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Showing 1-10 of 1,106 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,673 reviews
on September 2, 2015
The Writing:

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.

The Characters:

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.

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.

Additional Thoughts:

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.
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on April 27, 2017
Bruno is 9 years old. His father has a cool job, he's in charge of a lot of stuff. He runs a big place, with a huge wire fence, and a lot of people—men and boys—on the other side. They are skinny, they work hard, they are all very dirty, they are all wearing what looks like striped pajamas. There are soldiers in there, who poke at and laugh at the men and boys. Bruno has overheard his parents talking, and knows that his father's boss, “The Fury”, is the one who arranged for them to move to the new home. Bruno's older sister tells him that the place is called Out With.

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.
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on October 14, 2016
I felt this book moved quickly and was a very compelling read. I've read many books on the Holocaust and though difficult material, I believe it is important to remember this period in history so that it won't be repeated. I think it was an interesting perspective told through the eyes of a young child who had been sheltered from much of the truth of the times. The twist at the end left a raw, sick feeling inside me, which I believe was exactly how it should have ended.

I did feel there were a few details that seemed unbelievable. I wouldn't have thought that the Jewish boy would have been able to leave the camp to spend so much time with Bruno and this kept popping into the back of my mind as I read. I think the parents would have noticed his long absences or one of the servants would have. At times, I wondered at Bruno's naivety and wished his character could have grown in his sympathy and understanding of his friend a little more as the story progressed, although he did have some breakthroughs at times. I also thought how much the Jews were hated, by both children who had been taught to hate them and adults, yet Bruno didn't seem to understand any of this.

Overall, I did think this story was thought-provoking and worth the read. It surely could lead to some worthwhile discussions with children about why it's so important not to try to silence those with different opinions and belief systems than our own. This book is a good catalyst for this.
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on April 14, 2015
My friend who teaches High School English recommended this book to me several years ago. She was going to have her 10-12 graders read it. While homeschooling my boys this year WWII was in our lesson plans so I gave it as an option for my boys.
My 11 year old (VERY reluctant reader) and I read this separately at the same time. I knew there would be situations that would require explanation. He says "everyone should read this book because it's a good but sad story. The boys were good friends in a bad environment. If they can be good friends then anyone can." The last few chapters we read aloud together because he didn't quite understand what was happening. This was fine because it allowed me to explain and have a more in depth discussion about the world during that time period.
If you are looking for a book that has a happier ending, look at Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. We read that first. My 11 year old wanted to know more, my 10 year old son(natural reader) stopped there. It depends what your child can handle at this age.
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on July 1, 2016
Our 11 year old needed some help with this, understanding some of the concepts. After finishing the book, we all watched the movie together. Overall, the kids found it to be sad, but as an adult, I appreciate the books out there like this one that are telling them important things about history.
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on March 21, 2015
This story is of the innocent love friends have for each other when they are young. They are too young to understand true evil, such as experienced during the Holocaust. Their young hearts do not understand the fence separates them in the concentration camp or how anyone could be filled with such hate. A young boy seeking to help his friend find his father, walks into his own death not understanding what was happening to him. What evil things mankind can do when they are taught to hate and are led by leader crazed by hatred like Hitler. This book is a grim reminder that if we do not teach the young to remember the horrific crimes of our past, they may be led to repeat them in the future. This is a book I will be using in my classroom when I teach about the Holocaust. Give to a young person in your life to begin a discussion about this subject.
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VINE VOICEon May 27, 2012
It is quite possible that more has been written about The Holocaust than any other historical event in history. Not just in regard to hard research, but many of the world's finest novelists have fictionalized the story, film makers have touched upon the subject, playwrights, composers, painters and poets. If there has been a way to express the shock- and shock is an understatement in this case- it has been attempted.
John Boyne, a gifted and now internationally known Irish author, wrote the book "The Boy In The Stripped Pajamas" in about two weeks time. As he said, in order to maintain "the voice," once he began he was afraid to stop. The same is true when reading it- we are compelled to continue and it is evident from early in the book that Boyne has disguised the terminal words so that it can apply to any and all of the other holocausts' that occurred prior to and after this one. In fact, only once does Boyne choose to use a "telling" word; on page 54 one of the officers says, "Heil Hitler" but then we are told that the boy assumed that this was like saying, "Well, goodbye for now and have a pleasant afternoon."
The boy, his name Bruno; his age nine, misunderstands the key words and Auschwitz is written as "Out-With" every single time. The negative pun- the only way I could describe this- suggests the old work rhythm, "In with the good; out with the bad." Then the boy mishears the Furher as The Fury" and this negative pun needs no description at all. We have a moment when Bruno meets "The Fury" as well as "her" when they come for dinner and Bruno is appalled at how small The Fury is, but how kind the beautiful blonde woman with him is (her name is simply Eva).
The innocence and ignorance of this young boy is as critical to the brilliance of this work as the story of the Titanic. (I speak not just of Cameron's film, but Maury Yeston's musical, "a Night to Remember" and the three other films made between 1938 and 1984) Boyne uses the literary tool that his audience not only knows so much more than Bruno, but that we are anticipating the sadness that ends the novel. So we are prepared to cry but when the end does come, Boyne shocks us in such a way that instead of tears, our mouths are opened in the O shape that he uses to describe several characters through the book.
This book is by no means a "Sophie's Choice" though the horror is just as shocking, but few writers in history have been able to achieve what William Styron did. Still Styron's novel and Boyne's novel use a similar foundation but their books are about very different things. Where the ending is horrifyingly shocking and, like Styron's "Sophie's Choice," completely unexpected (who in fact could have imagined an ending such as this one) the poignancy of "The Boy In Striped Pajamas" makes it impossible for this book- and the fame it will bring Mr. Boyne, you heard it here first- to become satirized in any way. Because the innocence and ignorance, as a result of the way his parents have shielded Bruno, is a metaphor for the way in which the population who was aware of the death camps were inactive; complacent and how the same continues to occur day after day from the beginning of recorded time to the continued genocide in Darfur- the world's largest death camp- to which the UN has placed sanctions against while The full force of the American military tore apart Iraq in search of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
The current political winds in the United States suggest that Gay Americans and Female Americans are just as vulnerable. All of these circumstances suggest that you could very well be next. John Boyne manages to suggest all of this is his two hundred page fable using a modicum of brilliantly chosen words.
John Boyle has sub-titled his book, A Fable" and it is. His final words are like a double edged sword:
"And that's the end of the story of Bruno and his family. Of course all of this
happened a long time ago and nothing like that could ever happen again.
Not in this day and age."

The irony of this ending reminds us that this is a fable, but more so, it makes us stop and think of the responsibility that we all owe to anyone who has been maltreated, either in the form of Bruno, Anne Frank, Sophie Zawotoski or Carol Stewart, Amy Fitzpatrick, Dave Pelzer and the millions of others.
This novel is worthy of a prize. It's not a children's book, though my children should read it. It's not an adult book, but all adults should read it. This would rule out the Newbury or Caldecott. In regard to its literary merit, the American version needs some editorial work (only once did the editors miss a pajamas and leave pyjamas) but the writing is pristine and brilliant and worthy of The Pulitzer. As far as The Nobel Prize for Literature, it is worthy there too. But mostly it's is worthy of you. And, like "Sophie's Choice" I am told that a motion picture is in the making. Depending on whose hands it falls into this could be a miracle. The innocent eyes through which Bruno's story unfolds are critical and these innocent eyes are just as important as Sophie's guilty and lying soul. If Benton could do it, perhaps "The Boy In The Stripped Pajamas" will as well.
But there are a lot of "Maybes" involved with the hopes of John Boyne, this critic and every other artist who has attempted to move us. As far as I can see, Boyne has done his part. This book, like Elie Weisel's "Night" needs to be published in as many languages as possible and marketed toward as many customers as possible. No one should keep this book from the hands of a nine year old nor should anyone consider it a book too young for adults.
In short, this is a remarkable book in every way and perhaps, after more times has passed for thinking and another read through or so, l may well see that there is no other possible way for this story to have ended.
Not in this day and age.
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on June 3, 2012
This was a book I hadn't known much about but when a group of students suggested it to me, I decided to read it. Afterwards, I was embarrassed at having let this book pass me by. This is one of the best novels I've read in awhile.

Of course, calling it a novel may be a bit of stretch. I would agree with Mr. Boyne's calling it a fable. Not that that diminishes it in any way. Whatever you want to label it, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is an incredibly powerful story and Mr. Boyne deserves to be congratulated on producing it.

Why call it a fable? A beautifully unaware protagonist and a clearly delivered moral. Bruno, the 9-year-old through whose eyes we see most of the story, maintains a heart-breaking innocence throughout the tale to the bitter end, even as the reader becomes more and more aware of the horrible situation that surrounds him. His transformation of misunderstood words--"Out-With" and "Fury" being the main examples--highlights the reader's awareness as it reflects both Bruno's ignorance of the superficial as well as his understanding of the deeper nature of his experience. He knows good and bad, whatever its name is.

There is also fable-making in the amazing coincidence of Shmuel. His sharing the exact birthday as Bruno. Their striking resemblance. Their mutual innocence even as Shmuel lives in the camp. Normally this would push belief but, in this case, makes Shmuel a reflection of Bruno and brings the moral of the fable closer to home.

Though Bruno remains the only fully realized character in the story, through his filter the reader experiences scene after powerful scene with the other characters as ciphers on a stage, ciphers that can represent larger ideas as their reality remains vague. The overpowering father figure, the self-involved mother, the "Hopeless case" sister, the mean soldier, the camp prisoner who acts as butler, the fuehrer and his companion, each has a scene or two with Bruno whose observations open our eyes.

The end of the story is, expectedly, tragic. Well-foreshadowed, it is still almost unexpected in the "banality" of its horror. It is hard not to shed tears over, especially for a parent of young children, but, unlike some stories, they are tears the author has earned. I have already come back and read parts of this book over and over again. Anyone who has yet to read it would be well advised to do so.
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on February 27, 2015
Although this is a popular book with middle school children, I don't think it really challenges them as much as it could. To me, the characters aren't developed enough for the reader to really care about them. It's hard to believe that some of the characters are so clueless about what is happening in the camps, or even who the people are! The German boy confuses the pronunciation of Auschwitz as "out with," which wouldn't work if he is really speaking German. Any book that shines a light on the holocaust is worthwhile, but was surprised that I didn't enjoy this one as much as I had hoped.
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on June 29, 2016
Mr. Boyne has told a very important story in a beautifully simple way that young adult readers through senior citizens like me can enjoy. Depending on your knowledge of this time period, the chapters unfold in a way that keeps you from putting it down. May this novel of true history never be forgotten! A friend suggested the movie, but I'm glad to have read the book first.
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