Living Under Hitler’s Roof: The Boy at the Top of the Mountain, reviewed

Right after World War I ended, when people were still recovering, Pierrot Fischer, who was German and French, was thrown into a new unexpected life situation which left him at odds with his family. His father had died when Pierrot was four, so when his mother died, he was sent to an orphanage. From there, he reunited with his aunt, Beatrix, who took him across the border from France to Germany to a mountain near Salzburg where Beatrix was a housekeeper. Because Pierrot was so young, he didn't understand why he had to change his name to Pieter...or why he had to stop talking to his deaf and Jewish best friend, Anshel.

What started out as an ordinary story about a confused child in an unfamilar place, turns out to be a horrifying read about something incredibly terrible and historically significant. The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne (who also wrote the well-known The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, winner of multiple awards) is a powerful and unsettling story about a young innocent boy living amid World War II in the home of Adolf Hitler. This story is from a different point-of-view than most of us are used to from the time period, making it a unique and intriguing read.

With John Boyne's detached narrating of Pierrot's life, you can find yourself having thought provoking discussions with yourself (or other people). You might find yourself wondering if Pierrot will maintain his innocence or will he, like so many others, find his mind transformed? At times it may be hard to care for the protagonist, but even so, you won't be disappointed with the plot line of this story!

-Nitya, (Dusen)Berry Blogger and Member of the River Teen Advisory Board