The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne.
A novel with the same power as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Just as the son of the Kommandant of the Death camp was lured innocently to the gas chamber with his Jewish friend, so 7 year old Pierrot is seduced into the Nazi world of secrecy, suspicion and brutality.
Pierrot’s journey is an astonishing transformation from sensitive son of a German soldier and French mother to a child monster with the same qualities of any Nazi. John Boyne documents Pierrot’s life from 7 years old in Paris in 1936 to the end of the War in 1945 at Berchtesgaden and shows how easy it is for the innocent to be corrupted.
The story and transformation of French boy Pierrot with a Jewish boy as his best friend to the loathsome Pieter whom he becomes, is simply told in three parts and is very understandable for students of senior primary and intermediate age but is clearly for high school students.
It is riveting and John Boyne builds the tension throughout but the deeper stuff like the reasons for the Jewish persecutions will need to be explained. Heavens it needs to be.
The character and decline and fall of Hitler is neatly depicted from the time he tells Pierrot “work will set us free” to the crazed lunatic who bundles into a car on his way to the final days in the bunker. A description of Hitler eating “like a rat chewing his way along a cob of corn” is priceless.
The ending is deserving but you will have to read the novel to find out what happens.
Don’t miss this novel it is superb.