Not Just for your Parents (3)

While I primarily read YA fiction these days I do enjoy some adult fiction every once in a while. This monthly feature will look at some of the adult fiction I am reading and examine its appeal for those who prefer Young Adult literature.

Night by Elie Wiesel

Born in the town of Sighet, Transylvania, Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were taken from their home in 1944 to the Auschwitz concentration camp, and then to Buchenwald. Night is the terrifying record of Elie Wiesel’s memories of the death of his family, the death of his own innocence, and his despair as a deeply observant Jew confronting the absolute evil of man.

This is a good fit for those who enjoy non-fiction biography and/or war stories. Wiesel writes a grippingly painful account of his time at Auschwitz and his experience as a teenage Jew during World War 2. Those who enjoy learning about the Holocaust will greatly appreciate this book. While the scenes are horrific, the story is touching. Those who enjoy an emotional connection with a character will be drawn to young Elie’s struggles and reflections. That fact that he himself is a teenager will appeal to readers as he reflects on his experiences of losing his family and leaving home. This is perhaps one of the most honest things I have ever read and it is by far one of my favorite books of all time.

YA Connection:  The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Bruno who is 9 loves his house and his friends in Berlin. He is thus outraged when his dad is promoted and they must move far away to a place called “Out-with”. It’s very lonely there with no one to play with. From his window Bruno can see lots of people behind a fence, all wearing stripped pajamas. Being the explorer that he is, he sets out to see what the fence is all about and discovers a little boy his age who he befriends.

John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is poetically haunting. It’s a very short and quick read, but despite its length it contains so much. What is perhaps the most powerful and unsettling is Bruno’s ignorance to what is going on around him. He is such a compelling character whose sweetness and innocence is heartbreaking, especially towards the end. Boyne’s genius use of language and play on words not only makes poignant observations but also allows for the continuation of the story by not using identification of locations. It wasn’t as upsetting as some other Holocaust books I’ve read, but it definitely is a very unique story that creates a reading experience that I think is significant. I highly recommend it.

 You might enjoy The Boy in the Striped Pajamas if you like books with: not a lot of writing, quick plots, real life issues, world war history, strong use of language, a single stand out main character

Other books by John Boyne: Mutiny on the Bounty, The House of Special Purpose, the Dare, The Thief of Time

If you liked reading about the Holocaust you might also enjoy  The Boy who Dared by Susan Campbell Baroletti, Torn Thread by Anne Isaacs, Number of Stars by Lois Lowry, Run, Boy, Run by Uri Orlev, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

 If you liked reading about World War II, you might also enjoy: Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac, Flygirl by Sherri L Smith, Run Like Jager by Karen Bass

Non Fiction Connection; Concentraion Camps: I Have Lived a Thousand Years by Livia E Bitton Jackson, Parallel Journey’s by Eleanor H Ayer, I will Plant you a Lilac Tree by Laura Hillman,

 —The Holocaust: The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank, No Pretty Pictures by Anita Lobel, Night by Eli Wiesel

Additional Info:  A movie adaptation was released in 2008.

Author Website found here.   

 Rating: W4/4   C4/4   P3/4   O4/4   PP4/4   CR2.5/4

Grade: MJ

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