Book Reviews of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Author: John Boyne
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ISBN-13: 9780385751063
ISBN-10: 0385751060
Publication Date: 9/12/2006
Pages: 224
Reading Level: Young Adult
Rating:
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 46

4.2 stars, based on 46 ratings
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

63 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Boy in the Striped Pajamas on
Helpful Score: 9
I thought that it was an excellent book. Though it was a little slow in the beginning it caught my attention and was impossible to put down until I finished reading it. I loved the way the point of veiw was a nine year old boy. The innocense really made the story touching and sad. Its not a book to be easily forgotten.
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Helpful Score: 8
I read this book with my 11-year-old son. Reading is not his favorite subject but this book held his interest from beginning to end. I would NOT classify it as a children's book and would recommend that if your child does read it, you read it 1st because they will have questions. Once we got to the end, he took it from me and read all the author's notes, interviews, etc. Its a good book but its not a book that you want to read if you are looking for something light and/or entertaining. Its a great book to open a dicussion with older children about the Holocaust. Hope this review helps!
reviewed The Boy in the Striped Pajamas on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
This was the first book that we chose to read in our book club this year. It was absolutely amazing and the ending of the book is stunning. While this is a young adult novel it is a well written read for any adult interested in WW2 history. Honestly, one of the best books I've read this year!
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Helpful Score: 6
A great book. We listened to it as a family. It is very poignant and it gives alot of things to discuss. I have to disagree with a few reviewers and say that it isn't that violent and the ending isn't in bad taste. I was very pleased that this book doesn't use bad language or bring vivid pictures that would be too tough for younger readers. To be honest, there are worse books about the holocaust that I had to edit for the purpose of my children. This wasn't one of them. Give it a chance. The author discusses all of the reviews he has gotten and plainly says that it isn't a historical fiction but just a novel bringing a different perspective. An excellent book for family reading and discussing.
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Helpful Score: 4
I can't say too much because I don't want to ruin the book for anyone. I will say that although this subject matter is depressing and takes place during a horrible time in the world's history, this was a very, very good book. It kept me interested the whole time. It only takes a short time to read -- a few hours, really. This book touched me so much that I dreamt of it for the next few nights after finishing it. I highly recommend it. I saw the movie after reading the book, and it was also very good. If you are going to watch the movie, just make sure to read the book first. The movie follows the book, but they do add some things and take some other out.
reviewed The Boy in the Striped Pajamas on + 96 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I need to start with a few quotes: "Powerful and unsettling...As memorable an introduction to the subject as The Diary of Anne Frank." -- USA Today. "Deeply affecting...Beautiful and sparely written." -- The Wall Street Journal. "Sure to take readers' breath away." -- Publishers Weekly. I couldn't put it down. Bruno will win your heart with his 9-year-old innocence during a time of upheaval in Nazi Germany. "Soon to be a Major Motion Picture" - I wanted to read the book first. Quick read, but the author captured the day in a most effective way: life outside and inside a concentration camp seen through the eyes of a child. It's a must read before the movie comes out in the Fall of 2008.
reviewed The Boy in the Striped Pajamas on
Helpful Score: 3
A beautifully written, poignant story in its simplicity. I could not put the book down once I started reading. It is a brutal story told without graphic descriptions of the depravity that was occuring, and yet you the reader know as if it were described in horrible detail... One of the best books I have read in a long time.
reviewed The Boy in the Striped Pajamas on
Helpful Score: 3
Dito; On not to much information with the caution that you dont want to ruined it for anyone. However I must say the writing is amazingly clever and witty. The characters feel real, and are very engaging.
It is easy, fast pace read. That you will have no problem following the story.
I disagree in not reading it, or letting children read it because though it does not truly reflect the reality of life in the Holocaust Concentration Camps; It does give room for conversation and teaching opportunity about such a sad, yet vital part of History. I highly recomend the book.
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Helpful Score: 3
In the style of a children's novel, this book shares with us the life of a child who lives next to a concentration camp, and his conflict with the world that surrounds him.
I couldn't put the book down. It's very well written with well developed characters. It's a story told from a child's point of view, so it's very honest and pure. Great Book!
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Helpful Score: 3
This book touched me more than any other of its kind that I've read before.
reviewed The Boy in the Striped Pajamas on
Helpful Score: 3
This was a sweet, sad story about a German boy growing up next door to a concentration camp during WWII. It's told from the boy's point of view and the ending, although somewhat predictable, was heartbreaking. Quick read, but by no means light.
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Helpful Score: 2
Having seen the movie first - which I absolutely loved - this book **for me** read very well. It was a tender story with a plot twist coming at the end, that you only figured out within minutes of seeing it. Then once enlightened to the upcoming events, hated to see the ending result, but unable to tear your eyes away from the screen - or stop reading the book. I absolutely fell in love with both boys in this book. This shows you what the innocence of childhood can make happen.
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Helpful Score: 2
Interesting young adult read with a different look at the Holocaust. Good one to read out loud or as a class because young readers will need to discuss due to main character's naivete about what is happening in the world.
9 year old Bruno is the son of an up and coming Nazi officer, but really doesn't know what his father's job entails-- just that he gets to wear handsome uniforms! Their move from their beloved home in Berlin to the commandant's home at a concentration camp confuses Bruno who has no idea about the war, the "Jewish" problem, or who the" Fury" (Hitler) is! He just knows he is lonely, missing his 3 "best friends for life" and the 5 story house with a sliding bannister-- the only home he's known. To top it off, there is no town nearby, no neighbors, and only his adolescent sister to play with--but she's a total pain!
He eventually goes "exploring" in the woods behind the house and discovers more about the people who live on the other side of the fence--hundreds of them he can see from his bedroom window--- and who all wear the same "striped pajamas" every day.
reviewed The Boy in the Striped Pajamas on + 73 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is an incredible book. Boyne did a great job of creating a believable narrator--one who is innocent and doesn't yet understand the Holocaust. It's such a unique, touching and heartbreaking book. It's also a quick read, not only because it grabs you and doesn't let you go, but also because it's short and easy to read.
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Helpful Score: 2
Reviewed by Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

What an incredible story! John Boyne has created innocent, naïve Bruno and given him a powerful story to tell. This moving book should be required reading for everyone.

Set in the 1940's in Berlin, Germany, the story centers around a nine-year-old German boy named Bruno. His family leaves Berlin to move to the country because his father has been reassigned by the "Fury." Bruno's youth and innocence has protected him from the harsh realities of Hilter and his reign of terror.

Life in the country is dull and boring for Bruno. He doesn't understand his new home, "Out-With." He's left his friends behind and doesn't like the smaller house he's forced to live in with his parents and his sister. Missing the hustle and bustle of the city, Bruno begins to explore his new surroundings. Beyond the fence near his house, he sees people, but is confused by their strange striped pajamas and their sad demeanor.

Bruno's loneliness is somewhat relieved when he becomes friends with a boy on the other side of the fence. They meet daily and exchange comments about their daily lives, but neither fully understands the circumstances of the other.

Boyne presents a story about the Holocaust like none other before. He brings tragedy to life through the eyes of innocent children. Readers of all ages will be spellbound until the last page and beyond.
reviewed The Boy in the Striped Pajamas on + 79 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I liked this one! I wouldn't have picked it up if it weren't for my book group reading it. I'm not one to read war-era type books but, it ended up being a lot better than I expected.
reviewed The Boy in the Striped Pajamas on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I loved this book. It is told from the point of view of a 9 year old during World War II. The book is very fast paced and the story is engaging from the first word till the last. It is not a children's book but could spark some very interesting discussions in families or in book clubs.
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Helpful Score: 2
This book was an interesting perspective on the horrors of concentration camps and the Holocaust. Bruno is unaware of the true nature of his father's job and the people on the other side of the fence, but the reader is not. As the story unfolded, I found myself bracing myself from the inevitable conclusion. The author's message that this will happen again and has happened since in other parts of the world is one that is definitely worth remembering.
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Helpful Score: 2
Reviewed by Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

What an incredible story! John Boyne has created innocent, naïve Bruno and given him a powerful story to tell. This moving book should be required reading for everyone.

Set in the 1940's in Berlin, Germany, the story centers around a nine-year-old German boy named Bruno. His family leaves Berlin to move to the country because his father has been reassigned by the "Fury." Bruno's youth and innocence has protected him from the harsh realities of Hilter and his reign of terror.

Life in the country is dull and boring for Bruno. He doesn't understand his new home, "Out-With." He's left his friends behind and doesn't like the smaller house he's forced to live in with his parents and his sister. Missing the hustle and bustle of the city, Bruno begins to explore his new surroundings. Beyond the fence near his house, he sees people, but is confused by their strange striped pajamas and their sad demeanor.

Bruno's loneliness is somewhat relieved when he becomes friends with a boy on the other side of the fence. They meet daily and exchange comments about their daily lives, but neither fully understands the circumstances of the other.

Boyne presents a story about the Holocaust like none other before. He brings tragedy to life through the eyes of innocent children. Readers of all ages will be spellbound until the last page and beyond.
reviewed The Boy in the Striped Pajamas on + 25 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
What a great book. If you have seen the movie first you will be dissapointed in the book, so read it first. Leaves a lot to imagine, not a lot of details are given in certian parts. Not for a young child, very easy read. I have read many HOLOCAUST books and this one rates 3 out of 5. I can think of better holocaust books but since I try and read any books about this subject, it was worth my time.
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Helpful Score: 1
I found this book to be a fresh look at the Holocaust. It's told in the first person, through the eyes of a young boy. But what audience was this book written for? Although I enjoy "young adult" literature for the most part, this didn't seem to be aimed at children or teens. Yet, as an adult, I found my attention wandering at times. But it was an interesting read and a powerful book.
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Helpful Score: 1
I got into this book, even though the author purposely leaves out historical references (although everyone should be able to tell what it is about). I'm curious whether this would be a teens' book or a younger children's book, as well as an adult's book.
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Helpful Score: 1
Really good book, and a quick read. I expected it to be sad, but I couldn't get it out of my head for several days.
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Helpful Score: 1
I just finished this book & am trying to absorb the shock of the conclusion that I didn't see coming til the last few pages. It gives you a different perspective of the Holocaust... from the eyes of an innocent 9 y.o. child on the outside looking in. I don't think I would have understood such things at that tender age either.

It's about a couple of 9 y.o. boys, but it definitely is not unsupervised reading by 9 y.o.'s.
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Helpful Score: 1
I enjoyed this book immensely. In order to get an understanding of the Holocaust (or anything), it's important to read books from different perspectives. This book centers on Bruno, a little German boy whose father becomes the Commandant of "Out-With"--a camp where Jewish people live. Bruno has no understanding of what this camp is, and he befriends a little boy living on the other side of the fence.

I enjoyed the innocence of Bruno and seeing events from his eyes, although, of course, as a reader, I really understood what was going on. It just brought home to me that this historical event happened to children as well as adults.

The ending was shocking and sad. This book will go on the keeper shelf, right alongside another excellent Holocaust book (that I can't recommend highly enough)--The Book Thief.
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Helpful Score: 1
The ending is what makes this book unforgettable. Some have billed this as a childrens/YA book, I think that this book is anything but. Told through the eyes of 9 year old Bruno the son of a Nazi Commandant, we see his burgeoning friendship with another child a Polish Jew. The only thing that separates them is a fence.

Brunos naivety is quite startling when you, the adult reader, can see what is around the corner. Bruno is just a kid, thinking kid thought, living in a kids world that has always kept him sheltered. But one day, reality will hit and with it a lesson is learned - an no one will ever be the same.

I highly recommend this book to any adult and even to a middle schooler who is studying the Holocaust. This book gives quite a startling look at this time in history from a childs perspective. Though criticized for factual inaccuracies, that is not the point the book is trying to make. Whether it was Auschwitz or Bergen Belsen, it really doesnt matter. This is a story told though the eyes of little boys living in a grown up world.
reviewed The Boy in the Striped Pajamas on
Helpful Score: 1
Interesting perspective of a coming of age story and a child's innocence.
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Helpful Score: 1
People tell me that I say this all the time, but this time I really mean it. This is easily one of the best books I've ever read. As a teacher, I think it should be required reading for all students, and in the near future, I will use it in my classroom.

We've all heard/read about the holocaust many times, but this book gives us a different picture of it. We see the holocaust through the eyes of a 9 year old German boy, who is quite naive about the whole situation. I don't want to give away any of the plot, so I'll just say that his perspective is eye-opening and heart-wrenching.

Other than the topic of the book being both educational and fascinating, the writing style is unique. Boyne is a clever, humorous writer. Though the content of the book is heavy, I found myself laughing aloud several times because the writing was so hilarious. Boyne is a gifted writer.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book confuses me. It's written like it is for children, the story is about a boy and the writing is simple and to the point. But the subject matter clearly isn't for children. I'm not really sure who the target audience is supposed to be. I read it to finish it but I didn't really enjoy it.
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Helpful Score: 1
Really good book! Although the story is told through the mind of a young child and seems to be a young reader novel, story is told in a gripping simple way. As told by the young boy, the story revolves around the naive and unbiased thoughts of his life. The story is about a very complex issue of Hitlers war against the Jewish population but is told in the simple mind of a young boy who cannot understand what is happening. Very surprising ending and also sad but tells the story without alot of slang and bitterness as most books of this type.

I have this book available but different ISBN number than shown on wish list so doesn't appear to be requested even though it is on many wish list requests
reviewed The Boy in the Striped Pajamas on
Helpful Score: 1
FANTASTIC!! A must read for any age. A great book club book with lots to discuss and very readable text.
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This book is truly amazing in its perspective and presentation. I think best enjoyed in audio version which includes the interview with the author. Definitely one of the top 5 books I have ever read, and only stumbled across because of a local book group. I am in the process of telling everyone I know to read it. Enjoy!
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Interesting book and very quick read.
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I have read this and bought a copy for my son, who is doing a unit in school on the Holocaust. Great book, despite the sad subject matter.
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This book is a bit slow in the beginning, but you will not regret finishing it. The innocence of the main character, Bruno, is powerful and inspiring. Boyne's writing style lets you create your own images of Bruno's life and how he sees it. 3.5/5 stars!
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its an easy read. touchy ending.
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really great book, significant subject made poignant through the eyes of a 9 year old.
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This is a quick and easy read that will stay with you for a long time. The book is compelling and should be a must read in schools. Was a very hard book to put down.
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I really liked this book. It's not a light read, as others have said. It's thoughtful and poignant, but also I find it surprising that one critic stated it was "as memorable as the diary of Anne Frank." Where Anne Frank was deeply personal and highly emotive, I felt The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was very predictable in parts, therefore taking away any emotion I could have toward the characters. Anne Frank was a real person, and although I'm sure The Boy represents the story of the Holocaust itself, and the individuals who perished, I just wasn't able to fall in love with the characters. I enjoyed the child's point of view however, clever how the author used a child's mispronunciation of words to disguise the terrible places present in the story.
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I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I was absorbed from the first line. The repetitive thoughts in Bruno's mind and the way that he doesn't know what's happening around him, but sticks to the strict guidelines of his very regulated family life makes you feel his childlike innocence, confusion and endless optimism. The son of a powerful soldier, Bruno seems to be very unaware of the conflict surrounding him, even as his family is moved to "the country" and he is given a tutor who succeeds in indoctrinating Bruno's older sister. Bruno lives in his own simple world of wishing to be an explorer and to tell any more of what his explorations bring him would rob you of the joy of reading the book and discovering Bruno's life along with him.

It is a stirring story, sad yet not depressing and full of emotional heft. I don't know that I would recommend it to a young child, but I think any teenager could benefit from reading it.
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Just a great book!
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Great book...short and powerful. The narrator being a young boy adds to the emotion of the story. This story will stay with you for a long time after you finish it.
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Wow. Just wow. This book left me speecheless. I read it in one sitting and had a really hard time going to sleep after I finished it. I was just in shock and processing all of it took me some time. A highly, highly recommended read. It may be labelled as a children's book, but it is not for young readers. It is strictly for mature teens and adults, in my opinion.
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I would recommend this book to everyone!
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This is truly a story not to be missed, an important fable set in Holocaust-era Germany that reminds readers of the evils committed in the name of Adolph Hitler's deranged ideals. Uniquely told from the point of view of the child of a top-ranking Nazi, this simply-written fiction tale tells universal truths and could be a great way to introduce this most dark of subjects to age-appropriate youngsters, with parental guidance along the way, of course. A moving, yet ultimately tragic and disturbing, story that contains the essence of the Holocaust in an intimate way, 'The Boy in the Striped Pajamas' is required reading.
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I loved this book - it's the perspective that's unique and a touching, bittersweet story.
Hurry!
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This is a very good book to read. It is a story about the Holocaust as seen thru the eyes of a naive young boy. What an unexpected ending to this story!
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The book was engrossing, emotional and ended in a way I never saw coming.
A book not to miss.
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First Line: One afternoon, when Bruno came home from school, he was surprised to find Maria, the family's maid-- who always kept her head bowed and never looked up from the carpet-- standing in his bedroom, pulling all his belongings out of the wardrobe and packing them in four large wooden crates, even the things he'd hidden at the back that belonged to him and were nobody else's business.

Bruno is the son of a high-ranking SS officer in Nazi Germany. He and his older sister, Gretel, are growing up in luxury in Berlin when Hitler promotes their father and they find themselves moving to "Out-With" in Poland. Neither of the children have any idea what sort of place Out-With (Auschwitz) is, and they wonder what in the world all the people dressed in striped pajamas are doing on the other side of that tall fence. One day Bruno goes exploring and meets Shmuel, a young boy wearing striped pajamas who lives on the other side of the fence. They become friends.

I had heard many good things about this book, and I looked forward to reading it. If it's read at face value and as if it's a fable, it can be a very powerful book indeed. However, I had problems with it. 99% of the time I have no trouble with my "willing suspension of disbelief." I can turn off my judgement and let the writer tell me a story, and I'll believe it... as long as nothing throws me out of the narrative. I kept getting tossed out of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, and I still have a few scrapes and bruises from the experience.

The character who kept kicking me in the shins was Bruno. I found it impossible to believe that the nine-year-old son of a high-ranking Nazi would be so totally naive about Jews, Hitler, and almost everything else going on in the world around him. Putting that aside, Bruno was a spoiled, petty little brat who-- on rare occasions-- showed a glimmer of humanity, but when push came to shove, he did and said anything in his power to save his own neck. His air of entitlement made him impossible for me to like. (In fact the only character in the book that truly came to life for me was Pavel, the prisoner forced to peel potatoes and wait on the family at table.)

The ending of the book is indeed powerful. Since I normally try my best not to give plot details away, I won't say anything about it here. I'll only mention my own reaction:

You reap what you sow.

Although I did have problems with The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, I am glad that I read the book. I have a feeling that, in this particular case, Boyne's novel would've worked better if I had been a tween or a teenager with less baggage and fewer firmly held beliefs.
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This is a wonderful book that we all need to read. Very sensitive characters who are seen through the eyes of a very naive 9 year old. The "fable" sweeps us along toward its surprising conclusion and leaves us thinking about the characters long after. Highly recommend
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A rather short book, and a quick read. Told from the perspective of a 9 year old boy whose father is the commandant at Auschwitz, and how the boy deals (or doesn't deal) with the situation. The boy comes off as rather naive, but the author has argued that he mirrors the thoughts of his countrymen. You could call the style "understated."
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Really impressed with the way that the author wrote this. You can see that it was written to promote discussions. Certain words were never printed in the book correctly and younger, curious readers are going to inquire about those words, leading to some very good discussion.
We must never forget all that happened in that period of time.
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gut-renching, soul torturing, heart breaking...This book was so hard to read because it is from the 9 year old boys point of view. The unbelievable acts of humans is so disturbing, but it is our history.
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This book was an emotional beartrap. I thought the characters were unnecessarily one-dimensional, and I thought the ending was ridiculously manipulative.
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Reviewed by Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

What an incredible story! John Boyne has created innocent, naïve Bruno and given him a powerful story to tell. This moving book should be required reading for everyone.

Set in the 1940's in Berlin, Germany, the story centers around a nine-year-old German boy named Bruno. His family leaves Berlin to move to the country because his father has been reassigned by the "Fury." Bruno's youth and innocence has protected him from the harsh realities of Hilter and his reign of terror.

Life in the country is dull and boring for Bruno. He doesn't understand his new home, "Out-With." He's left his friends behind and doesn't like the smaller house he's forced to live in with his parents and his sister. Missing the hustle and bustle of the city, Bruno begins to explore his new surroundings. Beyond the fence near his house, he sees people, but is confused by their strange striped pajamas and their sad demeanor.

Bruno's loneliness is somewhat relieved when he becomes friends with a boy on the other side of the fence. They meet daily and exchange comments about their daily lives, but neither fully understands the circumstances of the other.

Boyne presents a story about the Holocaust like none other before. He brings tragedy to life through the eyes of innocent children. Readers of all ages will be spellbound until the last page and beyond.
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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 9 UpBoyne has written a sort of historical allegorya spare, but vividly descriptive tale that clearly elucidates the atmosphere in Nazi Germany during the early 1940s that enabled the persecution of Eastern European Jews. Through the eyes of Bruno, a naive nine-year-old raised in a privileged household by strict parents whose expectations included good manners and unquestioning respect for parental authority, the author describes a visit from the Fury and the family's sudden move from Berlin to a place called Out-With in Poland. There, not 50 feet away, a high wire fence surrounds a huge dirt area of low huts and large square buildings. From his bedroom window, Bruno can see hundreds (maybe thousands) of people wearing striped pajamas and caps, and something made him feel very cold and unsafe. Uncertain of what his father actually does for a living, the boy is eager to discover the secret of the people on the other side. He follows the fence into the distance, where he meets Shmuel, a skinny, sad-looking Jewish resident who, amazingly, has his same birth date. Bruno shares his thoughts and feelings with Shmuel, some of his food, and his final day at Out-With, knowing instinctively that his father must never learn about this friendship. While only hinting at violence, blind hatred, and deplorable conditions, Boyne has included pointed examples of bullying and fearfulness. His combination of strong characterization and simple, honest narrative make this powerful and memorable tale a unique addition to Holocaust literature for those who already have some knowledge of Hitlers Final Solution.Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
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This was an excellent book! The story was told through a child's point of view. It was a great story with an ending that left me thinking about the book for about a week! I was really moved. Good job John Boyne! I would recommend this book for all to read!
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Heartbreaking and thought provoking.
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very well written book. Makes you think. Its kinda sad. ***** five star!
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Book Description
"Powerful and unsettling. . . . As memorable an introduction to the subject as The Diary of Anne Frank." --USA Today

Berlin, 1942: When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different from his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

My Review
I enjoyed this book very much. I like that it was written from the innocent point of view of a nine year old which makes it a very moving story. Any attempt to describe this book would only spoil the powerful effect of the ending. It definitely is a one sitting read and when you've finished...you will be thinking about this one for a while...
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A remarkable telling of a Holocaust story, from the innocent viewpoint of a nine year old German boy. John Boyne is an excellent storyteller.
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The Holocost from a different viewpoint - that of a little boy, who just happened to be the son of the German commandante. A very touching story of the innocence, and friendships, of a young boy. You've never heard the story portrayed in a more moving manner....
reviewed The Boy in the Striped Pajamas on + 4 more book reviews
hard cover