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 was a thing, I wanted it. I loved The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and I knew that I would love this just the same. Having said that, this book is so different from The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas so if you’re going into it thinking it will be the same, you are wrong. Both books are set around young boys during World War II, and that is really where the similarities end.
The Boy at the Top of the Mountain was an extremely well written and powerful story. Like The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas this book is told from the perspective of the boy however this book spans his life from 7 years old, to 16. It was really interesting to see him growing up in the circumstances that he is in. When he first arrives to the house at the top of the mountain, he is an innocent 7 year old boy. He is told to forget everything about his life before he arrived, never to mention his Jewish friends name or where he originated from and has to change his name to Pieter as it was 'more of a German name than Pierrot'.
It just really shows how easily innocent minds can be corrupted which was incredibly heart breaking. The Impact that Hitler had on this innocent boy was very disturbing and unsettling. Seeing how quickly Pierrot/Pieter’s mindset changed throughout the story was heartbreaking.
I really liked the historical aspect of this as well. I can’t remember the specifics of it but it spoke of the Royal Family at the time, and also spoke of the different battles during WWII, the making of the prison camps and the gas chambers which were explained as a shower room with no water coming from the ceiling. It was all very sad, especially as Pierrot didn’t understand why there would be no water in the “showers”.
I will say that while this book is presented as being for children, I don’t see it being very suitable for children under the age of 12 or 13. While the content is fine for children to read, I think the information would be a bit above their heads. Some of the vocabulary in this book is also a bit advanced for young kids, and I feel like some background knowledge of WWII is needed in order to really understand the subject matter.
This was a very quick, powerful read, and one that will stay with me for a long time to come. I’m hoping that Boyne will write more books like this. I’m also hoping that like The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, this will also be made into a movie. I think the story would translate really well onto the big screen.
This book comes out on the first of October, and if you have any interest in WWII, or you liked The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (even though it’s different), then I highly recommend you pick this one up.
Format: Paperback, 215 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Corgi Children's
Published: 1st October 2015
Acquired from: Penguin Random House
* This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.
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