I quite enjoyed this book, but I did not feel that it was worth all the hype surrounding it.
The book, which is set during World War II, tells the story of Bruno, a 9 year old German boy, who is dismayed when he has to leave his home in Berlin to move to ‘Out-With’, where his father has been given a job by the ‘Fury’.
Bruno does not understand why there is a huge fence at Out-With, behind which 100s of people in striped pyjamas live, who he is not allowed to associate with.
However, Bruno makes a friend, Shmuel, who lives behind the fence – a friendship which surely can only end in disaster.
The book is told from the point of view of Bruno, so it is easy for adults to see past his naive views of the world, and sense impending doom, where Bruno is unable to see it.
One thing that did bother me about the writing was that Bruno’s mis-understanding and mis-pronouncing of words such as Out-With and the Fury, would not actually in the language in which Bruno would be speaking, i.e., German; they work in English only, and I couldn’t help thinking of this as I read the book. Also, there were a few glaring historical inaccuracies; I have heard someone defend the book in this regard by saying it’s a fable, and not necessarily supposed to be historically accurate – however, I think calling it a fable is just a way for the author to get around the inaccuracies.
I did not feel that we really got to explore the characters well, although Bruno’s mother intrigued me. The writing did however flow easily and it was a quick and easy read.
(Author’s website can be found here.)