This book is gorgeous. The writing is so simple and pure, and the story so heartbreaking, I’m afraid to read anything else by this author for fear that it won’t measure up.
If it can be compared to anything, it would be The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. The comparison holds true only in that it is a book that takes place during the holocaust from the perspective of a young German child.
In this book, Bruno is the 9 year old son of a high ranking Nazi official, though Bruno doesn’t really understand this. He is a sheltered child, sheltered and mostly ignored by his parents, and so his understanding of the world comes from his own observations. He comes home to find that his belongings are being packed and they have to move because of his father’s promotion. He finds himself at a dismal place he mishears as “Out With.” He is lonely, he is unhappy, but he manages to go exploring and make himself a friend of one of the camp residents.
Many things happen in this book, many things that Bruno does not understand but which are obvious to the reader. This is pulled off flawlessly, much in the way that Mark Haddon did in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
What separates this from most Holocaust literature is its innocence and refusal to blame. Characters are three dimensional, even the horrible Nazis – there is kindness of some kinds in them. I’m really struggling here, because this book really does defy description. But it is lovely, it is written as if 9 year old Bruno really were telling the tale, and ultimately sad beyond measure. It works for adults, but would be a great start for younger folks to read as a springboard for conversation.
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Lori B. Duff is the author of the Amazon ‘Hot New Release’ Mismatched Shoes and Upside Down Pizza, a collection of autobiographical humor essays. The hard copy of the book can be found on Amazon & BarnesandNoble.com and select local retailers. The e-book can be found here. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here.