The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne
Publication Date: October 2015
My Rating: ✹✹✹✹✹
“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.”
As soon as I saw this book in my local bookstore, I had to buy it. I loved reading The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas by John Boyne years ago, and I knew I would love this book too.
I was right, I did love it.
This book was equally intriguing and disturbing. The main themes of this book are bullying, propaganda and brainwashing. The book tackles some very serious issues. It was interesting to see how people changed their entire outlook on life and other human beings just because of what a person in a uniform says and does. It is crazy to think how blindly people followed Hitler, whether out of fear or respect.
At first the main character, Pierrot is quite endearing and innocent. He adores his mother and has a Jewish best friend who he speaks too using sign language due to him being deaf. However, as the book goes on you gradually notice the loss of Pierrot’s innocence and the rise of hatred building inside him, whilst being corrupted by the presence of Hitler in his life. It is unbelievably sad and disturbing to read some of the things that Pierrot says as a young child/teenager and to see how his attitude towards women changes.
John Boyne has a real knack for deftly juggling the horrors of WW2 with the innocence of childhood. He certainly brings the reader to the heart of the issues that faced a lot of children living under Hitlers rein.
Overall, it was a well-written and interesting read. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA books, especially those set during WW2. However, be prepared for the dark and disturbing content. A well deserved 5 stars.
About The Author:
John Boyne is an Irish novelist. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where he won the Curtis Brown prize. In 2015, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by UEA. John Boyne is the author of nine novels for adults and five for young readers, as well as a collection of short stories. His novels are published in 49 languages. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which to date has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide, is a #1 New York Times Bestseller.