THE BOY AT THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN – Review by Charan, Queen Elizabeth’s School

boy-mountainPierrot, after having lost his parents, becomes an orphan in Paris, and therefore has to live with his, aunt who works in a rich house at the peak of some mountains located in Germany; this “Berghof” (the home) is occupied by none other than Adolf Hitler himself. Pierrot finds himsef in a completely new world which is far more dangerous than he has ever imagined of, but the question is… will he ever escape this abomination? This book had me hooked, especially due to the increase of tension and this story makes me think that I am Pierrot and feel whatever difficulty he faces.
I would certainly recommend this book if you are not just interested with the fate of this poor boy, but also if you are interested in what life was like for people like Pierrot during World War Two.

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THE BOY AT THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN – Review by Ralph, Wren Academy

boy-mountainThe Boy on Top of the Mountain is about a boy called Pierrot Fischer who was born in 1932 in France. His father fought in the Great War and was driven mad by the horrid things he had done and seen and his mother died of illness leaving him an orphan.

He is adopted by his Aunt Beatrix who works as housekeeper at The Berghof, Hitler’s home. Soon The Fuhrer grows close to Pierrot and tells him all about the Great War and how Germany was robbed of its pride by the Jews. He tells Pierrot how he plans to lead Germany to be the great nation it once was.

Soon however, Pierrot is corrupted by Hitler’s fascist views, renames himself Pieter to be more German and starts denouncing Jews, even coming out of contact with his Jewish pen pal, calling him a creature. This tale lasts throughout World War Two and covers Germany’s side of the war.

This is an excellent book that covers in detail the horrors of both World Wars and details how even the most innocent can be corrupted with darkness and racism. The book drops a dark message of anti-war and anti-racism while still retaining a gripping story of betrayal, politics, secrets and lies. A dark book but one I would definitely recommend and read over again.

 

THE BOY AT THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN, Review by Alexandra, Wren Academy

boy-mountainThe Boy at the Top of the Mountain is a very realistic, thought-provoking novel set in Germany at the time of the Second World War. It is about a young boy, Pierrot, who was forced to leave France and join his aunt in Germany after his parents died. His aunt is the maid of Hitler in a large house in the mountains. After being given his own Nazi uniform, to which his aunt is reluctant, Pierrot is force-fed his beliefs and is left hungry for power and glory. He has to adapt to the ways of Hitler, or he would meet a grisly end like some of the past maids who had rejected his beliefs. Ultimately, he is forced to decide where his loyalties lie. It was a choice between love or power, friends or comrades.

The book was written in a way that I could believe actually happened; it was shocking, heart-breaking and I was filled with empathy for his situation. I really liked this book because it showed the brutal truth of Nazi Germany and how someone can be led to believe that what they are doing is right. It really touched me that Pierrot was only 6 when he moved to Germany, but was still hated and disrespected by German citizens for following the beliefs of Hitler. I also really liked the ending. It tied all loose ends and left me feeling satisfied and warm inside. It was a lovely story which left me wondering about the awful situation he was in and how some similar things must have happened at that time.

I wouldn’t have picked this book out myself as I like to read fantasies, but I was pleasantly surprised by this book and therefore, I rate it 5/5.

 

THE BOY AT THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN – Review by Arjun, Queen Elizabeth’s School

boy-mountainAn emotional book written by the master of World War Two. This story reflects the journey of Pierrot as he travels from his war affected home to the mountain with many other places in between.

It shows how Pierrot comes under Hitler’s wing and shows how people corrupt in society over time and how power corrupts both the young and the old and the powers of thinking for yourself. The only criticism I would have for John Boyne is that we need to see the change from Pierrot’s point of view, possibly in a diary. The link to the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas was subtle yet very good. I really enjoyed reading it from cover to cover and have recommended it several times.

THE BOY AT THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN – Review by Blessing, Copthall School

boy-mountainThis book is set during World War II when Aldolf Hitler ruled Germany and manipulated the majority of the country to support him. This book takes us through the tragedies and dangerous adventures of young boy called Pierrot, showing us how the people you are around can change your life and also the way you act.

At only seven years old Pierrot faces the heartbreak of both of his parents dying in horrible deaths and being sent to an orphanage. Later his mysterious, unknown Aunt Beatrice finds him and takes him to the house at the top of the mountain. Residing with Hitler he learns about the danger that awaits the world. The one thing he doesn’t know is that the danger is awaiting him too.

This book is packed with regret and sorrow. An absolute gripping book which made me cry as well as feel uncertain for my feelings towards Pierrot.

I rate this book a 9/10 because it is one of the most thoughtful books I have ever read. John Boyne has once again written a book I will never forget.

THE BOY AT THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN, Review by Desh, Queen Elizabeth’s School

boy-mountainYou have probably read John Boyne’s other story, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. It is a great novel and having read that before I was eager to read his new book. Both stories are set in Nazi Germany during WW2. We follow the story of boy called Pierrot who lives in Paris but at a young age his parents both die and he has to leave to go and live with his German aunt.

She is a maid in a house of a man very high up in Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler himself! Slowly, Pierrot becomes influenced by Hitler and changes his personality completely, idolising Hitler and wanting to always please him.

This is an amazing story and I have given it 5 stars out of 5 because of how vividly the author portrays the key themes of family, betrayal, friendship, patriotism and change.

It will definitely move you and I would recommend it to people of all ages. It is an amazing book.

THE BOY AT THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN – Review by Jake, JCoSS

boy-mountainThe Boy at the Top of the Mountain is a great book all about a boy living in Hitler’s house which follows him as he is being brainwashed. It sometimes makes you think about what has happened, who the good guy was and why this was happening. The book made me feel frustrated a few times. A lot of those times were turning points in the character’s motives and his perspective, which actually makes you hate him more than like him, and it also makes the other side roles seem a lot more justified in their original opinions even before they knew him.

Why I liked this book: I think this book is great because it changes the main protagonist (even though he isn’t really a hero, just an innocent child) to an antagonist. It also makes you think about if you were in a situation like this and how your point of view could be completely changed. I also like the book as it is a very quick read so I could finish it faster. I also find it astonishing that John Boyne managed to fit so much detail into such a short story, compared to others at least.

Why I didn’t like this book: I don’t really like the pace of the book at the start. I believe a quick start to a book, instantly encapsulating you in the main story, is the best way to start off any story.

My favourite character: I enjoyed reading about the French boy, Pierrot, however not about his German alter-ego Pieter. The reason is that I don’t like the decisions Pieter makes, which make his character a monster. He becomes a lot ruder, ignorant, self-absorbed and also it is hard to come to realize that someone who seemed like a little innocent orphan has become someone so evil. Pierrot however, is a nice character some can relate to, especially because he’s an orphan. Scenes where he is reminded of his parents’ deaths, or where he is being knocked around, are very upsetting for the reader. Another time he is likeable is when he doesn’t want to break a friendship with his Jewish friend but eventually he gives in to society and changes himself completely into Hitler’s puppet.

Would I recommend this book: Yes. Although it is very sad and frustrating, these emotions make you want to read on so much more than other books and that is why I love it.

Rating: 8/10 – great for mature readers who can handle dark themes.