Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book Review: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

I had watch the film, the boy in striped pyjamas and was highly disappointed, but everyone I spoke to about the book said it was powerfully affecting original book, and I guess on some level it was. However, I finish the book and was left with an empty feeling.
The book is set in Berlin, 1942 and follows the life of Bruno who is nine year old. Bruno returns home from school one day, to discover his belonging being packed in crates.  His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house. There behind an wire fence, Bruno met Shmuel (the boy in the striped Pyjamas) who lives a life very different from him. As their relationship develops Bruno journey from blissful ignorance to painful knowledge which results in devastating consequences.
The problem with this novel is the inaccuracies and ludicrous details in this story. Let’s look at Bruno for example, he is meant to be nine years old but he read like he is 6. Furthermore, his ignorance of his basic is frustrating , for example he thinks that Der F├╝hrer is "The Fury" and Auschwitz is out-with, despite being corrected several time and seeing it written down, plus “Heil Hitler!” is a fancy word for hello, because he understands neither “heil” nor “Hitler”. I could have actually put up with this, as it play to the character of Bruno, as innocent and naive and leads to the concept that people can be just ignorant about deeply unpleasant thing happening right in front of them.
What annoyed me the most was the it was historical incorrect, though it is billed as a fable, i think any book that is written as historical fiction has the responsibility to be historically accurate. I do thing that there is room for creative freedom but i think this was taken too far.  What happened to the real children in the holocaust would shock you and make you feel sick to the core of your being.
Working in an aged care home, that primarily has people of Jewish Decent; I have seen the impact of the holocaust on the survivors, but also on the children and grandchildren. I have heard the stories, i have cried with this people and i have been touched by their strength and courage.

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