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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Paperback – October 23, 2007
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
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"Certain to be one of the publishing sensations of 2006." -The Observer (U.K.)
"A memorable and moving story." -The Oxford Times (U.K.)
"A small wonder of a book." -The Guardian (U.K.)
"A book so simple, so seemingly effortless, that it's almost perfect." -The Irish Independent
"An extraordinary book." -The Irish Examiner
About the Author
John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971 and studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and the University of East Anglia, Norwich. His novels have been published in over forty languages, and his books for young readers include Noah Barleywater Runs Away and The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas won two Irish Book Awards, topped the New York Times bestseller list, and was adapted into a Miramax feature film. He lives in Dublin. To learn more, visit JohnBoyne.com.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Bruno is Not Allowed to approach the camp, or the fence. But, since he plans on becoming an explorer when he grows up, he decides to Go Exploring (wearing an old overcoat and boots, such as an explorer might wear). And on the other side of the fence he sees a speck. A dot. At tiny thing that, as he gets closer, reveals itself to be a boy. Just another boy, perhaps a boy for Bruno to play with.
This book is startling, horrifying, and yet the story is told in a charming way. Bruno and his friendship with Shmuel through the fence is just the story of two boys, but also a story of a Jewish Concentration Camp, told through the unaware eyes of the son of the man in charge of the camp. Bruno's naivete brings the humanity into the story, and makes it unique. Just a wonderful, scary, suspenseful and at the same time heartrending—story, leading up to a beautifully written climax.
This story is written from the perspective of a nine year old boy and Boyne did that really well. The voice was very innocent and convincing. The way he explained the surroundings and happenings throughout the book was very well written and made it easy to mentally paint a picture of it all.
I really enjoyed Bruno as a character and the innocence of his voice. The way he sees what’s going on around him without understanding that there’s actually a war going on.
I also really enjoyed seeing the other family members through Bruno’s eyes, and especially his frustration with the older sister.
There are some other characters that really show the faces of both side of the war, but I wont say anything more about them, so that I don’t spoil the plot.
I flew through this book, not because the pace was so fast but because the story was very captivating and interesting.
Even thought there were no very surprising plot twists it did had a nice build up, was very emotional and had a satisfiable ending.
I’m a sucker for historical fiction (and non-fiction), and especially the ones that revolve around World War II. I remember reading The Diary of Anne Frank as a little girl and it was one of those stories that grabbed such a strong hold on me that I’m still under its grip. It sparked my interest for reading and for knowing more about the war.
I think this book could definitely inspire other young readers to do the same.
A profound and heartbreaking view on the Second World War from innocent and naive eyes.
Although the murder weaves its way throughout parts of the book, it is not by any means the central focus. Instead, plot and character dominate. This novel is somewhat different from other Boyne books, however. The others usually involve subtle development of character over the course of the entire book. In this case, however, the characters are who they are and virtually all are caricatures of personality types. What you see is what you get. The primary example of this is Antoinette Drake, the quintessential upper class British matron of the pre World War I period. Her statements and actions are so outrageous, clueless, and snooty that the reader may wonder if anyone in the world would ever act like that. Well, maybe they wouldn't, but Boyne has you believe that anything is possible, and Antoinette's persona, while far fetched, nevertheless mirrors a plausible type.
Since the murderer is known from the beginning (or is s/he?) what's the point of reading? Well, Boyne does a 180 from Agatha, whose novels always center on determining who did the evil deed, while "Crippen" dives into related and unrelated subtle developments, so the reader can enjoy the book at multiple levels. Even the historical details are fascinating. For example, if you've been on a cruise, you can compare amenities and activities of, say, today's Holland America Eurodam to 1910's Montrose.
My only complaint while reading the book was that Crippen seemed to be elusive to me in terms of his character, much less vividly drawn than all the other secondary characters. That is by design, I discovered, and by the end you understand why and are pleased with the results.
Always reliable, I will certainly pick up another of his books. Maybe the Thief of Time, who's principal character makes a bit more than a cameo appearance in this story.