Yes, I thought about that. A hole under the fence? Surely there would have been a mass break-out? A Jewish child who refused to leave? No way. I think that this book is horribly unrealistic and badly written. Frankly, I just didn't care when Bruno snuffed it. I just thought 'Ok. Maybe it'll finish now so I can read something worth my time!!!'
I fail to understand why people hanker after factual accuracy in fiction. Look to non-fiction for that, or documentary. Fiction is there to provide emotional accuracy. It's a parable, for heaven's sake. Of course it could never have actually happened. Complaining about the innacuacies of fiction when it can still be very moving is like laughing with the Simpsons and then saying, 'Oh, but hang on a minute - nobody is actually yellow!'.
Oh come on now Mr Gullick, this book was written in a Janet and John style. It was so simplistic as to be insulting to the readers intelligance. There was no character development and the plot was so banal it made me want shake the author up in a large sack in the hope of giving him some credible ideas.
Are we supposed to empathise with the death this hoplessly naive nazi child (surely he would have been in the nazi youth) when 6 and a half million jews died (not to mention the slavs, poles, gypsies, homosexuals, communists, cripples, crazies, 20 million russians, and allied (and german) soldiers). Is his father supposed to be Eichmann? What if he was? Should we give nazis any leniancy? Surely there are no sympathisers here? Artistic license to make nazis innocent and pure? The banality of evil? The crimes of our fathers? Please read some Primo Levi before you respond to this post.
I agree that the book was very unrealistic, to the point where it did distract me. Not just that aspect (which didn't really bother me to be honest), but the whole idea that he would have been so naive that he didn't know terms like The Fuhrer when his father was a senior Nazi official. Having said that, I still found it moving and I didn't pick what the ending was going to be until it happened - I thought the ending was still very powerful.
I enjoyed the book and the film. Why? I liked the viewpoint from a child - isn't this book really about childhood? How do people acquire their racist attitudes? Where do they start? Why do people lie? The rest is simplistic - in my opinion - deliberately - that's why it works.
you are correct Sevillana. It is about the naivety of children living in a world run by adults who claim to know better, it is aimed at a young audience for a young audience and is not intended to rival Elie Wiesel's Night
My concern about this book is that it implies that the accidental death of a German child is somehow more tragic and note-worthy than the industrialised death of millions of Jewish and other children. The reader identifies with the German child..why? Why not centre a Shoah story around a Jewish child?
In many countries when you write fiction aimed at adults, but seen from a child character's angle, you have to use simple, childish language, even when writing in third person. This is not as easy as it may seem, in fact it is an art form in itself where you have to tread a very fine line, and when you do it right the effect can be astonishing. There is a tradition for this kind of writing in English, too, if you look at Irish literature (Boyne is obviously an Irish writer), from Joyce to Doyle.
In mainland Britain that is, strangely enough, not the case. When writing about children from a child's angel, even in first person, an English writer will generally use grown-up language, including observations and conclusions that a child would never be able to make. Strangely, English readers don't seem to mind this at all. In fact, when a writer tries to employ the correct and most obvious method, as in this novel, he or she is criticised for being overtly simplistic, simply a bad writer, and it is taken as an insult to the reader. Otherwise, readers conclude that this must be a children's book.
If, like me, you have lived both in the UK and in other European countries, giving you the ability to compare, you will know that some truly horrendous facts about British society are hiding beneath this seemingly rather innocent issue. I'm talking about the fact that English people in general simply don't care about children and the way children view the world. They just can't make their kids grow up fast enough, put them in a uniform and sent off to school for a whole day, followed by hours of homework. As a friend of mine put it recently: "They take people's childhood away from them - which is just about the worst thing you can say about anyone."
Funnily enough, despite all the discussion on this novel, including comments from those who see it as a fable or an allegorical tale about the loss of innocence, no one seems to have hit on the fact that Bruno's tale is very much relevant in today's society (not only in Britain but also in Ireland where the school system and the way it is handled, like so many other things, is basically a poorly disguised copy of what goes on in post-Thatcher/Blair Britain).
So Boyne's roots in Irish literary tradition made sure that he got the voice right. Unfortunately, his Irishness also ensured that he got everything else wrong. He simply doesn't know what he's talking about, and he simply doesn't care. To know why this is, you need to look no further than the Irish comedian Tommy Tiernan, who has a joke where he claims that however bad things look the could always be worse. In the case of the fate of the Jews in the KZ camps: "It could have been the Irish, you know." In other words, if anything happens outside "the Republic" no one gives a toss. That includes the author of this ridiculous waste of paper.
I'd be interested to know where you're originally from, Mr Walker, because I'd like to make wild and inaccurate generalisations about your country and it's people too. I agree with you on one point though, that "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" is a ridiculous waste of paper.
Of course I was making generalisations, and per definition such things are inaccurate. I would never pretend anything else.
To answer your question I grew up in Denmark, lived in England for 13 years, and for the last six years in Ireland. I have know some good jokes about the Danes, too, but unfortunately they don't translate very well into English.