The Boy At The Top Of The Mountain by John Boyne

Corrupting The Young

The Boy At The Top Of The Mountain by John Boyne is a powerful children’s historical novel that consumed me from the start. It is perfect for ages ten and over.

The novel is written in the third person from the point of view of young Pierrot who is half French and half German. It is set in the 1930’s and into the end of World War II. John Boyne has cleverly written the story which draws the reader in. We ’hear’ and ‘see’ the action through Pierrot’s eyes whilst also remaining detached to witness the character change. We are far more aware of what is going on than the character.

In Paris there is light and love and family. In contrast to the mountaintop which should have clean air but is tainted with deceit, fear and evil.

John Boyne shows how easily a life can be manipulated, corrupted and brain washed bit by bit. The lure of power seems magnetic but there is nothing attractive about a corrupt power.

The reader witnesses a few brave folks standing up for what they believe is right with little regard to personal safety.

We cannot use youth or silence to deny what we see and hear. As Edmund Burke famously said, ‘for evil to flourish, we just need good men to do nothing.’ We can not use silence in our defense.

When we want to grow up and emulate a person, we need to be sure that that person is worth copying.

This is an incredibly powerful read and very cleverly done. It is also horrifying witnessing how the pursuit of power can corrupt even the youngest of minds.

JULIA WILSON

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