The Boy in the Striped Pajamas: by John Boyne

“What our mind can’t understand, is essential to our hearts.” – Seasielle

Hitler’s reign was really chaotic. One of the most disastrous event happened during his term: Execution of Jews. Killing all Jews unmercifully no matter how old they were. Hatred, fear, starvation and truly sufferings were felt during his reign not only in Germany but across the world as well. Surely, no light can be seen during this years, but unexpectedly, magical thing took place when a boy named Bruno came to the world of a Polish boy.
In a midst of a hiatus event, an unusual friendship took place secretly. Can their friendship last forever? Is their differences a huge issue? Will Bruno’s father position affect their bond? Can the gap between their nationalities be resolved?

These are the questions that will definitely hook a reader to unleash the story between Bruno and the Polish boy and what happened in-between.

John Boyne is such a brave writer to tackle the most sensitive issue in history and made it into a novel: Hitler’s reign. Though not directly pointing or naming him, it can be seen in the way the story was written.
In this particular book, Bruno’s father is a military official who was promoted by Hitler into a higher position to implement his command: Execution of Jews and other Nationalities who live behind the fence.
Because of his father designation, their family was forced to transfer to another place and live there as long as his mission is being accomplished.
Simplicity is the best, as the saying goes by; and this book proves it. Typical family during Hitler’s reign is being portrayed here. The only difference: Bruno’s father is a well-known military official with a distinct position.

It can be seen here a common family scene: The head of the family making a living while the mother assists all the needs of their children. Because of this, problems usually arose, i.e. parents don’t usually know where their children goes, who are their friends, what they usually do, etc.
In this particular book, because of Bruno’s parents busyness, they didn’t know that he became friends with the boy from the other side of the fence and that he longed for his parents attention.

Weak Points of the story:
First, Bruno’s mother, given that she’s not working, can’t look after her children. Yes, maybe she’s busy with something else but that doesn’t mean she has no time for her children.
Second, it is so unrealistic that those guards assigned to protect the fence didn’t know that in the other side of it, someone can enter the premises or vicinity of this place. I mean, are you really sure about it and during Hitler’s time? Wow! Super unbelievable.
Third, another thing that I found somewhat unnatural is that the Polish Boy can go in that side of the fence without the guards noticing him because according to the book, the guards don’t care of what are the prisoners do as long as they are inside the fence. I can’t believe it because from what I had learned during my history class, Hitler was really notorious that even his guards experienced his merciless.
Lastly, Bruno’s family maid act like she doesn’t exist in the family. I mean, yes she might be a nobody for them, but still, she doesn’t say what’s wrong Bruno or his sister has done.

Strong Points of the story:
The innocence of Bruno that’s so surreal is truly adorable. I love how he accepts the Polish kid and hangout with him. I also love how this book gives us wisdom about Hitler’s reign in a simple way that everyone can understand.

Lesson Learned:
Sometimes what is essential to our heart is invisible to our eyes. It can be seen during Hitler’s regime that he doesn’t care about anyone; only himself. In Bruno’s world, he doesn’t know the reason behind the fence and why do people live there.
In my own opinion, what I really learned in this novel is: Love can be found even in the most chaotic situation in our life. It may be a love for family, friends, lovers, or even love for strangers; therefore, never say that a person is hopeless or unloved because love is everywhere.

I do recommend this book to everyone who wants to have an insight during Hitler’s reign but in a different perspective.

Thank you for reading :))

About the author (from goodreads):

John Boyne (born 30 April 1971 in Dublin) is an Irish novelist.

He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where he was awarded the Curtis Brown prize. But it was during his time at Trinity that he began to get published. To pay his way at that stage of his career, he worked at Waterstone’s, typing up his drafts by night.

John Boyne is the author of six novels, as well as a number of short stories which have been published in various anthologies and broadcast on radio and television. His novels are published in 39 languages. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which to date has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide, is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and a film adaptation was released in September 2008. Boyne resides in Dublin. He is represented by the literary agent Simon Trewin at United Agents in London, United Kingdom.


Sa Kailaliman ng Aking Pag-iisip

Huwag natin ipagyabang ang mga bagay na kaya natin gawin. Hindi lang naman tayo ang tao sa mundo na ito. Sa milyon-milyon na tao na nabubuhay sa mundo, dapat tayo magpasalamat na nagagawa natin ang mga bagay na tunay naman na kahanga-hanga. Imbis na ipagyabang, ipasok natin sa isipan natin na: Maaaring nakahihigit tayo sa iba na nasa paligid natin ngunit ang kakahayan natin ay maaaring walang silbi o kwenta sa ibang tao na nakatira sa mga bansa na matatagpuan sa pitong kontinente o maaaring nakahihigit pa sila sa atin. Kaya sana, ang nalalaman natin ay ibahagi sa iba na nagnanais din matuto ng ganoon kaalaman. Huwag natin isipin na dapat tayo lang ang dakila o pinakamagaling sapagkat ang ganoon kaisipan ay hindi totoo dahil lahat tayo ay pantay-pantay. Akala mo lang nakahihigit ka sa ganoon larangan ngunit hindi pala. Kaya sa halip na ipagyabang ang kung anuman na mayroon ka, bakit hindi na lang ibahagi sa iba at iyon mapapatunayan na walang mas mataas o mas mababang uri ng nilalang sapagkat lahat tayo ay pantay-pantay. Ang tao lang naman ang nakaisip na dapat maging higit o nakaaangat sila sa iba ngunit ang Diyos, ginawa tayong pantay-pantay. Kung iisipin natin ang pagiging Una o pinakamagaling sa lahat ng bagay, wala na tayong pinagkaiba kay Lucifer – Ninais niya na mahigitan ang Diyos kaya’t ang kanyang kinahantungan ay isang mapait at nakakaawang pangyayari. Nawa’y maging aral sa atin lahat ang pagbibigayan at pagmamahalan; Hindi ang nasa isipan ay ang maging higit o dakila o ang mauna sa lahat ng bagay, pagkakataon, pangyayari, at iba pa.