Beautifully simple in its storyline, yet complexly moving in its subject matter-The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, written by John Boyne and published in 2006 by David Fickling Books, is a book well worth the read. It features a lonely boy named Bruno who has to leave his old house in Berlin (which has five floors) and move to a new house at a place he calls “Out-With” (which only has three floors). His father is a high-ranking soldier who must fulfill his duty to his country-although Bruno doesn’t understand why it has to be at this lonely place where the only other people (besides soldiers) are wearing striped pajamas on the other side of a tall wire fence. But after he discovers a friend, life becomes more bearable at Out-With-even though this friend is always hungry, wearing striped pajamas, and on the other side of the fence. This unusual friendship blossoms despite the fence, the soldiers, and the foul weather-but friendships of this sort often result in consequences. And these consequences may be of an unexpected-and devastating-sort.
I would highly recommend this book for ages 13+. It falls under the historical fiction genre and is also labelled as a fable. There are some mature themes to watch out for-this book deals with the effects of war and hatred upon children, and how we’re truly all the same, despite our heritage and looks. One of the most heart wrenching books I’ve ever read. 4 out of 5 stars.