Here’s another YA novel to movie coming out on November 14.
Bruno’s life changes drastically in 1942. After the “fury” comes to dinner, Bruno and his family move from their Berlin home to “Out with,” where Bruno’s father becomes the Commandant. Sheltered from the world through his family’s wealth and privilege, Bruno has no understanding of the view from his new bedroom window, which looks at a huge fence topped with barbed wire, confining boys and men of all ages dressed in grey striped pajamas. One day on a walking exploration, Bruno meets Shmuel, who is sitting on the other side of the fence, and these two lonely boys start a friendship. Everyday for a year, they meet at the same spot along the fence, and somehow, Bruno still does not understand. Bruno’s inability to comprehend the situation is the inadequacy of this book. Even though Bruno is very intelligent and inquisitive, he does not see that Shmuel is not having fun on the other side of the fence. If the reader can somehow excuse the boy’s void of empathy, it is nearly impossible to believe that the Commandant father never tries to explain the people in the striped pajamas, never tells his truth. Would such a high Nazi official not start his son’s indoctrination early? The other characters are finely drawn and add to the fullness of the book, but Bruno’s voice, whispering and hesitant, keeps one reading and wondering about the German children in 1942 and their many stories. That speculation on the part of the reader alone makes the book very worthwhile.