Boyne, John "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" - 2006
I read this book on my own before we discussed it in the book club, so I read it again.
There were quite a few mistakes, a few too many to my liking, the whole story seemed unreal because it couldn't have happened that way. Most of our members criticized the book much harsher than I did. First of all, if you base a book on facts, the facts have to be right, no matter what you call it.
We didn't find it easy to warm or connect to the characters because the description was very inconsistent. Bruno, the main character, would sometimes be very naïve, and the next minute he had adult views. The story was very predictable. The friendship portrayal was unbelievable, not just the setting. You can tell, this was written fast.
However, as one of our members pointed out so wonderfully, history is here to be discovered and therefore it is important to make history accessible on all kinds of levels. And therefore, it was certainly worth discussing the book.
We discussed this in our book club in June 2009.
From the back cover:
"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."
If this has been the only book you read about the holocaust, you should try some more.
"Night" by Elie Wiesel and "Fateless" by Imre Kertész, both written by survivors, are some true accounts of how young people lived and survived the terrible life in a concentration camp.