Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Daily Book Talk

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

While I read I knew where we were headed, but hoped for some sort of exemption for the young boy. But, if Boyne had let the boy off the hook it wouldn't be a Holocaust story. The brutal nature of the boy's death doesn't quite pierce the armor of the German war machine or do justice to the memory of all those who were murdered, yet in losing the life of one so young it does manage to clearly say, "You bastards!"  The play with matches and you'll get burned metaphor is a little off target.  Does this book show the viciousness of the Nazis? Do we get a sense of what the gas chambers were really like? The Holocaust seems simplistic through the eyes of a boy.  Boyne obviously does this on purpose, portraying the father as a good man, Hitler's man.  It makes the cruelties that much more unfathomable.  Can we really be doing this to a race of people? Really? How do we fall in line when the rhetoric gets insane? It's more than scary that the human condition allows us to believe the Nazi propaganda.  What do I believe now that will be looked on as crazy in fifty years?

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