Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

by John Boyne. took almost 3 hours.

I bought this book after reading a preview of it in Amazon. From the snippets I gather the book was told from a child's point of view, which normally meant an interesting read. Only after I bought it did I know the book was about concentration camps and Jews, and that it had(not surprisingly) turned into a film.

The Synopsis.
The book tells about a boy who had to move with his family from Berlin because his father was relocated due to his works. As a normal boy, he rejected the transition and leaving his friends behind but things seemed to look up when he met a friend from the other side of the fence. Things began to grow clearer as their friendship unfolds.

The Language.
The book uses simple languages and it tried to replicate children's point of view(the book is told from a third person view though). Language is simple enough but like what's written on the blurb at the back of the book itself, this book is not a book for nine-years-old.

As I first picked up this book, I felt that I had returned to my childhood reading all those books by Enid Blyton or even E. Nesbits. These are the books that were written in the middle of last decade and they were stories about boys and girls going on adventures. Thus far, the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas was promising. But then I discovered that the book was set in Berlin and the similarities ends there. When I realized the book was about concentration camps and came to the word-play Out-With, I was a bit disappointed.
Then the boy met and befriended another boy from the other side of the camp, Shmuel, and began to talk about their daily lives. The book had quite a few chance to climax from here but it trudges a bit slowly onwards, without any other surprise. The only surprise came in the end and I guess the book was written just for that punch line.
Regarding the contentious plot of the book which is about concentration camps, I'd imagine myself and a few others would distance themselves from reading this if they knew it beforehand.It is a reverberating plot in books and films, that one can grow jaded. If that is not a issue and you like a book that tells a moral through innocent voice, then this book should be a great read.

It is by the way a short book and quite entertaining.

1 comment:

azreen chan said...

Oh I've read the book too. I was not sure whether the book was written for children or adult.

If it wasn't for children, I don't know why they printed the book in huge font size. It was like reading a children book.

I didn't like it much. I watched the movie afterwards and I guess the movie was nicer.

PS - I think for German/Nazi/mass murderer themed book, like Markuz Zusak's version : The Book Thief. It was written from Death's point of view by that event. Different yet interesting.