Thursday 11 April 2019

The Boy at the Top of a Mountain by John Boyne @john_boyne #Review

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 Austrian household. 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.  

Pierrot is quickly taken under Hitler's wing and thrown into an increasingly dangerous new world: a world of terror, secrets, and betrayal from which he may never be able to escape

The Boy at the Top of a Mountain by John Boyne was originally published in hardback in June 2016, the paperback version was published the following year.

I bought this book when it was first released in hardback; it's been sitting on my shelf for almost three years!  I am ashamed; this is what I do; go out and buy hardbacks immediately they are published, then take an age to actually read them!

I'm so very pleased that I finally made the time to read this book. I'm a big fan of John Boyne's writing and enjoy both his adult novels and those he writes for children and young adults. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is one of my favourite young adult books and The Boy at the Top of the Mountain takes the reader back to a war-torn Germany.

The reader meets seven-year-old Pierrot at his home in Paris. His parents have died and he spends a lot of time with his neighbours. It's not long before Pierrot is sent to an orphanage and within weeks it is arranged that he will be adopted by his father's estranged sister Beatrix.
Beatrix is the housekeeper at Berghof; a mountain retreat in Germany.
Pierrot travels to Germany alone on a train and during his journey he sees things that both shock and amaze him.

When Pierrot arrives at Berghof it is made clear to him that he is now German. He is now called Pieter and he must wear the German national dress and banish all memories of his previous life.

For Berghof is the mountain retreat of Adolf Hitler.

At first, Pierrot is distressed and very unhappy, but slowly and surely, as he becomes something of a pet to Hitler, his feelings begin to change and he finds himself fully immersed in life as a young Nazi.

The Boy at the Top of the Mountain is so sensitively written, but is also disturbing and quite terrifying. As readers, we know what will come and it's incredible to see the power that Hitler has over his staff, and so frighteningly, over this young boy.
Pieter becomes a character who it is so easy to dislike, yet the reader must remember that he is just a child, and it is Boyne's depiction of the ease in which he is influenced and the things that he will do to please his idol that are superbly written.

Brilliantly written, and highly recommended my me, for all ages.

John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971.
The winner of three Irish Book Awards, he is the author of eleven novels for adults, five for younger readers and a collection of short stories.
The international bestseller The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas was made into a Miramax feature film and has sold more than six million copies worldwide.

His novels are published in over fifty languages.

He lives in Dublin.
Twitter @john_boyne
Instagram : @johnboyne

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