Top positive review
Heartrending and beautifully written
Reviewed in the United States on April 27, 2017
Bruno is 9 years old. His father has a cool job, he's in charge of a lot of stuff. He runs a big place, with a huge wire fence, and a lot of people—men and boys—on the other side. They are skinny, they work hard, they are all very dirty, they are all wearing what looks like striped pajamas. There are soldiers in there, who poke at and laugh at the men and boys. Bruno has overheard his parents talking, and knows that his father's boss, “The Fury”, is the one who arranged for them to move to the new home. Bruno's older sister tells him that the place is called Out With.
Bruno is Not Allowed to approach the camp, or the fence. But, since he plans on becoming an explorer when he grows up, he decides to Go Exploring (wearing an old overcoat and boots, such as an explorer might wear). And on the other side of the fence he sees a speck. A dot. At tiny thing that, as he gets closer, reveals itself to be a boy. Just another boy, perhaps a boy for Bruno to play with.
This book is startling, horrifying, and yet the story is told in a charming way. Bruno and his friendship with Shmuel through the fence is just the story of two boys, but also a story of a Jewish Concentration Camp, told through the unaware eyes of the son of the man in charge of the camp. Bruno's naivete brings the humanity into the story, and makes it unique. Just a wonderful, scary, suspenseful and at the same time heartrending—story, leading up to a beautifully written climax.