Book talks for readers at Chisago Lakes Middle School.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Boy in Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

City of Ember, Inkheart, Twilight. These are just a few of the books made into movies recently. There's one more I want to add to your list. This was a book that came out in 2006, but is getting some new interest because of the movie.

The story is about a boy named Bruno. In the beginning of the story we find Bruno and his family living in a mansion in a large city. The mansion is five stories tall and from the top floor, if he steps on something, Bruno can barely peak out the window to his world to view the surrounding city. The house is so big that Bruno claims he hasn’t discovered everything there is to explore in it. Bruno lives in the perfect house, in the perfect city, in the perfect neighborhood with the best friends a boy could have.

Then a day comes when Bruno’s perfect world is ripped away from him. He runs up to his room to find his bags packed. Someone even went into his secret drawer to gather the private treasures it held.

Bruno would probably like to blame all of this misfortune on the Hopeless Case-the name he gives his sister Gretel.

He would probably like to blame his father, for his father’s job is the reason they have to move.

Bruno would like to blame the Fury as well. The Fury is the one that gave his father the promotion, after all.

Bruno’s family moves more than half a day away from their beloved mansion. They occupy a much smaller 3 story house at a place Bruno understands as Out-with. It’s a strange house, with officers coming and going like they own the place. The house servants are peculiar; they only stare at the floor when they are spoken to. And, there aren’t any kids outside in the neighborhood to play with. There isn’t much of a yard to play in, either. Then of course there is the fence, a fence higher than the house extends from the yard out into the distance as far as the eye can see.

On the third floor, Bruno peaks out the window of his new house and observes a strange sight at this place he calls Out-With. On the other side of the fence there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people who all seem to be wearing striped pajamas. To Bruno, it must have seemed like his new home was like an outpost at the boundary to a strange new country.

Bruno’s age and his innocense didn't allow him to realize the magnitude of his family’s move and the sinister nature of this place he called Out-with.

For you see, his father’s new job is to be the commandant of this place.

The man that promoted his father, the man he called the Fury, was none other than Adolf Hitler.

And the place Bruno mispronounced as Out-With, was really one of the most horrible places the world has ever seen: Auschwitz, a Jewish concentration camp set up by the Nazi in Poland during World War 2.

The men, women and children wearing the striped pajamas, well, I think you know who they were.

To see the movie trailer check out the official website: Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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