I finished this around 2:00 am and I still can't find the right words to relate how it has left me. The only way to describe is to say that at a certain point in reading this, I drew in this huge gasp, and since then, the air has sat in my lungs making it feel like a truck is sitting on my chest.
This book is one of the most disingenuous I've ever experienced. It makes the entire thing more bearable, but more heartbreaking all at the same time. After moving to "Out-With" due to his father's new job, Bruno lolls around in an angry daze until he meets Shmuel, his new and only friend. Bruno is a selfish friend; something he is totally unaware of due to his naivety. He complains about the unfairness of being stuck outside the fence. He opines about the Schmuel's luckiness in getting to wear comfortable pajamas every day. He regularly brings the starving Shmuel snack, but he also regularly eats them on his way to their meetings. He whines about hating the Lieutenant because he insists on calling him "little man" while Shmuel is regularly subject to his physical and mental brutality. Schmuel is the exact opposite of Bruno in every way. He only sees the good in his friend and sees him as a kind and giving acquaintance.
The story ends with a turn around. Bruno's final and only act of selflessness toward his friend.
The Boy in the Stryped Pyjamas is jarring to say the least. It paints a disturbing picture of the holocaust that can only be achieved through the eyes of a child.