Confronting Sins of the Past in All the Broken Places by John Boyne

All the Broken Places

My Review:

An incredible follow up to the emotional story of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, All the Broken Places is a story about guilt, accepting responsibility of wrongdoing, paying the price and bravery.

91 year old Gretel Fernsby created a false past for self protection, stemming from experiences she had as a child during World War ll. She spent her life using a fake name and keeping quiet about her youth, growing up in Germany with her younger brother, mother and father, who was a Nazi officer in charge of a concentration camp. (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas takes place during that time.)

Now widowed and living in London, with a grown son she visits with on occasion, Gretel keeps to herself to avoid getting close to anyone. Living with the knowledge of the sins of her father and not speaking up has weighed heavy on her conscience. A young couple with a 9 year old boy moves in to the apartment downstairs and Gretel befriends the child, reminding her of the brother she lost many decades ago during the war. After sensing the boy is being abused by his father, she feels the need to help him. Coming to the boy’s rescue could put her in danger of revealing her true identity and her past; will Gretel exhibit bravery and risk her safety to speak out and save him? You have to read All the Broken Places to find out!

Author, John Boyne revisits a disturbing time in history to set the stage for Gretel’s psychological mindset while exploring the question of complicity in the witnessing of crimes, along with social responsibility, living with guilt, and clearing your conscience. John Boyne’s always compelling storytelling has a few delightful surprises as he pulls at our heartstrings to shine a light on the suffering caused by silence and to convey this moving story of human experience. I really loved All the Broken Places and hope you do to!

John Boyne

About the Author:

I was born in Dublin, Ireland, and studied English Literature at Trinity College, Dublin, and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. In 2015, I was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by UEA.

I’ve published 13 novels for adults, a short story collection, and 6 novels for younger readers, including The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas which was a New York Times no.1 Bestseller and was adapted for a feature film, a play, a ballet and a chamber opera, selling around 11 million copies worldwide.

Among my most popular books are The Heart’s Invisible Furies, A Ladder to the Sky and My Brother’s Name is Jessica.

I’m also a regular book reviewer for The Irish Times.

In 2012, I was awarded the Hennessy Literary ‘Hall of Fame’ Award for my body of work. I’ve also won 3 Irish Book Awards, and many international literary awards, including the Que Leer Award for Novel of the Year in Spain and the Gustav Heinemann Peace Prize in Germany. In 2015, I was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of East Anglia.

My novels are published in 58 languages.

My 14th adult novel, ALL THE BROKEN PLACES, a sequel and companion novel to THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS, was published in the UK on September 15th 2022, in the US and Canada on November 29th, and in many foreign language editions in late 2022 and 2023.

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Book Nation by Jen


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