This novel is about a nine year old boy named Bruno whose father is a Commander with the Nazi's. The father is sent to work in Auschwitz and the family goes along to - to live in the house beside. Bruno doesn't really know what his father does or really about anything that is going on around him. All he really knows is that his friends are no longer here and he cannot go exploring like before. That is until one day he finds a boy his age wearing striped pajamas living behind the fence. His name is Shmuel. And then the book just gets sad.
This is a short novel. A little over 200 pages, I read it in 3 sittings. Written from the point of view of a German child this story is heartbreaking. I had to sit back and think when I finished the last page because it made me feel so utterly sad. It made you feel for everyone in Auschwitz and especially for these 2 little boys who just wanted to be friends above everything else. The only problem I have with this book is how little Bruno is aware of what is going on around him. I don't know if it was typically for boys to be not told anything about Hitler or the Nazis - especially if the father was so important. Bruno seems a quite selfish and silly little boy - but if the author did that on purpose to show how he was just a boy being a boy unaware of the horror around him then it did work.
I think that this should be read in elementary schools and high schools. It brings the story of the holocaust from a different viewpoint and also looks at friendship between two little boys who live on different sides of the fence. If this book doesn't break your heart I don't know what will.