The Boys in the Striped Pyjamas by John Doyne: A Book Review

the-boy-in-th-striped-pyjamas

“A speck that became a blob that became a figure that became a boy.”

I had expected that its ending is tragic enough to blink my tears away. I could not even bring myself to turn the next last pages. I would not have cared if I had violated   one of my rules that I should finish a book no matter how disappointing or revolting it turns out to be. Just I could not withstand seeing what is going to happen next and my heart crying over another ending with which I would be overwhelmed, but I did not want to give in. This was it. Why should I back off? Face whatever the next story is.

Its catchy title written  in  striped -pyjamas   book cover is  enchanting  enough for a reader like me to pick it out from among  the other PDFs saved in my phone document. As you know, I am a poor reader. I avail of the free PDFs available on the internet. Somewhow, I enjoyed reading the book because the prose is light, the scenes are engaging despite that they are the keys to the predictable segue, the main character Bruno is the embodiment of my childhood curiosity, and the story is very unique, something I  have never read from the other  fictions. However, although I may not be a full-fledged writer, I may consider myself climbing on the bandwagon of the armchair writers that it is poor-written, one of the shortcomings that may have let down their high standards.

For me, this is just a light book; it is imbued with ponderous prose. It does not have any hefty words your brains have to weigh in on or cerebrally hemorrhagic sentence structures you have to turn over in your mind (as what a grammar Nazi does.) You can concentrate on it no matter how simple the syntax is except for shrinking from the simplicity and shiftlessness of some sentences John Doyne may not have cared about embellishing them more.

Also, you might find yourself deeply engaged in it because Bruno is such a pig-headed wren. His character is the lubricant of the story. His being a pain in the ass soothes the story to become more calmly enthralling. However, there were times that I would trip over some parts only   experienced and critically acclaimed writers have to know what I am trying to drive at.  Don’t get me wrong. I belong to the armchair writers.

In addition, you would not just be a reader but a soothsayer. You could almost   play in your mind the foretaste of the unexpected. I was wondering if it was John Doyne, not his readers, was (not) born yesterday.  In the first place, I had inferred that Bruno will die at the end because his buttoned-up and power monger father will not educate him about the concentration camp Bruno will mistake for a farm. Oh, poor Bruno. His father’s ignorance of a child’s psyche will accidentally put him to death. Lo and behold, I have read such a tragic ending from the other books. (Thinking) … (Walking back and forth)… (Thinking)… Eureka! I’m Not Scared by Italian writer Niccolò Ammaniti must be one of them. So, it’s another meme of the same idea. Could you help me cite some more?

In effect, the concept of the story brushing off all the shortcomings that did not meet the high standards of the armchair writers is supposed to be impressive. I bought some Doyne’s “literary gimmicks” First, Bruno’s “stupid or idiotic “innocence. I admit to cringing at it because I knew that Bruno was not that stupid enough not to understand everything in the story given that he is two years younger than his sister. A reader   ignorant of child psychology may ask this,” Is there such a cognitive condition?”  Second, the deep friendship between the two boys developed at a barbed boundary. It is something new for me. Third, to make the commonly accidental tragedy memorable, the scene is both Bruno and Shmuel are stuck in a line toward the gas chamber. Finally, unbeknownst to Bruno’s family, he will die in the gas chamber and his loss will remain a mystery. So, after reading the book, I sat speechlessly, imagining the chamber   fading away, and I could no longer hear the cries muffled by the gas poured in. Heart-breaking! Indeed, it is a story readers might never forget.

Writers have drops of ideas plopping in their heads, but the big challenge for them is how to creatively put them together with beautiful prose.  By the same token, they have to psychologize the possible reactions of their readers because nowadays readers are smart. They are now being educated by full access to a plethora of information on the internet.  For this reason, John Doyne should have needed more elbow grease to polish the story.  It could  most likely  get more than two stars. Gee! Indeed, I am an armchair writer.

I have just found its movie adaptation on YouTube. I wonder if it is the other way around. 🙂

Rating: 2/ 5 stars ( It’s ok.)

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3 thoughts on “The Boys in the Striped Pyjamas by John Doyne: A Book Review

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