Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

I have been driving co-workers crazy both last week and this week talking about my impressions of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. I try not to make co-workers any crazier than they are, but ...

The book bothered me.

As previously mentioned, calling this a "fable" is unsettling. I keep thinking that since the topic is disturbing, the book should be as well. But there is something that is keeping me from buying the book for the library. I passed along the arc to the technical services librarian for her opinion. Since she is in Alaska for two weeks, the opinion will be some time coming. I have moved on to other books I picked up at ALA, in fact I'm enjoying Leapholes right now, but Boy continues to lurke in my subconscious like a nasty virus.

This morning while reading the latest issue of Booklist (vol. 102 no. 21), I was interested to see a review on Boy included in the fiction books for older readers section. I quickly noticed it was given a grade recommendation for 7 - 10. OK, I can agree with that. But the review doesn't mention any of the things that bother me about the book (creepiness, cute words for real words, the ending, and it being a "fable") . In fact, except for one detail, I may have purchased the book from the review.

Remember? I read the book.

I was left to wonder if I was alone in my thoughts concerning this book. Even though I have been purchasing children's books for public and academic libraries for almost ten years (OMG ten years!), I'm not a professional reviewer. I count on them to make informed purchases.

Checking my bloglines account before lunch, I was thrilled to read a post from the Horn Book Magazine's blog Read Roger, titled Whither Jackie Paper? It briefly touched on the issue of fables, children's writers, and ... The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

I am not alone.

Really. While I was writing my response to his post, four other people were simultaneously writing as well. I will definitely be checking back to see what additional comments will be posted later on today.

Insert sigh of relief here.

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