Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Boy at the Top of the Mountain

Pierrot is a young boy living in France, happily playing with his dog and his best friend Anshel. But the climate in Paris is changing. It is 1936 and WWII is looming. Pierrot’s life is turned upside down when his father, who has struggled with emotions and drinking since the Great War, has passed away, and his mother has become very ill. Ultimately isolated and alone Pierrot is sent to live in an orphanage. Struggling with some bullies, little Pierrot knows someday he will be big and strong. He is later asked to go live in Austria with his Aunt Beatrix, whom he has never met. She is the housekeeper at a magnificent home on top of the mountain for none other than Adolf Hitler. And through the eyes of a seven year old we learn about this house on the top of the mountain. Pierrot learns what is happening in Germany, what is happening to the whole world. He so badly wants to belong. He so badly wants to please and feel part of something that he only looks at it from his wanting eyes. It is not until many years pass that he remembers what the maid named Herta told him at the end of the war, she said: “Never pretend that you didn’t know what was going on, that such a lie would be the worst crime of all.” This should be required reading and just as The Boy in the Striped Pajamas impacted every person who read it, so will this new novel by the amazing writer John Boyne.

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