The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - John Boyne The story told in this book was simplified a little too much for my taste. Bruno and Gretel were too innocent. Bruno was supposed to be nine, Gretel twelve or thirteen. They would have been bought up to hate Jews, so Bruno would have had to learn to see through his anti-Semitism to view Shmuel as a friend. I would have thought it more likely that he didn't know why he hated Jews, only that he did. The mispronunciations of 'del Furor' and 'Auschwitz' as 'the Fury' and 'Out With' were somewhat understandable for a young English-speaking child, but as a German whose native--and in fact only--language was German, Bruno's mispronunciation seems rather absurd, made especially so by that fact that he replaces them with English words that have similar pronunciations, yet Bruno couldn't speak English, and the German versions of the same phrases (at least according to Bing translator) are not similar in the same way.

It's rather odd that the author chose to imply that Bruno's mother was having an affair with a soldier, and Gretel was flirting with the man that her mother was having an affair with, yet dumbed down the other parts of the story that showed the horror of what was happening in Auschwitz. I listened to a recorded interview with the author, and he seemed to have decent reasons for dumbing down the story the way that he did, it just didn't work as well as it would have if he had not treated his nine-year-old character--and through him, his readers--like imbeciles.

I think that this review by bandgeek8408 does a decent job of summing up my feelings about the book.