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.
This is another unforgettable Second World War novel by John Boyne, of The Boy in the Striped Py-jamas fame.
It follows the story of a seven year old French boy, Pierrot. His alcoholic German father, after being badly affected by the First World War, dies under a train. His mother dies soon after of pneumonia. Left an orphan, he is sent to an orphanage run by two unmarried sisters.
His life in the orphanage is bearable, but this all turns when his Aunt Beatrix contacts the orphanage to request he be sent to her in Austria. She just happens to be Adolf Hitler’s housekeeper at The Berghof, his holiday house in the mountains.
Pierrot grows up in this environment, under the tutorage of Adolf Hitler himself. We can only imagine what this could do to a young boy, but I will not give away anymore - you need to read it for yourself!
This is a fabulous and enthralling look into an important period in world history. John Boyne writes so that we feel empathy to his characters and I found this book totally engrossing.
There is really nothing contained that would not allow senior primary students to read it, although it is pitched at a slightly older audience and best appreciated by lower or middle secondary students.
Reviewed by Rob