This book left me with an ache in my heart. I haven't seen the movie and don't know if I will, but John Boyne's story about the son of the Commandant at Auschwitz, which he calls a fable, is painful and powerful. Bruno and his sister Gretel move with their parents to a house which overlooks the concentration camp which Bruno called "Out-With." He is confused about what he is doing there and is oblivious to the horrors taking place on the other side of the fence, though it is obvious he has an intuitive feeling that something just isn't right. While exploring the line of the fence, he comes across a boy just his age named Shmuel, sitting on the other side of the fence in some striped pajamas. As the boys develop a friendship, Bruno's naievity is so pronounced as he complains about his house only having three stories instead of five and not having lots of kids his age around as Shmuel does on his side of the fence. But still, he truly cares for Shmuel and is clueless about the anti-Semitism he is supposed to harbor for his friend.
This is a unique book about the Holocaust. Bruno is such a believable nine-year old and while there are many Haoocaust books about children, some of which I've read and almost all of them were wonderful, this is the first one I've read from the perspective of an innocent German child. The end shocked me...I had no idea how it would turn out but I will say no more about that. I read it in one sitting and will be thinking about it for a while.