The Boy at the Top of the Mountain
Author: John Boyne
Published: October 1, 2015
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
When Pierrot becomes an orphan, he must leave his home in Paris for a new life with his Aunt Beatrix, a servant in a wealthy household at the top of the German mountains. But this is no ordinary time, for it is 1935 and the Second World War is fast approaching; and this is no ordinary house, for this is the Berghof, the home of Adolf Hitler.
Quickly, Pierrot is taken under Hitler’s wing, and is thrown into an increasingly dangerous new world: a world of terror, secrets and betrayal, from which he may never be able to escape.
I enjoyed reading this book … but there’s something about it that’s keeping me from saying that I loved it. Pierrot starts out as a kid you have hope for, but then as he grows, he turns into a monster! He even had good influences growing up from the ladies who ran the orphanage. But then, under the influence of Hitler, that sweet little boy dies and a hardened Nazi emerges. I will admit that it’s a very realistic view of how Hitler was able to convince an entire nation to follow him. It just has an air of sugar coating about it.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was filled with emotion and condemnation and horror. This book almost seemed to excuse the evil actions of Pierrot in order to save some likeableness for him. Although he struggles with regrets, to me, it didn’t seem sincere. He simply wants to make himself feel better and bring some stability to his life. A guilty conscience is a good start, but this book is almost the equivalent of patting a criminal on the head saying, “oh don’t be so hard on yourself!” I wanted to like this so badly and I just didn’t.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction. But I wouldn’t recommend this to teens, the message is a little too murky and I wouldn’t want to cause any confusion.