Book review for ‘the Boy in the stripped Pyjamas’: A heartbreak but not a very real story

The holocaust is for sure a topic that as discussed as infamous it can be. It is as much a tragic story as a fact that can make any person grip in fear of what a human is capable of becoming.

Bruno is a 9-years old boy in Berlin during the Second World War and his father a member of the Nazi party, soon promoted to office the Auschwitz camp at the personal orders of the Fuhrer.

Sad and missing his friends, Bruno spots a pale boy in pyjamas with a lot of people on the other side of the fence. Bruno meets this boy, Shmuel whom he quickly befriends. Shmuel informs Bruno that he lived on this side of the fence with his grandfather, brother and father. And to the merry of both boys, they share the same birthday and age.

Shmuel grows pale and lean everyday and Bruno starts to sneak him food. They talk and share their lives while Bruno does not really understand what is going on the other side of the fence.

One day, Shmuel informs Bruno that his father is missing and everyone in his family is desperate to find him. That evening, Bruno removes his clothes, pulls up the stripped pyjamas Shmuel offers him and crosses the fence to search for Shmuel’s father.

Both the kids are spotted by guards who ask them to participate in the march. The march ends in a closed room which Bruno assumes is the place to sleep and sit together. He holds Shmuel’s hands and whispers to him that they shall be friends for life.

Bruno is missing and only his clothes are found near the camp fence. His father, deducing what must have happened is broken and offers himself to the now invading Allied armies.

This fictional story that forms the plot of the book, “The boy in the stripped Pyjamas” by Irish author John Boyne. The book quite metaphorically illustrates the fact that the adults were really not concerned with what is happening under their noses while the kids were just been broken, separated by fences and lines drawn between races.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (Deluxe Illustrated Edition) by John Boyne:  9780399559310 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

However, and quite correctly, the historians have argued that this book has several historical inconsistencies that might make a reader believe that concentrations camps were way more lax than they really were. No one, let alone a kid was left off work to let him have the time to meet, talk to and enjoy another human being’s company.

Auschwitz: Concentration Camp, Facts, Location - HISTORY
An actual picture from the Auschwitz Camp

At the end, the author expresses his belief in humanity by stating,

Of course, all of this happened a long time ago and nothing like that could ever happen again. Not in this day and age.

Happy reading!