Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Renee at It’s Book Talk. Throwback Thursday is an awesome opportunity to share old favorites as well as older books in our TBR. I love this idea as I’m often distracted by all of the shiny, new books I see every day and don’t make it back to the ones that have been sitting on my shelves.
My pick of the the week is:
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
After I posted that John Boyne’s The Heart’s Invisible Furies was now my number one, favorite book of all-time, so many of you suggested I read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas that I gave this book a front-of-the-line pass.
When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.
But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.
Since I am the last of the 4.357 gagillion readers out there to read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, I won’t rehash what can be read in the blurb and I’m going to limit my review to the few points I found to be most important.
- This is a YA novel and the easy, simple way in which it is written really punctuates one of the main themes; the innocence and naiveté of children.
- At times I felt Bruno was a bit of a spoiled turd. I then felt guilty for feeling that way. I’m not sure I need to feel guilty though. After all, don’t most nine year olds behave like turds every now and then? It didn’t make me like him any less.
- I appreciated the way the relationship between his parents was portrayed. Most if it went over Bruno’s head which, once again, illustrated his naiveté and the often false sense of security children feel within their family.
- There is so much to be said out Bruno’s looking out his window and imagining a life for the people he saw which was so far off from their experience. This would be a great discussion point for a book club.
- Bruno’s friendship with Shmuel created an anxiety that made turning the pages both compelling and daunting.
- That ending! Wow, I really didn’t see that coming until the very last minute. I can’t really discuss without spoilers but I can think of several themes folded in. And those last sentences? Scary and timely! It could definitely inspire a very lively book club discussion/debate.
Although I found the book to be very sad and very touching, it didn’t make me cry the way I had anticipated. Perhaps because I was expecting it to be sad. I had been warned on multiple occasions to read with a box of tissue at my side. I’m certainly glad I read this book and continue to be a huge fan of Boyne’s work.