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Boy In The Striped Pyjamas Limited

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Estimado lector, estimada lectora: Aunque el uso habitual de un texto como éste es describir las características de la obra, por una vez nos tomaremos la libertad de hacer una excepción a la norma establecida. No sólo porque el libro que tienes en tus manos es muy difícil de definir, sino porque estamos convencidos de que explicar su contenido estropearía la experiencia de Estimado lector, estimada lectora: Aunque el uso habitual de un texto como éste es describir las características de la obra, por una vez nos tomaremos la libertad de hacer una excepción a la norma establecida. No sólo porque el libro que tienes en tus manos es muy difícil de definir, sino porque estamos convencidos de que explicar su contenido estropearía la experiencia de la lectura. Creemos que es importante empezar esta novela sin saber de qué trata. No obstante, si decides embarcarte en la aventura, debes saber que acompañarás a Bruno, un niño de nueve años, cuando se muda con su familia a una casa junto a una cerca. Cercas como ésa existen en muchos sitios del mundo, sólo deseamos que no te encuentres nunca con una. Por último, cabe aclarar que este libro no es sólo para adultos; también lo pueden leer, y sería recomendable que lo hicieran, niños a partir de los trece años de edad.


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Estimado lector, estimada lectora: Aunque el uso habitual de un texto como éste es describir las características de la obra, por una vez nos tomaremos la libertad de hacer una excepción a la norma establecida. No sólo porque el libro que tienes en tus manos es muy difícil de definir, sino porque estamos convencidos de que explicar su contenido estropearía la experiencia de Estimado lector, estimada lectora: Aunque el uso habitual de un texto como éste es describir las características de la obra, por una vez nos tomaremos la libertad de hacer una excepción a la norma establecida. No sólo porque el libro que tienes en tus manos es muy difícil de definir, sino porque estamos convencidos de que explicar su contenido estropearía la experiencia de la lectura. Creemos que es importante empezar esta novela sin saber de qué trata. No obstante, si decides embarcarte en la aventura, debes saber que acompañarás a Bruno, un niño de nueve años, cuando se muda con su familia a una casa junto a una cerca. Cercas como ésa existen en muchos sitios del mundo, sólo deseamos que no te encuentres nunca con una. Por último, cabe aclarar que este libro no es sólo para adultos; también lo pueden leer, y sería recomendable que lo hicieran, niños a partir de los trece años de edad.

30 review for Boy In The Striped Pyjamas Limited

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brandy

    I hardly know where to begin bashing this book. Do I start with the 9-year-old boy and his 12-year-old sister, who read about 6 and 8, respectively? The imperial measurements (miles, feet) despite the German setting? The German boy, raised in Berlin, who thinks that Der Führer is "The Fury" and Auschwitz is "Out-With," despite being corrected several times and seeing it written down? The other English-language idioms and mis-hearings, despite our being told that he speaks only German? And that I hardly know where to begin bashing this book. Do I start with the 9-year-old boy and his 12-year-old sister, who read about 6 and 8, respectively? The imperial measurements (miles, feet) despite the German setting? The German boy, raised in Berlin, who thinks that Der Führer is "The Fury" and Auschwitz is "Out-With," despite being corrected several times and seeing it written down? The other English-language idioms and mis-hearings, despite our being told that he speaks only German? And that he believes that "Heil Hitler!" is a fancy word for hello, because he understands neither "Heil" nor "Hitler"? So maybe these are fussy issues, and I shouldn't trash the book on these minor linguistic flaws. Instead, I can start with the plot holes big enough to drive a truck through: that Bruno, whose father is a high-ranking official in "The Fury"'s regime, doesn't know what a Jew is, or that he's living next door to a concentration camp. Or that the people wearing the "striped pajamas" are being killed, and THAT's why they don't get up after the soldiers stand close to them and there are sounds "like gunshots." Or that there's a section of fence that is (a) unpatrolled and (b) can be lifted from the ground high enough to pass food and, eventually, a small boy through, AND that nobody would try to get OUT through this hole. Or that Bruno's friend Shmuel, a frail 9-year-old boy, would survive over a year in a Nazi camp. Or even the author's refusal to ever use the word "Auschwitz," in an effort to "make this book about any camp, to add a universality to Bruno's experience." That last is from an interview with the author that appears at the end of the audio version. I can't speak to most of what he said, because it was a lot of "here are all the places that are hyping my book," but the worst part of it, to me, was where he was addressing criticisms: "there are people who complain that Bruno is too innocent, too naive, and they are trivializing the message of this book." Um, no. I'm not trivializing the message; I'm objecting to his trivializing of the Holocaust. I find his treatment of the Holocaust to be superficial, misleading, and even offensive. As an audio recording, I'm pretty neutral. The narrator did the best he could with the material and there was some differentiation between the characters' voices, but the music that was added... some chapters ended with appropriately-somber music. Other chapters had no music at all. Sometimes the music appeared in the middle of a chapter. Two other incidental notes: first, normally you can't say anything negative about a Holocaust-themed book without being an asshole, because the books are so tied in with the Holocaust itself. In this case, though, I feel like, due to the fictionalizing of it, the book is far enough removed from Auschwitz that it's okay to be negative about the book without being insensitive about the Holocaust. Second, this doesn't land on my "run away! Save yourself!" shelf, because that's more for books that are comically bad--books that I can bash with glee and mock with abandon. I can't find anything funny about what makes this book so bad; it's just plain offensive and shallow.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" would easily top my list of "Worst Books about the Holocaust." I am writing as one who was there -- I was once myself a boy in striped pajamas and am a survivor of six German concentration camps. This book is so ignorant of historical facts about concentration camps that it kicks the history of the Holocaust right in the teeth. John Boyne's premise is that the nine-year old son of the commandant of Auschwitz, bored with his isolated life, takes walks to the fence "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" would easily top my list of "Worst Books about the Holocaust." I am writing as one who was there -- I was once myself a boy in striped pajamas and am a survivor of six German concentration camps. This book is so ignorant of historical facts about concentration camps that it kicks the history of the Holocaust right in the teeth. John Boyne's premise is that the nine-year old son of the commandant of Auschwitz, bored with his isolated life, takes walks to the fence surrounding this infamous camp and meets there a nine-year old inmate who is on the other side of the fence. The two boys become friends and continue meeting on a daily basis. Here is some news for Mr. Boyne. The 10-ft high barbed wire fence surrounding each camp was electrified. Touch if once and you are fried. There was a no-man's land on each side of the fence; along the inside perimeter of the fence were guard towers; each tower was manned by an armed guard around the clock; each guard was responsible for one segment of the fence within his vision; it was his duty to prevent anyone from approaching the fence, either from the inside, or from the outside; he was under orders to shoot anyone he saw approaching the no-man's-land. In addition, along the outside perimeter, prominent signs proclaimed, "STOP - Danger - High-Voltage Electricity." So that even a dense nine-year-old would get the message, a skull and cross-bones were pictured at the top of each sign. Let me add this. A nine-year-old boy arriving in Auschwitz-Birkenau on a cattle train would take only a single walk in this camp: from the train to the gas chamber. "The Boy in The Striped Pajamas" makes a mockery of these very basic facts. It is a fantasy that does untold damage to the cause of truth about the Holocaust. This book has only one purpose: to make a lot of money for the author and the publisher. And this purpose it accomplishes. The publisher recently proudly trumpeted in an ad in the New York Times: over one-million copies sold and still going strong. And that's not even counting the profits from the revolting movie based on this book. Peter Kubicek Author of "MEMORIES OF EVIL" -- a factual book about the Holocaust that will never make it on any list of best books about the Holocaust because my book tells it the way it was: there was nothing cute, nothing in any way benign about the concentration camps. These camps were about brutality, starvation, and sheer terror.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)

    3.5* I didn't love this, but I did appreciate the fact that it had a very powerful message (and an ending I wasn't expecting at all). My feelings were definitely changed by the fact that the author describes the story as a fable. The abstractness makes a lot more sense in that way. Definitely an unforgettable read, nonetheless!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

    As Michael Kors once sighed to a clueless designer on Project Runway: Where do I start? Let's open with some descriptive words that sum up this book, and I will then go on to explain them in further detail: Patronizing. Insipid. Smarmy. Just plain bad. Patronizing: I believe that to write good children's literature, you have to think that children are intelligent, capable human beings who are worth writing for - like Stephen King, who probably thinks kids are smarter than adults. The author of As Michael Kors once sighed to a clueless designer on Project Runway: Where do I start? Let's open with some descriptive words that sum up this book, and I will then go on to explain them in further detail: Patronizing. Insipid. Smarmy. Just plain bad. Patronizing: I believe that to write good children's literature, you have to think that children are intelligent, capable human beings who are worth writing for - like Stephen King, who probably thinks kids are smarter than adults. The author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, on the other hand, clearly thinks that children are idiots. The main character, Bruno, is supposed to be nine years old, but compared to him Danny Torrance of The Shining (who was six) looks like a Mensa member. There's childlike naivety, and then there's Bruno, who is so stunningly unobservant and unperceptive that I actually started to wonder if he was supposed to be mentally deficient somehow. And he's not the only child who receives Boyne's withering scorn and condescension. Take this scene between Bruno and his sister Gretel, when they've just moved to their house at "Out-With" (as Bruno insists on calling it, despite being corrected many times and seeing the name written down) and are wondering how long they're going to stay there. Bruno's father, a commandant in charge of the camp, has told the kids that they'll be there "for the foreseeable future" and Bruno doesn't know what that means. "'It means weeks from now,' Gretel said with an intelligent nod of her head. 'Perhaps as long as three.'" Gretel is twelve years old, by the way. TWELVE. See what I meant about Boyne thinking kids are morons? Insipid And Smarmy: this book was not meant for kids to read. It's meant for adults who know about the Holocaust already, so they can read it and sigh over the precious innocent widdle children's adorable misunderstanding of the horrible events surrounding them and how they still remain innocent and uuuuuuggggggghhhhh. There's a scene towards the end, where Bruno puts on a pair of the "striped pajamas" so he can visit his friend on the other side of the fence. Bruno has had lice, so his head is shaved. When he puts on the pajamas, the Jewish boy observes him and the narration commits the following Hallmark-worthy atrocity: "If it wasn't for the fact that Bruno was nowhere near as skinny as the boys on his side of the fence, and not quite so pale either, it would have been difficult to tell them apart. It was almost (Shmuel thought) as if they were all exactly the same really." YES JOHN BOYNE I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE. Just Plain Bad: This book is, technically, historic fiction, but I'm not putting it on my history shelf, because there is nothing historical in this book. Bruno is supposed to have grown up in Nazi Germany, the son of a high ranking SS officer, but based on his knowledge of everything, he's spent his entire nine years sitting inside with his eyes shut humming loudly while covering his ears. Okay, I get that he wouldn't know about the concentration camps - hardly anyone did at that point. But there are other things: Bruno consistently (and adorably!) mispronounces the Fuhrer as "the Fury" (I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE JOHN BOYNE), and doesn't recognize the following key words and phrases: Jews, Fatherland, Heil Hitler. What. The fuck. Okay, so maybe this kid's too young to be in Hitler Youth (his sister isn't though, but for some reason she's not in it either), but come on - he thinks "Heil Hitler" is just a polite way to end a conversation. A nine-year-old boy growing up in a military household in Nazi Germany doesn't know what Heil Hitler means. All of this comes back to my original thesis: John Boyne thinks that children are idiots. Look, Boyne: just because you don't understand anything (history, children, good writing) doesn't mean the rest of us are quite so useless. Go cash your checks for that awful movie adaptation they did of this book and never try to make a statement about anything ever again, please. Read for: Social Justice in Young Adult Literature

  5. 5 out of 5

    Federico DN

    Two innocent boys, and two very different worlds, separated by a not so infallible fence. Berlin 1942, middle of WWII, beginnings of the Holocaust. Bruno is a little boy of barely nine years old, son of a very well standing german family. His life passes relatively uneventful until one day his father is appointed commander in a faraway region. Bruno, his sister Gretel and his parents are compelled to relocate to Out-With, to a much smaller house, forsaking family and friends, and sacrificing Two innocent boys, and two very different worlds, separated by a not so infallible fence. Berlin 1942, middle of WWII, beginnings of the Holocaust. Bruno is a little boy of barely nine years old, son of a very well standing german family. His life passes relatively uneventful until one day his father is appointed commander in a faraway region. Bruno, his sister Gretel and his parents are compelled to relocate to Out-With, to a much smaller house, forsaking family and friends, and sacrificing everything for the important rank promotion. In this new house isolated from the rest of the world, Bruno finds a small window that allows him to see at the distance an incredibly large area with tiny little huts; and an endless number of tiny little figures dressed in a curious striped outfit. Mature, old people... and children. In a huge wire fenced field. Excellent historical fiction novel. A must read alongside the Diary of Anne Frank. Two unique and different perspectives of a same tragedy. A novel about the cruelties of war, and the self invented differences that lead humanity to separate itself. Highly recommendable. Very powerful. Painful as few others. Still remaining, the movie (2008). Until next time, ----------------------------------------------- Dos niños inocente, y dos mundos muy diferentes, separados por un no tan infalible alambrado. Berlín 1942, mediados de la segunda guerra mundial, principios del Holocausto. Bruno es un pequeño nene de escasos nueve años, hijo de una familia alemana de buen pasar. Su vida transcurre sin mayores problemas hasta que un día su padre es designado comandante en una región lejana. Bruno, su hermana Gretel y sus padres se ven obligados a reubicarse en Out-With a una casa más pequeña, abandonando familia y amigos en sacrificio de la importante promoción laboral. En esta nueva casa aislada del mundo, Bruno encuentra una pequeña ventana que permite entrever a la distancia una enorme cantidad de pequeñas chozas; y un sinfin de pequeñas figuras vistiendo un curioso uniforme de rayas. Gente adulta, mayor... y niños. En un enorme campo alambrado. Excelente novela histórica de ficciٕón. Un must para leer del tema, junto al Diario de Ana Frank. Dos perspectivas únicas y diferentes de una misma tragedia. Una novela sobre las crueldades de la guerra, y sobre las diferencias autoinventadas que llegan a separar la humanidad. Muy recomendable. Muy poderosa. Dolosoa como pocas. Queda pendiente ver la película (2008). Hasta la próxima,

  6. 5 out of 5

    F

    Found this in a charity shop and couldn't put it down. So sad. Really loved it. Had no idea it would end how it did.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Wayne

    I seriously suggest you read about what happened to real children in the Holocaust. It won't fill your thoughts for many days or shock you; rather it will fill your LIFE and make you feel sick to the core of your being. Paul Friedlander, himself a survivor, recounts in his recent highly praised book the incident of 90 Jewish infants all under the age of five, orphaned after their parents were murdered in a mass shooting. These children were subjected to indescribable mistreatment for days. Then I seriously suggest you read about what happened to real children in the Holocaust. It won't fill your thoughts for many days or shock you; rather it will fill your LIFE and make you feel sick to the core of your being. Paul Friedlander, himself a survivor, recounts in his recent highly praised book the incident of 90 Jewish infants all under the age of five, orphaned after their parents were murdered in a mass shooting. These children were subjected to indescribable mistreatment for days. Then they were individually hanged. I read this with horror, revulsion and total disbelief. (ref.The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939 - 1945) Or the incident of the young German soldier participating in the evacuation of the patients in the hospital in the Warsaw Ghetto. In the presence of a distraught Jewish crowd of relatives and onlookers, patients were being thrown onto the backs of trucks.The babies were being thrown from the upper windows. The soldier requested and was given permission to catch the falling babies on his bayonet. (ref. The Holocaust - the Jewish Tragedy by Martin Gilbert. ISBN 0 00 637194 9 ) There are so many historical inaccuracies and ludicrous details in this totally implausible story of Boyne's eg. Bruno's ignorance of basics, impossible when he would have been in the Hitler Youth and the Nazi education system.This travesty of the Holocaust is called a 'fable' as if with all its faults, it has special claim on some gravitas, thus giving Boyne justification for this lame expose of racism. I was a member of the Jewish Holocaust Committee here in Sydney for a while and once had to endure a young rabbi lecturing on how the Holocaust was God's punishment on the Jews. So there are fools to be found inside the club as well as outside it. Not a single pure ethnic German child entered a gas chamber as part of the extermination of the Jews...although many died in Germany as part of the pre-war killing of disabled and retarded children.When protests brought this program to a close the same staff were later sent to operate the gas chambers in the camps. And for six million Jewish men, women and children there was no saviour. This bitter pill is too much for some people to swallow. Some, like the young rabbi, takes refuge in blaming the very victims; others find refuge in sentimental fiction such as Boyne's which does no honour to these tragic, lost people. And today there are perverse forces abroad, from renowned historians to Catholic bishops, who would deny that the Holocaust ever took place or to an extraordinary lesser degree.They use every discrepancy of detail as well as lies to justify their denial. So for anyone touching on this subject it is vital and morally incumbent on them to GET THE FACTS RIGHT. There is an overwhelming library of rivetting, emotional, inspiring and tragic Holocaust stories out there - all factual, which you may have already plunged into. Boyne may even have led you there. But finally Boyne just deserves to fade away. P.S.The Oscar winning Foreign Language film of 1997, "Life is Beautiful", was also, not surprisingly, referred to as a 'fable'. It also is an implausible piece of Holocaust sentimentality and a stampede away from having to swallow the bitter pill of reality.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cecily

    A powerful concept, but very poorly written (even allowing for the young adult target audience) - and one of a tiny number of books I can think of that was better in the film version. Plot Bruno is 9 and lives in Berlin in 1943 with his parents and 12 year old sister. They are wealthy and his father is an important soldier who is promoted to be the Commandant at Auschwitz. The trick of the story is that Bruno doesn't realise the horror of what goes on behind the barbed wire, where everyone wears A powerful concept, but very poorly written (even allowing for the young adult target audience) - and one of a tiny number of books I can think of that was better in the film version. Plot Bruno is 9 and lives in Berlin in 1943 with his parents and 12 year old sister. They are wealthy and his father is an important soldier who is promoted to be the Commandant at Auschwitz. The trick of the story is that Bruno doesn't realise the horror of what goes on behind the barbed wire, where everyone wears striped pyjamas, even when he befriends a boy of the same age at a corner of the camp. Although his father can be strict and distant, Bruno is unfailing in his trust in the goodness of his father. In the film, there was at least a gradual, if reluctant, dawning of doubt about his father and all he stood for, but that doesn't happen in the book; the themes of family, friendship and trust are barely touched on. Implausible Ignorance The main problem is that it's told from Bruno's viewpoint, and he is ridiculously naive and ignorant for the son of a senior Nazi. Not knowing, and not wanting to know, the horror of what was happening is entirely understandable (especially when a parent is involved). However, he hasn't heard of "the Fatherland", thinks the Fuhrer is called The Fury (throughout), that Auschwitz is called "Out With" and that "Heil Hitler" means "goodbye"! Yet we're meant to believe that he's the 9 year old son of a senior Nazi! His father had clearly been neglecting his duty to train the next generation of Hitler youth. And anyway, the puns wouldn't work in German. What is even more insulting to readers is that Boyne has responded to this widespread point of criticism by saying that anyone who thinks the boy is too naive is denying the holocaust! (See Kelly H. (Maybedog) comment on Oct 02, 2012 and subsequent ones). Other Flaws * Surely some aspects of Schmuel's plight would have been glaringly obvious (emaciated, shorn hair, possibly lice-ridden, ragged clothes etc)? * There are several stock phrases that are trotted out annoyingly often ("a Hopeless Case", "mouth in the shape of an O", "if he was honest as he always tried to be"). * They talk of miles not kilometres and feet not centimetres, which might not matter were the rest of it more realistic. * Just occasionally, and completely out of character, Bruno talks in an unnaturally adult way ("If you ask me we're all in the same boat. And it's leaking", and a nasty person who "always looked as if he wanted to cut someone out of his will"). It might have worked better if Bruno had been 5 or 6, but I suppose the target audience would have been less willing to read it, so the result is a book that isn't really suitable for any age group. What a waste. Postscript 1 Arising from Kelly Hawkins' review: Boyne says: I think the most frequent criticism of the book in the years since it’s been published is that Bruno is too naive. People say: “He’s verging on the stupid – how could he not know?” For all the criticisms you can make, I always feel that’s the wrong one because he’s grown up in a house with his father wearing a uniform, so I always think why would be question it? There wouldn’t be any motivation for him to suddenly turn around… if your father came home wearing a doctor’s uniform every day, you wouldn’t turn around one day and ask: “Why are you wearing that?” So, Bruno is kind of representing that blindness, in a way. When he goes to the fence, and when he asks that question, he is kind of representing the rest of us who are trying to understand the Holocaust and find some answers to it. Also, when the camps were liberated, the world was surprised through 1945 and 1946. The majority of the Holocaust had taken place over four years and, granted, it was a different information age but I still maintain that in those sorts of movies, the naivety is appropriate. It’s based on real life. From: http://www.indielondon.co.uk/Books-Re... Elsewhere, he is quoted as saying that naivety and complacency were two of the main reasons the Holocaust occurred (http://yareviews.wikispaces.com/The+B...). I find that a very unsatisfying defence. It answers why people don't want to know the horrors (which I fully acknowledge), but does not begin to tackle Bruno's specific ignorance of common words related to the Third Reich. Postscript 2, October 2015 His new book has a similar title and another Nazi theme - with Hitler himself this time: The Boy at the Top of the Mountain. I won't be reading that, but I suspect it will cause similar controversy. Postscript 3 See this excellent review by a survivor of Nazi concentration camps. Boyne (posting as John) responded to some of the criticisms: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Postscript 4, 14 May 2017 In today's Sunday Times, the Prime Minister Theresa May was asked by a 19-year old in her constituency, "Has your thinking ever changed because of a novel?" She replied: "A book that brought something home to me was The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. It is a very, very cleverly written book and a very well-written book, and what it brings home is the absolute horror of the Holocaust." Hmmm.

  9. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    quick reread because, lets face it, im high-key obsessed with john boyne. this is my seventh JB book in less than a month. when i hit my tenth, someone please stage an intervention. lol. i first read this years ago, so i forgot just how innocent the perspective of this story is. which i think makes it even more haunting. we, as humans, are not born with hatred; its something we learn and acquire throughout life. and what a horrible thing that is. to see how carefree a child can be in the most quick reread because, lets face it, im high-key obsessed with john boyne. this is my seventh JB book in less than a month. when i hit my tenth, someone please stage an intervention. lol. i first read this years ago, so i forgot just how innocent the perspective of this story is. which i think makes it even more haunting. we, as humans, are not born with hatred; its something we learn and acquire throughout life. and what a horrible thing that is. to see how carefree a child can be in the most horrific of times is so heartbreaking, because it shows he doesnt have to capacity to see how truly monstrous humanity can be. this story is definitely one to make your mind reflect and your heart ache. ↠ 4.5 stars

  10. 4 out of 5

    Arlene

    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is truly an amazing yet daunting novel that I will never forget. The author John Boyne did a masterful job of depicting the setting in such vivid detail and exposing the events in a manner that I felt a constant emotional pull as the story unfolded and impending doom lingered on the horizon. I was recommended this novel a while back while reading The Book Thief, but after finishing that story and experiencing such deep sadness, I knew I couldn’t jump into another The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is truly an amazing yet daunting novel that I will never forget. The author John Boyne did a masterful job of depicting the setting in such vivid detail and exposing the events in a manner that I felt a constant emotional pull as the story unfolded and impending doom lingered on the horizon. I was recommended this novel a while back while reading The Book Thief, but after finishing that story and experiencing such deep sadness, I knew I couldn’t jump into another novel about the Holocaust for quite some time. I’m glad I waited because as with other works that cover this topic, distance and perspective is key. I feel the author did a grand job of juxtaposing two resounding themes in such a flawless manner; one being of the evil that was the Holocaust; against the second theme that of the innocence of a child. I thought it was brilliant of Boyne to tell the story from the perspective of a nine year old German boy as you experience the events of this abominable and unthinkable time in history as a mere complicit bystander, which ultimately leaves you with a sense of hopelessness. The story unfolds the day Bruno arrives home to discover his family is moving from Berlin to Auschwitz where his father will serve as a Commandant for the concentration camp. Bruno is forced to leave his three best friends for life and discovers that life in Auschwitz is lonely and desolate. All that changes the day he meets a boy his exact age and they begin to forge a friendship over the course of year. However, as much as he finds he and Schmuel have in common, living on opposite sides of the fence proves to have a devastating consequence to their friendship. After completing this book, I did some research on the author and the novel and found that he not only received well deserved praise for this book, but also harsh criticism. As with any piece of literature, when words are committed to page and presented to an audience for their interpretation there will be varying degrees of acceptance and backlash. Couple that with such a sensitive topic and you’re bound to get a reaction. Well, my hats off to John Boyne for tackling a story through a unique perspective and presenting a poignant fable that as a reader I willingly suspended my reality and experienced the events in a way that exposed my emotions and feelings to such a raw level. Well done IMHO.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lola

    When I was very young, I lived in Romania. Because there was past drama in my family, I had three grandmothers and two grandfathers. I was close to two of my grandmothers and one of my grandfathers, because they lived near my mother, brother, stepfather and I. The other couple, I only saw during summers. They lived in the country, where there was no indoor bathroom, no internet, no chocolate and no sense of community (that I felt at the age of six). Every morning, I would wake up from the best of When I was very young, I lived in Romania. Because there was past drama in my family, I had three grandmothers and two grandfathers. I was close to two of my grandmothers and one of my grandfathers, because they lived near my mother, brother, stepfather and I. The other couple, I only saw during summers. They lived in the country, where there was no indoor bathroom, no internet, no chocolate and no sense of community (that I felt at the age of six). Every morning, I would wake up from the best of dreams: that my mom would be coming that day to pick me up. But she never did, because she was far away and we had to stay for three whole months with our grandparents. I felt lonely. I had no one to play with. There was my brother, but just like Bruno’s sister, he was older and we had nothing in common, or so it seemed at that time. One day, I met a little girl. I was surprised I’d never seen her before, because she was the daughter of our neighbours. I was so happy that I immediately invited her to our house. We played for a while, and it was wonderful. For once, I wasn’t thinking about going back home or feeling bad about ignoring the eager little dog we had that always scratched my legs badly. I had a friend. When my grandfather woke up from his nap and saw me playing with this girl, he was so angry I thought he would hurt her. He shooed her away forcefully. I didn’t understand his reaction. Why couldn’t I play with this little girl? We both liked dolls and we weren’t doing anything wrong. I was six, what did I care that she had a darker skin colour, spoke another language entirely and prayed to different gods? It made me so mad, I became a lion. I roared at him, and roared until I had no more voice. Then I cried, because there was nothing else I could have done as a very young child. She was too scared of my grandfather to talk to me again. There was a huge wall between our houses and I could see nothing of what was happening on their side, so I never saw her again either. I understand the loneliness Bruno felt all too well. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    Lincoln's doctor's dog. An archaic reference in the publishing industry to the notion that the way to ensure a book is a bestseller is to write about Lincoln, dogs, or doctors. This prompted one author to title his book which is about publishing in the 1930s Lincoln’s Doctor’s Dog. - From www.metaphordogs.org Maybe Lincoln, doctors and dogs have gone out of fashion; but children, the Holocaust and friendship are still the rage. So the sure-fire formula for creating a bestseller is to write a story Lincoln's doctor's dog. An archaic reference in the publishing industry to the notion that the way to ensure a book is a bestseller is to write about Lincoln, dogs, or doctors. This prompted one author to title his book which is about publishing in the 1930s Lincoln’s Doctor’s Dog. - From www.metaphordogs.org Maybe Lincoln, doctors and dogs have gone out of fashion; but children, the Holocaust and friendship are still the rage. So the sure-fire formula for creating a bestseller is to write a story about children’s friendship during the Holocaust… …even if you don’t know the first thing about it. The Boy in Striped Pyjamas is the heart-warming (read “emotionally manipulative”) story of the doomed friendship between two pre-teen boys, born on the same day (one Jew and one the son of a Nazi) and its inevitable tragic conclusion. Yes, that’s right: get your handkerchiefs here, folks. When I review a book, I look at both the medium and the content. Sometimes, you will find a great story which is badly written: at other times, a story which is only so-so will be made palatable through great prose. Sometimes you have both, and the book becomes really enjoyable. And when the medium and the content are so aptly intertwined to be inseparable, you have a truly great book. Very rarely, you have the misfortune to encounter a really abominable story which is abysmally written into the bargain – this happened to me with this book. The only good thing I can say about it is that it is a very fast read. Now for the analysis. The Background This book is historical fiction (yes, yes, I know that the author has claimed it is a fable situated in the time of the Holocaust: but unfortunately, the Holocaust is history) yet it pays no heed to historical accuracy. Auschwitz, according to my knowledge, had no children – they were sent to gas chambers the moment they arrived. Yet here we have a camp which is literally crawling with kids, almost like a kindergarten. We also have a German child Bruno, who despite being the son of a high-ranking Nazi officer who is very close to Hitler, does not know about Aryans, Jews and the concentration camps. Agreed, he may not be aware of the atrocities going on in those places: but in the real world, he would have been inducted into the fairy tales about Aryan supremacy and the “Jewish problem”. In the book, Bruno remains blissfully ignorant about all until the end. He almost seems mentally challenged. My knowledge about Auschwitz comes from reading history books only, but as far as I know, the camps were guarded by electrified fences and patrolled heavily across the clock. It would not have been easy for somebody just to lift up the barbed wire and crawl in. And how was Schmuel (the Jewish boy) able to constantly evade the guards and come to the same spot at the fence where it was loose at the bottom? (Yeah, it’s a fable, I know: maybe the exigencies of plot also had to do with the historical manipulation?) Characterisation Bruno is easily one of the most annoying protagonists ever created. Naiveté one can understand – it is difficult to understand outright stupidity. The boy simply refuses to see what happens in front of his eyes. Even if he has not been indoctrinated (impossible, as mentioned earlier, in Nazi Germany), he would have picked up much more. Children do. Most of the other characters are pasteboard, including Schmuel, the Jewish kid, put there as props to support the plot and move it along. They are all one-dimensional other than the servant Maria and the Jewish doctor-turned-waiter Pavel. But they serve only to fill the space around Bruno. The Writing I could have forgiven Mr. Boyne for all these historical blunders and failures in characterisation, had he written good prose. But that is the most terrible part of the book – the prose is puerile. First, the repetition. Bruno’s mouth forms an “O” and his hands stretch out at his sides whenever he is surprised, which is quite often: ultimately I started picturing him as a cartoon stick figure I used to draw as a kid. We are told that his sister Gretel is a Hopeless Case every time she is mentioned. The same with Father’s office being Out Of Bounds At All Times And No Exceptions… I could go on and on. As a teen, I used to watch Hollywood war movies in which all Germans spoke English. While I could understand that this gimmick was required to avoid subtitles, sometimes they spoke English with a German accent… maybe to highlight their “German-ness” … this I found ridiculous. I had the same feeling about the puns Boyne used in this novel (“Fury” for Fuhrer and “Out-with” for Auschwitz). I don’t even know whether they will work in German. However, the biggest problem was the child’s POV. It’s just idiotic… an adult talking baby talk and trying to imitate a child. Once in a while, the adult pops out from behind the visage (“we are all in the same boat, and it’s leaking”). It’s just tiresome. The narrative was problematic. Half the time, I was not sure whether the author was writing an adult’s novel with a child’s viewpoint, or a mature novel for children – it fails on both counts. As I said before, the child’s POV does not work, and even with all the toned-down violence it’s not a suitable novel for children. And plot holes… don’t get me talking about them! From the loose fence under which one can crawl through, the story jumps from hole to hole till it drops into the biggest hole of them all, the tragic finale. By that time, Boyne is pushing all the emotional buttons, trying to bring the tears on at full throttle… but the real tragedy here is the death of literature. I understand that this book is a bestseller, and I can understand the reasons. I regret to say that this seems to me like adroit marketing of human tragedy… successful in this case.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    There are plenty of insightful reviews on this piece of sensationalist, badly written, idiotic Disneyfication of the Holocaust on Goodreads. I don't have anything to add to the criticism, except that I would love to see it taken off the curriculum in schools. Here are my replacement suggestions: Upon the Head of the Goat: A Childhood in Hungary 1939-1944 When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit A Day of Pleasure: Stories of a Boy Growing Up in Warsaw And of course for more mature students, I recommend Anne There are plenty of insightful reviews on this piece of sensationalist, badly written, idiotic Disneyfication of the Holocaust on Goodreads. I don't have anything to add to the criticism, except that I would love to see it taken off the curriculum in schools. Here are my replacement suggestions: Upon the Head of the Goat: A Childhood in Hungary 1939-1944 When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit A Day of Pleasure: Stories of a Boy Growing Up in Warsaw And of course for more mature students, I recommend Anne Frank, Elie Wiesel and other authentic witness accounts. The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas is a shameless money-making machine without writing skill or depth, without nuance or finesse, without basic knowledge of history or children's levels of understanding at age 9, and without the slightest ethical guidelines. The target group is unfortunately a generation of parents, teachers and children who have lost touch with complex historical and linguistic knowledge and who need a babyish, fictionalised, shockingly inaccurate version of the Second World War to stay focused - and that is unacceptable in my opinion. Instead of giving in to the lower level of comprehension, we need to put in the extra effort to be able to read on the same level as generations of children before! We can't afford to lose the literacy fight, as it means losing the fight for historical knowledge and distinctions!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    I have actually sat for five full minutes gazing at a blank page and wondering what to say about this book. Words don't usually fail me! It does of course deal with a very painful and shocking part of our history and there are criticisms about some alterations to the true facts. However The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is obviously intended for the younger end of the young adult range and the presentation needs to be fairly simplistic. Boyne himself describes it as a fable, that is a fiction story I have actually sat for five full minutes gazing at a blank page and wondering what to say about this book. Words don't usually fail me! It does of course deal with a very painful and shocking part of our history and there are criticisms about some alterations to the true facts. However The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is obviously intended for the younger end of the young adult range and the presentation needs to be fairly simplistic. Boyne himself describes it as a fable, that is a fiction story with a moral, and I think that is a good description. Writing from the point of view of the very naïve nine year old Bruno is very effective and makes the reader work a little harder to sort out events. I was several pages in before it suddenly dawned on me that the Fury was the Fuhrer but I was a bit quicker to identify Out With. That ending is so very, very sad. And then the final paragraph which reads like something from a fairy tale when it was so totally the opposite: "And that's the end of the story about Bruno and his family. Of course all this happened a long time ago and nothing like that could ever happen again. Not in this day and age."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    I'll give it this much. Few books have caused me to actually shake SHAKE in anger. Wow. I think I need to go boil my eyeballs for a while. What was the author thinking?

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bibliophile

    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a Holocaust “fable” by the Irish writer John Boyne, in which a nine-year-old German boy named Bruno arrives at Auschwitz (or as the novel coyly and annoyingly calls it “Out-With”) when his father is named as the camp’s new commandant. Bruno is incredibly naïve (to the point where I began to wonder whether he might not be mentally retarded, in which case he would most likely have been murdered under the Nazi euthanasia program long before the timeline of the The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a Holocaust “fable” by the Irish writer John Boyne, in which a nine-year-old German boy named Bruno arrives at Auschwitz (or as the novel coyly and annoyingly calls it “Out-With”) when his father is named as the camp’s new commandant. Bruno is incredibly naïve (to the point where I began to wonder whether he might not be mentally retarded, in which case he would most likely have been murdered under the Nazi euthanasia program long before the timeline of the book, thus sparing us this novel!) and thinks that the men in the striped pajamas whom he can see from his upstairs window are all on vacation, until he meets another boy (in the striped pajamas) named Schmuel and befriends him. Apparently, calling this book a “fable” precluded any attempt at historical accuracy or psychological acuity on the author’s part. First, the premise that a nine-year-old boy in Nazi Germany wouldn’t know who the Führer was or what Heil Hitler meant is absolutely ludicrous (as is his ridiculous “mishearing” of Führer as “Fury”, which only works in English and not in German, where the word for "fury" is "Zorn" or "Wut"!) Bruno, at nine, is one year shy of mandatory membership in the Hitler-Jugend, and his sister Gretel, at 12, would have been in the BDM for the previous TWO years and moreover the children of a high-ranking SS officer would absolutely have known who Hitler was and not mixed up his name. So that gave me pause from about page 5 on. Bruno would be marginally more believable as a four- or five-year-old but then John Boyne wouldn’t have been able to give him a Jewish counterpart. Even though there were some – VERY FEW! – little children who managed to survive Auschwitz, the chances that a five-year-old would have done so would be much smaller than even a nine-year-old’s capacity to survive the initial selections and the work that was meant to slowly kill the inmates. Then add in all the other implausibilities such as not Bruno's not knowing what “Jews” were or even the word "Jew", when Bruno would have been assaulted by propaganda against Jewish people virtually since his birth in 1934! Apparently, Bruno also doesn’t know what an air-raid is, even though he’s lived through them. REALLY? Then there is the part where the fence at Auschwitz is not only not electrified, and doesn’t have guards and guarddogs, but even has a hole at the bottom. PLEASE! People didn’t wander in and out of Auschwitz at will, or it would have been a very different place! Boyne’s Nazis read like Colonel Klink in terms of their planning, not like the highly efficient mass-murderers they were. And let’s not get started on how Schmuel apparently has the ability to mysteriously vanish from the constant Appells and the backbreaking labor that’s probably the only reason he’s still alive. And more trivially, Bruno wouldn't be reading Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island - he'd be much more likely to be reading Karl May! All of my criticisms make me think that Boyne did absolutely no research on German history, the German language, Nazis, the Holocaust or Auschwitz, and I'm beyond irritated to find out that this book is being touted as "the new Diary of Anne Frank" and indeed, replacing that work for kids in some schools. This book trivializes the Holocaust and the murder of millions by turning these things into a feeble allegory about the universality of ethnic hatred and positing that all we really need are two boys who can crawl under the fences to each other. Blech! I don’t understand why Boyne chose the Holocaust as its setting, as the novel says nothing meaningful about the Holocaust at all, its maudlin chocolate-box sentimentality (UGH, THE ENDING!) and simplistic narration in fact undercut the idea that Germans were willfully blind to what was being done in their name. Bruno’s not just ignorant; he’s actually stupid. Perhaps the story would have worked from the perspective of, say, Bruno’s mother, and her blindness to what her husband was doing because his work assured them of a comfortable existence. But then again, I’m not sure anything could have saved this pretentious twaddle! Save your money and buy the non-fiction The Diary of Anne Frank or Night by Elie Wiesel, or if you’re set on a fictional tale about the Holocaust, then choose The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, which is a hell of a lot more believable even if it is narrated by Death himself!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Julia Miller

    I am bawling my eyes out. John Boyne, thank you for writing this. I‘ve read many books about the Holocaust (I‘m German so I have been confronted with this topic from very early on) and this is by far my favorite one. I love the bond Schmuel and Bruno share and Bruno‘s innocence. While reading some particular scene I‘ve felt terribly guilty of what my country once has done. I wish I could undo all the horrible things that happened to innocent people ( including all people who were affected by I am bawling my eyes out. John Boyne, thank you for writing this. ❤️ I‘ve read many books about the Holocaust (I‘m German so I have been confronted with this topic from very early on) and this is by far my favorite one. I love the bond Schmuel and Bruno share and Bruno‘s innocence. While reading some particular scene I‘ve felt terribly guilty of what my country once has done. I wish I could undo all the horrible things that happened to innocent people ( including all people who were affected by the Holocaust, not only the Jews).

  18. 5 out of 5

    Felicia

    The Evolution of Reading The Boy in the Striped Pajamas I read this book back in circa 800 AD before online reviews were a thang. I figured since I'm trying to read every Boyne book I should reread this one. Thanks a lot, Self. The Evolution of Reading The Boy in the Striped Pajamas 😄😄😄😃😃😃😃😊😊😊🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🤨🤨🤨🤨🤨😐😐😐😐😐😐😐😑😑😑😑😑😑😑😶😶😶😶😶😶😶😶😶😶😣😣😣😣😣😣😣😥😥😥😥😥😥😓😓😓😓😓😮😮😮😮😮😮😯😯😯😯😯🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁🙁☹️☹️☹️☹️☹️☹️☹️😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😞😞😞😞😞😞😞😞😞😧😧😧😧😧😧😧😦😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😫😩😩😩😩😩😩😩😵😵😵😵😵😵😵😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 😠 I read this book back in circa 800 AD before online reviews were a thang. I figured since I'm trying to read every Boyne book I should reread this one. Thanks a lot, Self.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Al Bità

    There is nothing to learn from this book. There is much to dislike. From certain perspectives, it can even be said to be detestable. First of all, there is the authorial conceit that the work is written from the perspective of a child. The worst example of this come in the use of euphemisms for the Fuhrer ('the Fury') and for Auschwitz ('Out With') which become increasingly irritating as the work progresses. Bruno's 'difficulty' with these words is somehow supposed to charm us, and apparently There is nothing to learn from this book. There is much to dislike. From certain perspectives, it can even be said to be detestable. First of all, there is the authorial conceit that the work is written from the perspective of a child. The worst example of this come in the use of euphemisms for the Fuhrer ('the Fury') and for Auschwitz ('Out With') which become increasingly irritating as the work progresses. Bruno's 'difficulty' with these words is somehow supposed to charm us, and apparently gives the reader 'in the know' a soft, patronising glow which is presumably there to create a certain kind of sympathy for Bruno. It is interesting to note that Bruno apparently had no difficulty with the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas's name of Schmuel (maybe he could have referred to him as the 'mule'?). The same tweeness is in the description of the prison garb as 'striped pyjamas', although that is less irritating. It is really pushing the envelope to assume that Bruno is as naive as depicted. At age 8/9 he would have been in school, and subject to the indoctrination of the Hitler Youth; and he certainly would have been fully aware of not only Hitler, but how to pronounce Fuhrer! Indeed, it is this apparent ignorance of even the most basic things about Hitler's Germany, and it's attitude to Jews, that would have been brainwashed into the minds of German Youth, that is hardest to come to grips with. The author's 'childlike' writing permits him to draw several obscuring veils over the whole question. Even at the end, as Bruno and Schmuel go hand in hand into the 'darkness' and 'disappear' there is really nothing to indicate what happened to them. A child reading this, without any awareness of the horrors of Auschwitz, could be forgiven for believing simply that they 'disappeared' into some mysterious unknown. Thus despite its cutesy language, the book is obviously intended to be read by adults who presumably DO know what happened to them; and that fact alone makes the writing condescending and patronising to say the least. Since the reader is presumed to know these things, they will also know that the situation described in the book could never have happened. There is sufficient doubt whether any 8/9 year-old child would have ever survived past the first few hours at Auschwitz, except as possible 'medical experiment' subjects; it is hard to believe that Schmuel could have consistently been able to meet Bruno for the period of a whole year without being discovered and dealt with; and in any case, would he really have had access to a depot where other 'striped pyjamas of Bruno's size were stored?... And, by the way, isn't it lucky that Schmuel speaks German? Had he been from some other country and spoken a different language, who knows how the story might have gone? These are just some of the many irritations to be found in the book. The author has tried to justify it by arguing that the story is a fable, and that these things don't matter. But if it is a fable, then fables usually teach a moral of some kind. What is the moral in this story? Don't trust in the friendship of Jews? Innocence and ignorance is no protection for awful things to happen to you? The fact that people feel saddened by the ending, or even shocked by it, is even more repellent: the sadness seems to be reserved for poor, innocent, ignorant Bruno, who goes to his death still innocent, and still ignorant. Because of the 'hiding' of the reality of the Auschwitz atrocities, the whole situation regarding Schmuel and the other victims seems to disappear, just as Schmuel and Bruno do. Sad, isn't it? I cannot help but feel deep repulsion towards this 'fable'. That such a deeply offensive approach is somehow apparently easily disregarded because of a twee authorial trick of using sweet, sugary language, and helps make it such a popular, 'safe' book (no nasties crawling about here!) makes me despair at the dulling of any critical facilities or acumen on behalf of the public who love it. The book is inane, badly written, historically inaccurate, lacking in any sense of moral teaching (no one in the book 'learns' anything, or even changes their attitude to anything) and is hardly inspiring. It is banal.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)

    You can read this and all of my reviews at Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine. Since I am the last of the 4.357 gagillion readers out there to read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, I won’t rehash what can be read in the blurb and I’m going to limit my review to the few points I found to be most important. This is a YA novel and the easy, simple way in which it is written really punctuates one of the main themes; the innocence and naiveté of children. At times I felt Bruno was a bit of a spoiled turd. I then felt You can read this and all of my reviews at Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine. Since I am the last of the 4.357 gagillion readers out there to read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, I won’t rehash what can be read in the blurb and I’m going to limit my review to the few points I found to be most important. This is a YA novel and the easy, simple way in which it is written really punctuates one of the main themes; the innocence and naiveté of children. At times I felt Bruno was a bit of a spoiled turd. I then felt guilty for feeling that way. I’m not sure I need to feel guilty though. After all, don’t most nine year olds behave like turds every now and then? It didn’t make me like him any less. I appreciated the way the relationship between his parents was portrayed. Most if it went over Bruno’s head which, once again, illustrated his naiveté and the often false sense of security children feel within their family. There is so much to be said out Bruno’s looking out his window and imagining a life for the people he saw which was so far off from their experience. This would be a great discussion point for a book club. Bruno’s friendship with Shmuel created an anxiety that made turning the pages both compelling and daunting. That ending! Wow, I really didn’t see that coming until the very last minute. I can’t really discuss without spoilers but I can think of several themes folded in. And those last sentences? Scary and timely! It could definitely inspire a very lively book club discussion/debate. Although I found the book to be very sad and very touching, it didn’t make me cry the way I had anticipated. Perhaps because I was expecting it to be sad. I had been warned on multiple occasions to read with a box of tissue at my side. I’m certainly glad I read this book and continue to be a huge fan of Boyne’s work.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Reading_ Tam_ Ishly

    *rating: 4/5 Real easy to start and finish in one sitting. This was a really good read. I couldn't help getting images of the movie adaptation that I have watched a long time ago. I loved everything about this book. I loved the fact that this book made me love some of the characters so much as well as hate a few hateful characters to the core. I thought this book would make me cry buckets and buckets but I didn't. Actually it clutched my whole being. And I just had to keep on reading it till the last *rating: 4/5🌟 Real easy to start and finish in one sitting. This was a really good read. I couldn't help getting images of the movie adaptation that I have watched a long time ago. I loved everything about this book. I loved the fact that this book made me love some of the characters so much as well as hate a few hateful characters to the core. I thought this book would make me cry buckets and buckets but I didn't. Actually it clutched my whole being. And I just had to keep on reading it till the last page as I couldn't stop reading it. Yes, it is this interesting. The characters were so alive and unique on their own. Bruno and Shmuel. Your innocence and friendship will be etched forever in my soul. One of my most favourite classics so far. Planning to read more John Boyne👍 So worth it! Highly recommended👍

  22. 5 out of 5

    Hamad

    This Review Blog Twitter Instagram “What exactly was the difference? He wondered to himself. And who decided which people wore the striped pajamas and which people wore the uniforms?” I picked this because I heard a lot of good things about the author’s writing and I like the book’s name but I did not know what it is about. I did not even read the synopsis! The writing was light hearted and I think having the book revolving about Bruno was a great idea! The innocence of the young did reach This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷 “What exactly was the difference? He wondered to himself. And who decided which people wore the striped pajamas and which people wore the uniforms?” ★ I picked this because I heard a lot of good things about the author’s writing and I like the book’s name but I did not know what it is about. I did not even read the synopsis! ★ The writing was light hearted and I think having the book revolving about Bruno was a great idea! The innocence of the young did reach me and the darkness of the adult world was also delivered! This kind of reminds me of Fredrik Backman’s writing, easy to get into, funny but yet it delivers an emotional punch. ★ The characters were great and although the MC is a 9 year old boy, the story is not for young kids and nor will they understand it. This has a wide set of characters that felt so real to me from Bruno’s family, his dad and the fury to the boy in the striped Pajamas. ★ The plot was great and if you check my GR shelves, I added this to my Tear-Worthy books. I am not a big fan of stories on war, and historical fictions are not for me in general. But this was one of the times that a book could teach me about history more than 12 years in school did. ★ The pacing was crazy fast, this can be literally read in one sitting. The meeting of the boys happened at almost exactly 50% and things got more interesting after that. If I am going to criticize one thing is that this felt too short and I wanted more to live with these characters. I expected a different ending and when I was approaching it, I thought it was going to be rushed but it was not. It just destroyed me in the best possible way and then I went and watched the ending of the movie on Youtube which had brilliant actors and it helped in destroying what remained of me. “Sitting around miserable all day won’t make you any happier.” ★ Summary and Prescriptions: I prescribe this for everyone, please go and read this. I enjoyed it from page 1 to the last page and I even wanted more. I will be checking the author’s other books for sure. you can get the book from here: Book Depository

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shannon (leaninglights)

    This story. I'm glad I finally read it. It's taken me years to pick it up and watching the movie last month gave me the nudge to finally read it. Actually seeing it was worse (in the movie) in terms of heartbreak and devastation. Such a powerful read, but not for the faint of heart.

  24. 4 out of 5

    jv poore

    I added this to my To-Read list when a couple of students requested it, then Boy began to read it. Whenever he put it down, I picked it up because Buno is the perfect narrator to pull any reader right in. It's impossible not to adore him in his blissful ignorance. Part of me wished he could live in his bubble forever, while another part wanted to explain exactly what was going down. No part of me properly anticipated how the story would end.

  25. 4 out of 5

    B the BookAddict

    When his father is promoted to Commandant in the German army and his family is transferred from their comfy home in Berlin to a strange place called Out-With, nine year-old Bruno has no idea of the true nature of his new surroundings. Indeed, he is also unaware of the horrors being perpetrated at the command of the German leader, the Fury, who visits the family one evening. He is unimpressed by the small man with his tiny ineffectual moustache. The dreaded concentration camp as seen through Bruno When his father is promoted to Commandant in the German army and his family is transferred from their comfy home in Berlin to a strange place called Out-With, nine year-old Bruno has no idea of the true nature of his new surroundings. Indeed, he is also unaware of the horrors being perpetrated at the command of the German leader, the Fury, who visits the family one evening. He is unimpressed by the small man with his tiny ineffectual moustache. The dreaded concentration camp as seen through Bruno’s eyes is simply a place of many, many long huts and the people who wear an odd sort of striped pyjamas. Starved for company, Bruno’s explorations lead him to meet a new friend, Shmuel, a boy his own age who, for reasons Bruno cannot understand, looks like a small sad bony caricature of a normal boy. Bruno’s innocence and his friendship with Shmuel will ultimately have catastrophic results on his life and that of his family’s. Written as seen through young Bruno’s eyes, the book perhaps lacks the visual punch that the movie delivers but this is still a worthwhile and sadly heartbreaking novel. John Boyne cleverly approaches the spectre of Auschwitz and the internment of the Jews from a totally new perspective. A solid thought-provoking novel from one of the best Irish writers. 4★ My advice would be to read the book before watching the movie.

  26. 4 out of 5

    J-Lynn Van Pelt

    I finished this book yesterday and I am still having trouble forming an opinion--but here it goes. I have thought about it a lot which is generally a sign of good writing, but in this case, maybe I am thinking about it because the book disturbed me. If I look at the Holocaust historical fiction genre as a whole, I am not sure what this book adds to the group. It does show another point of view, from the child of the Commandant of Auschwitz, but Bruno is so terrifically dense--naive well beyond I finished this book yesterday and I am still having trouble forming an opinion--but here it goes. I have thought about it a lot which is generally a sign of good writing, but in this case, maybe I am thinking about it because the book disturbed me. If I look at the Holocaust historical fiction genre as a whole, I am not sure what this book adds to the group. It does show another point of view, from the child of the Commandant of Auschwitz, but Bruno is so terrifically dense--naive well beyond his nine years--that I am not sure what the point is. Bruno talks to his Jewish friend on the other side of the fence for over a year--he lives in his house which also serves as the headquarters of Auschwitz for over a year--and I am supposed to believe that he doesn't have any clue what is going on in the camp? I know children are narcissistic and self involved, but this book takes that idea to a whole other level. Bruno's tunnel vision is so great that I keep wondering if maybe that it was some sort of message that the author was trying to get across. Maybe that kids can create and live in an alternate reality as long as they need to? Was that the point? If not, what was the point? Surely it wasn't the shocking ending that served little in adding to the greater story of the Holocaust. The ending served no purpose. It didn't make the father see what was wrong, it didn't make the guards question what they were doing, it didn't make the Jews who died in the camp any less tragic, what was the ending's purpose? My guess is just shock value. I do think the book makes an excellent argument for being honest with children in even the worst circumstances. By trying to protect kids and shield kids, adults put them in greater danger! I will say one positive thing, I thought the non-traditional book jacket was a good marketing ploy. By not giving away any of the plot points, it makes the reader intrigued. But, overall, I am flummoxed. The book is an enigma which, possibly, is better left unsolved.

  27. 5 out of 5

    PattyMacDotComma

    5 “Bruno had read enough books about explorers to know that one could never be sure what one was going to find. Most of the time they came across something interesting that was just sitting there, minding its own business, waiting to be discovered (such as America). Other times they discovered something that was probably best left alone (like a dead mouse at the back of a cupboard).” A remarkable, simply told ‘fable’, as the title says – a parable about a boy who realises if he wants answers to 5★ “Bruno had read enough books about explorers to know that one could never be sure what one was going to find. Most of the time they came across something interesting that was just sitting there, minding its own business, waiting to be discovered (such as America). Other times they discovered something that was probably best left alone (like a dead mouse at the back of a cupboard).” A remarkable, simply told ‘fable’, as the title says – a parable about a boy who realises if he wants answers to his questions, he’s going to have to discover them for himself. Mostly, he just wants to know why he has to put up with rules and be lonely and uncomfortable. Bruno is a nine-year old boy living a privileged life in a big house in Berlin with his parents and his annoying twelve-year-old sister, Gretel. When the story opens, he walks into his bedroom and discovers the maid packing up all his things. He tries to think what he’s done wrong and worries that he’s being sent away. No, they’re all moving because of Father’s job promotion. “He wasn’t particularly bothered if Gretel was being sent away because she was a Hopeless Case and caused nothing but trouble for him. But it seemed a little unfair that they all had to go with her.” Gretel can go – she treats him with nothing but disdain, anyway (as only an almost-teenaged girl can do). But he doesn’t want to leave his three best friends. He doesn’t think Father should have to move just because of his job and his shiny new uniform. Even if Father moves, why do the rest of them have to go live far away? After the move, he’s annoyed by the many other men in uniform who come and go from his father’s office in their new ‘home’. Mostly, he dislikes Lieutenant Kotler, a nineteen year old soldier who calls Bruno “little man” and with whom young Gretel tries to flirt outrageously. Kotler starts out handsome and cheerful but later hardens, to the point that Bruno explains one reason “. . . why he didn’t like Lieutenant Kotler. There was the fact that he never smiled and always looked as if he was trying to find somebody to cut out of his will.” What would make a nine-year-old think about wills? I think this is Bruno, using what he knows of life from an adventure story of someone off to seek their fortune (maybe because they've been cut out of a will). He lives in his head. This is written from Bruno’s naïve perspective, informed only by his stories and some eavesdropping. He’s confused by the changed behaviour of their servants. He’s openly frustrated by the restrictiveness of their new home, where people whisper (or shout) behind closed doors, but nobody answers his questions about the big fence outside their house and the people he can see in the distance. His innocence and curiosity are nicely contrasted with his sister’s feigned sophistication. He begins exploring to learn more about where he is and to try to find a friend. This began so quietly and simply, that I wondered if it would hold my interest. (It did.) It can be hard to believe how carefree and trusting a nine-year-old is who’s faced no challenges other than how to sneak an extra bit of dessert. Even quite young readers will be able to read it, although they may miss the subtleties which appear as tiny observations throughout. And they will need some explanation of the names and words that Bruno misunderstands. But they will eventually learn their significance. I can’t imagine many adults who would be unaffected by these children. Read the whole thing. (I haven't seen the film, but I think the book says it all.) Sometimes simple says it best.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Drewthereader20

    Okay..... Guys! This became one of my favorite books of the year. I loved bruno from the beginning! The author did such a great job because every scene I had read was like a movie! Bruno was an amazing book character! I love his sister Gretel. His whole family was amazing. Bruno ask a lot of question in this book. (Which sounds a lot like me). But.... WELL DONE JOHN BOYNE!!!!!! U made me sad!!!!(:

  29. 5 out of 5

    James

    Before the film, the stage play and now the ballet…came the original novel. ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ is a challenging story and at times difficult to read, due to the subject matter and the manner in which it is portrayed. This is a compellingly original and extremely well-conceived and written book. Without wishing to give anything away to anyone who has not yet read ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ – this is the story of Bruno, a 9 year old boy growing up in Germany at the time of WWII Before the film, the stage play and now the ballet…came the original novel. ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ is a challenging story and at times difficult to read, due to the subject matter and the manner in which it is portrayed. This is a compellingly original and extremely well-conceived and written book. Without wishing to give anything away to anyone who has not yet read ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ – this is the story of Bruno, a 9 year old boy growing up in Germany at the time of WWII and is told from his very protected and naïve perspective – heartbreakingly so. Whilst the film adaptation was very good – it is unable to truly tell us the story as seen through a child’s all-too-believing eyes and therefore lacks the power and emotional impact that is at the heart of this fine novel. An excellent and important book that should be read by all.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jan Rice

    (Originally reviewed on March 28, 2017) After the umpteenth time of being confronted with the controversy over this book (primarily through one review and associated comments) I let myself provoked into reading it. I checked out the audio CDs (only four) and the book as well from the local library. My verdict: It's good, except maybe for the end. I liked it. It's a novel. It doesn't have to be realistic. Or graphic. Or abstract. The titular boy in the striped pajamas is a literary device, a (Originally reviewed on March 28, 2017) After the umpteenth time of being confronted with the controversy over this book (primarily through one review and associated comments) I let myself provoked into reading it. I checked out the audio CDs (only four) and the book as well from the local library. My verdict: It's good, except maybe for the end. I liked it. It's a novel. It doesn't have to be realistic. Or graphic. Or abstract. The titular boy in the striped pajamas is a literary device, a conduit for pouring another reality into the protagonist's life, otherwise dominated by such ordinary concerns as sibling rivalry and the demands of parents. That's the challenge, isn't it?--to get our heads above our own daily concerns (especially if we're safe and comfortable). I'm not sure confrontation with death and mayhem, much less abstract ideas, would make as much of an impression on the children and teenagers of today's world. For that we need the art of the novelist. At first I didn't like the ending, not because it was realistic or unrealistic, or happy or unhappy, but because of the jarring switch from the way the way the literary device was working...to something else. But after a few days I was okay with the ending, which I think cuts against culturally programmed expectations of the plot. Now, as to who may write (or, for that matter, say) what, and how, and the efforts to enforce that by ridicule, condemnation, or shaming, that's the attempted exercise of power. Think about the charge of cultural appropriation. Think of the accusation of microaggression. Groups who have traditionally been limited in what they can say (and think) would like to return the favor. But two wrongs don't make a right, as I've oft been told myself. I previously looked into this author's work and found that only this book and none of his others has become such a blockbuster. He's touched or captured something; the book is a phenom, and attacks are publicity. At any rate, I'm for free speech and against censorship. If you don't like it, do it better. Make it about what you want to say, since targeting somebody else isn't going to lift you. Or, if you have to protest, consider going after Holocaust romance instead of this one. (Yes, there is Holocaust romance.) Addendum, April 16, 2017 In my review proper, I framed the controversy over this book both as one of power and one of free speech--huge topics to which I just alluded. Here's a related topic, one concerning teaching ten-year-0lds. The two topics overlap assuming The Boy in the Striped Pajamas gets assigned to young readers. What gets taught in public schools has long been a flashpoint for controversy. Last year a teacher in the Atlanta metropolitan area used an interactive teaching method ("game") to teach about slavery in her fifth-grade classroom. One black student complained of being distressed to her grandmother, who was not satisfied with the response she received from the school and took to social media in posts that went viral. The young teacher was reportedly a stand-out at her job who was supported in this instance by her principal and fellow teachers. The student reportedly told her that what had disturbed (triggered?) her was not the "game," but slavery. The grandmother wasn't satisfied, though. I used to have high expectations of the education writer for The Atlanta Journa-Constitution, but in this case I thought she was caught up in the fray beyond her ability to be objective. Although she started out observing that the teaching method in question had been reasonable, she switched to a disapproving posture after soliciting advice from an outside expert who implied that teaching by means of a "game" meant "fun and games" and that the teacher was making light of slavery. She also implied white privilege was involved. (The teacher is white, and it appears the outside specialist is as well.) I was struck that the whole debate had become, not an exercise in reason, but a set-up (albeit made subtle by the appearance of reason) according to which the teacher's guilt was foreordained by who she is. Also, I can't see how the use of another teaching method (say, didactic, or discussion-based) would have precluded the ensuing kerfuffle, although the fact that the "game" had been used furnished a lot of ammunition. I don't know exactly what went down since I wasn't there. But neither was the outside specialist, and in her letter I could see her twisting words to justify her conclusion, which, sadly, swayed the education writer. In this case, power is more clearly the issue (rather than free speech), with the grandmother challenging societal authority as vested in the role of teacher. We are asking our teachers to teach ten-year-old children topics we have not figured out how to talk about as a society. And we are asking them to do so from a vulnerable position: social issues will be vented on them, and we don't stand behind them. Here's a link to an article containing further links, the first to an article about the situation that appeared in the local paper, and the third to a further article that includes a comment by me, writing as "JaninAtlanta," although what I've written here today represents my latest thinking: https://heatst.com/culture-wars/teach... Here's one further link, to the article containing the whole letter from the outside expert: http://getschooled.blog.myajc.com/201... Of course, my thoughts in the review and in this addendum are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to who should be allowed to write or say what and to whom. Addendum, July 24, 2018 Here is a more nuanced discussion than I was able to give. It's not just whether the book was reality- or fantasy-based but whether its author is upfront about the difference. Ruth Franklin in the July 23, 2018, issue of The New Yorker, on the work of Jane Yolen (and others): "How Should Children's Books Deal with the Holocaust?" https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20...

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