Last week when Bishop Alan was preaching he mentioned a book he’d just read: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. I read it yesterday and what a powerful little book it is. I think it is actually a child’s book but probably for older children, and has now been made into a film.
It tells the story of Bruno who lives in Berlin during WW2. His father is in the army and one night the Fury comes to visit with his girlfriend Eva and tells him that they are moving to Out-with Camp. (That’s how he hears it anyway.) Bruno is nine and is unhappy about moving and leaving his friends behind.
They move to Out-With and Bruno is miserable living in a house with no friends nearby. All he can see from his window is a high fence and on the other side people wearing striped pyjamas. There are even children on the other side of the fence but Bruno is not allowed to play with them.
In time Bruno goes exploring and meets a little boy who is the same age as him on the other side of the fence and they strike up a friendship. Bruno brings food and they talk about life on either side of the fence. But Bruno is desperate to cross over to the camp and meet the other children and play.
One day Bruno’s mother discovers that he has head lice and father shaves his head. Now he looks just like his friend Shmuel. Shmuel’s father has gone missing and Bruno crosses over to help him look for him, wearing a pair of striped pyjamas so that nobody spots him.
I won’t spoil the end. But do read it. It is a very powerful little book.