by future generations.

I did have a huge gripe with the language issues, though. The whole “Out-with” and “Fury” bit, and Bruno’s constant mis-hearing of German words in English. Pulled me out of of the story every damn time. And I also had a hard time believing the children were the ages stated in the story. This, together with a persistently insipid tone, really brings my rating down quite a bit.

I’m not sure I can really recommend this story to anybody. While I get what the author was trying to do, I feel like there were much better ways of going about it. This is a supremely sad tale, yes. But it needs to be chilling instead.

View all my reviews


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