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Hearts Aflame
Johanna Lindsey
Outliers: The Story of Success By Malcolm Gladwell
Brown and Company- -Little
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert
John M. Gottman, Nan Silver
The Kite Runner: Graphic Novel
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George Eliot
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - John Boyne This book is a difficult one to review.On the one hand, I believe that the book is charmingly portrayed through a child's eyes, that the concept of the book and point of view is an interesting one, that the character of Bruno is (usually) an endearing one, and that the ending is powerful. On the other hand, this book is rather flawed. It seems to me that throughout the book, the author delicately tiptoes around the real issues of the Holocaust, preferring, instead, to coat everything in euphemism. Perhaps the reason he does this is because all of the meaning in the book is distilled through Bruno's perceptions of things. And let's face it everyone- Bruno is not a very intelligent 9 year old. Does Bruno develop in the course of the novel? He makes a new friend or whatever, but I must say that the ultimate answer is a resounding "no." Does he question his reality in a real way? No, no he does not. He remains mostly innocent and naive until the very end, totally clueless about the reality of things. His experience doesn't change him in any real way that I can glean, and because of that, the book falls flat for me.Perhaps the author intends the book to be an allegory of some sort, a "fable" as the back of the book advertises. This makes sense and perhaps on some level it succeeds as such. Ultimately, though, it doesn't work for me. I have been traumatized by too much Holocaust history and literature to be charmed by Bruno's naivete. In many ways, I think that is the only response any author of Holocaust literature can (and should?) attempt to garner from his/her audience- horror, trauma, and intense sadness and pain. I can understand the author skirting around the more graphic descriptions of the Holocaust in an attempt to teach children about it and not scare them, and yet, I feel there is a way to do this without whitewashing it, as the book seems to do through Bruno's simplistic perceptions and (kinda dumb) interpretations. I think The Book Thief is a good example of a book which doesn't get too graphic, yet touches upon issues of the Holocaust in a heart-wrenching, mind-bending way. I wouldn't say I wouldn't recommend the book per se, but it is not a book I would use to introduce my children to the history of the Holocaust.