I kept hearing about this book, and the subsequent movie that it was made into, so I made a point of picking it up recently. I really enjoy teen novelI kept hearing about this book, and the subsequent movie that it was made into, so I made a point of picking it up recently. I really enjoy teen novels, and for the most part, this was no exception. Parts of it are a little clumsy, perhaps owing to the fact that author John Boyne wrote the book in a matter of days. Despite the fact that a couple of extra weeks of fine-tuning might have been helpful, I would definitely recommend this book.
Told through the childish eyes of 9-year-old Bruno, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is the story of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Bruno is the child of a Nazi Commander whose position has been transferred to Auschwitz. The family leaves their beloved home in Berlin to live in a desolate house with a long fence in the back yard that Bruno has been told to never go near. Loneliness overcomes him, and he heads off in search of adventure – successfully. A long way down the fence, Bruno meets Schmuel, a boy who lives on the other side. An unlikely friendship develops between the two, leading to an ending that caught me off-guard.
Bruno’s naivety at times seems unbelievable; he doesn’t know what a Jew is, is unfamiliar with Hitler, and calls Auschwitz “Out-With.” While there has been controversy over the book due to both this naivety as well as certain other historical inaccuracies, it is still an interesting (though certainly fictional) view into the lives of children, both Jewish and not, living during that Nazi regime....more
My sister recommended this book to me a while back, and then proceeded to talk about it constantly when I visited her a couple of months ago. Every otMy sister recommended this book to me a while back, and then proceeded to talk about it constantly when I visited her a couple of months ago. Every other sentence out of her mouth was “Gift of Fear this” or “Gift of Fear that,” to the extent that we mocked her relentlessly about her joining the cult of the Gift of Fear.
But then I read it, and drank the Kool-Aid, too. De Becker’s target demographic is women, but really, I think anyone could benefit from his advice, which can be summed up by saying follow your intuition. Maybe 420 pages is a lot to pages to say just that, but de Becker gives concrete examples of situations that can occur (or on the other hand, fizzle out before they even become a situation) by listening to yourself and how you feel about the people who come into your life.
Have you ever felt uncomfortable about someone or something, but reasoned that since you didn’t have any good cause to be wary, you should just go ahead and be nice, or accommodating, or whatever else we’re taught to be? According to de Becker, you should go ahead and distance yourself from this person – your discomfort is reason enough.
Especially interesting to me was how predictive de Becker is of the media’s portrayal of events and the people who commit them. The Gift of Fear was written the year before the Columbine massacre, but his profiling of the killers of that and other attacks seems spot on. With the Colorado theater shooting and Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin still fresh in our minds, this is a worthwhile book for all to read. Although those events may have not been preventable on the days of the attacks, there were probably signs in advance that those around the killers should have seen. ...more
This story weaves together the stories of two disparate couples; well-to-do liberals living in a gated community in the hills of Los Angeles, and twoThis story weaves together the stories of two disparate couples; well-to-do liberals living in a gated community in the hills of Los Angeles, and two illegal aliens from Mexico, homeless, poor, and waiting on the birth of their first child. Their paths cross repeatedly as each struggle to come to terms with their lives and their shared world. An excellent read....more