Friendship. A simple word that possesses a significant meaning. True friendship is something that is difficult to come by and may arise in the most unexpected way. A friend may share laughs with you or tell you that they love you. But a real friend will have a mutual understanding with you that will allow them to tell you their deepest, darkest secrets. A real friend will always be there for you through thick and thin. And they will be able to put aside their differences to see and accept you for what you truly are.
Written by John Boyne, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is one of the most compelling stories you will ever read. Nine-year-old Bruno is a child living in Nazi Germany with his parents and older sister. When his father, a military man, accepts a new important job, the family is forced to move from the city to an isolated, mysterious place in the countryside that is surrounded by Nazi soldiers. But strangest of all is the fence—the place where fate brings Bruno to meet a peculiar boy dressed in a pair of striped pajamas.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is truly a wonderful book that is well-written and ultimately shocking. It is narrated by Bruno, a naïve child who does not really understand what it going on. At times, this made parts of the book a little confusing, so I had to infer and use past knowledge to figure out what was going on. For example, Bruno says that his family is moving to a place called “Out-With,” which really means Auschwitz. However, this unique narration was able to convey the overall message with even more meaning.
By exploring the beauty of innocence and the desire for friendship, it makes the story even more chilling and unforgettable. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone over the age of twelve, as it does cover the time of the Holocaust in Germany. For those of you who have read The Book Thief and don’t mind stories that don’t always have the perfect ending, this book is for you!
-Kaylie W., 9th grade