For a little book, this simple story packs a huge wallop. As you follow the innocent explorations of nine year-old Bruno in a world that is so evil even innocence is tarnished, you come to see the Holocaust from a child’s naïve view. A Father who is a stern, but loving man, and also the Commandant at an extermination camp. A Mother who can’t bear to raise her children in such a horrible place, but who escapes into her medicinal sherries. And a lonely young boy who, delighted at their similarities, doesn’t question the differences between his life and that of his new friend Shmuel.
In the plainest, least complex language this story raises the most complex questions about a dark period in history. I don’t want to say too much, in case I spoil this gem for anyone who wants to read it. All I’ll say is that I couldn’t put it down until the second last chapter…and then I could hardly bring myself to continue because I knew what was going to happen. A powerful ending that was so inevitable and so just, this book lingered with me for days.