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“Powerful and unsettling. . . . As memorable an introduction to the subject as The Diary of Anne Frank.” —USA Today
 
Berlin, 1942: When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people in the distance.
 
But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different from his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.


From the Hardcover edition.
Published: Random House Kids an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on
ISBN: 9780307494238
List price: $9.99
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The boy in the striped pajamas is a book wrote during the time that World War 2 was taking place. When dad gets a new job, the family is forced to move from Berlin to Poland. When they get to Poland the kids realize they have no friends and no one to play with. Bruno notices this fence, with tons of people and kids of all ages behind it and decides he need to explore. While out exploring he meets a young jewish boy, Shmuel, who lives on the other side of the fence. Dad is the head commandent at Auschwitz. I liked how Bruno doesn't care how long the walk is all the way down the fence to where him and Shmuel meet everyday, as long as he gets to talk and hang out with his bestfriend. Bruno doesn't really know what's going on, or way all the people have to wear stiped pajamas all day, everyday, or why they have to stay on that side of the fence, and why he can't go over there, and why they cant play together. Whenever he ask dad about these things dad just aviods the question and never gives him a direct answer. Bruno is really curiousand wants to know everything about everything. Gretel on the other hand pretty much knows whats going on and accepts it, so that she can feel accepted by dad. Mom doesn't like what's going on and want to move back to Berlin. I would recommend this book for all ages.more
It was a good book and now i can't wait to see the moviemore
Holocaust dramas are always gut-wrenchingly sad and John Boyne's The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas is no exception, but what makes the sadness of this novel sting long after the final page is turned is the fact that, while it still displays some of the darkest days in human history, it is shown through the wide, blue eyes of an innocent eight-year-old German boy, named Bruno. The novel follows Bruno and his family as they move from a secure and wealthy life in Berlin to the forlorn and desolate Polish countryside where his SS Officer father has been promoted to commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp. Bruno, who wants to be an explorer, is immediately curious when he sees a 'farm' out of his bedroom window. However, he is forbidden from investigating further by his mother, who is well aware of who the 'strange' children are that Bruno wishes to play with. Of course, being a precocious eight-year-old, Bruno ignores her and ventures through the woods where he comes across Schmuel, an eight-year-old Jewish boy, with whom he forms an intense friendship that is not hindered by racial prejudices and hatred, despite many attempts by Bruno's anti-Semitic tutor to convince him otherwise. The dramatic climax to this heart wrenching tale is nothing short of amazing and will leave audiences both astounded and devastated. Bruno, being eight, has a very innocent and naive perception of the world; however, throughout the novel after many short, but poignant exchanges with Schmuel and Paval, Bruno begins to understand more about the world around him and his innocent view begins to change. Bruno is lied to by many people in his life and in a way Schmuel is one of them. He has already faced some of life's harshest realities, and in some ways protects Bruno from having to confront these issues. Although, there are still many occasions where Bruno portrays his innocence and does not seem to comprehend the severity of Schmuel’s situation. As the novel is centred around Bruno’s subjective view of the world there are many events which take place that he may not observe or comprehend. In some cases this limits what can be said and what must be implied to the audience. Sometimes Bruno’s information can be wrong; it is up to the audience to work this out. This invites the audience to feel sympathy for Bruno, Schmuel, Paval and Bruno’s mother who are all, along with millions of others, victims of one of the darkest and most brutal times in human history. Bruno’s world is filled with secrets and lies; he is lied to by his parents who are lying to each other and, most of all, to themselves. Bruno’s father is forced to keep secret the real purpose of the camp and Bruno’s mother seems to be unaware, or unwilling to admit to herself, what is actually happening at the camp.The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas is a masterpiece; it is gripping, heartbreaking and teaches audiences that sometimes the things that divide us can also unite us. Do yourself a favour once you finish reading this: eat some chocolate, grab some tissues and watch the movie. It is one of the best movie adaptations I have seen in a long time with a cast that brings this marvellous, haunting novel to life.more
Oh, my goodness. Thia book had me sobbing by the end. It's a good thing I listened to it instead of "reading" it, as otherwise I don't think I'd have been able to continue reading. It just broke my heart to see a small child try to make sense of the insanity that was Hitler's "solution". Highly recommend--though I'm afraid to see the movie. They never seem to do the book justice.more
Finished it last night. Could not stop reading the last 100 pages. It is a book that once you've read it keeps you thinking about it.

The first thing I did this morning was visiting amazon to see what others were saying about the book.
Very interesting. People that hated it, they forget it is a fable, not written as non fiction.
Well I thought it was great.
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Still pretty amazed that John Boyne was able to write a young adult story with such wonder about the Holocaust, I will never know. I found myself easily wrapped up in Bruno's life, and sighing with his innocence at the world around him.

Now, on the down side, if you read this as a true reflection of history, you will be sorely disappointed. Instead, read it more as a novel with elements of the Holocaust, and you're more apt to enjoy it. There are key points that drove me nuts, such as Bruno's terminology of "Out With" and "The Fury" (even though he was corrected multiple times yet never quite got it). BUT...if you suspend disbelief as many do when reading a novel, and look at him as insanely innocent and highly protected, you can sort of look past it. Okay, not completely, but for some reason I like the kid.

The author nailed it with the fact that children are so easily molded in their beliefs. I work with students daily, 9 year olds and 12 year olds... While elements of his sister rang true to those older sisters who are almost teenagers, he comes across as the clueless one. I agree with some of the other reviewers that it is strange that he doesn't understand much of what's going on around him AT ALL. Yes, you'd think he'd get it after his dad is so high up in the regime, or that soldiers are visiting, or that Hitler himself is having dinner with them, but nope. Not a clue.

Definitely an interesting read for discussion with kids. I'd be curious to see what middle schoolers thought of this book in it's relation to other books regarding the same time period.more
I give this book 3 stars as it was a good "story". And it should be read as such. Not as an introduction to the topic of the Holocaust as it says on the back of the book. It wasn't an historically accurate portrayal of one of the most evil periods in history. Frankly, I didn't find it shocking enough. Sad, of course. But that time in history was SO MUCH more than that. I don't think this should be a student's introduction to the Holocaust. Start with Anne Frank of course. Or The Book Thief.

I get that the author was trying to contrast the innocence of the main character, Bruno, son of a Nazi general, with the brutality of what was going on around him, but Bruno wasn't innocent in a sweet way, more of in a I want to slap that kid upside the head and tell him to get a clue way. The boy in the striped pajamas was a much more endearing character and I wish the author had done more to develop his character.more
Firstly, I want to start out by saying I get what Boyne is trying to do: talk about complicity and complacency and ignorance and how it still happens today. I agree it's an important message and I like that he attempted it, but I don't think he was as effective as he thinks he has been.

I was disappointed in this book. I felt that what made it unique was the confusion about the time and place. Once that was clear, the continued mispronunciations felt contrived to me.

I do think the text is well structured and I do think it has a good message about genocide, bigotry, and repeating historical horrors over and over again. The world was clear for the most part. I did have some problems with the book, and I am more than a little irritated with the author interview at the end (I listened to the audio version of this book.)

The boy seemed extremely dense to me. Not just naive, but really, very stupid. I would have found it much more believable if we were talking about a 6 year old. Boyne makes a good point that the atrocities were not well known when they were happening and it took a long time for people to even believe something like that could happen. (To this day many people still don't believe it!) But this story takes place in 1943 when even a child living in Berlin would have to be completely blind to not notice that a lot of people were moving away. I can see that he might be sheltered and not know what was happening to them, but to be oblivious to the fact that something was happening when many of his classmates and neighbors would have disappeared, just doesn't ring true to me. In addition, as a wealthy child, he would be well aware of class: servants aren't the same as "regular" people and yet he expects Schmuel would be welcome in his house despite being dirty and obviously very poor at this point?

Plus, I find it hard to believe that someone as high up in the Nazi party as his father wouldn't mention Jews and brainwash his children against them. Bruno has never even heard the word before. That makes no sense to me. The fact that he can't pronounce Fuhrer or Auschwitz is a little odd, too, given his age. (Never mind that the plays on words are based on someone who is speaking English--"Out With" which would not have the same meaning in German.)

But putting that aside, assuming he really is pretty oblivious and goes to a surprisingly segregated school, once he starts talking to Schmuel he should have had an awakening. They talk every single day for a year and yet he doesn't get that Schmuel's life is horrible. What the hell did they talk about? Bruno knows enough to be scared of the Nazi soldier and deny knowing Schmuel but he then still talks about Schmuel coming to visit some day. By 10 years old he should know a prison outfit when he sees one, just from books and movies (which as a rich person he should have seen at points).

My 16 year old who is in special ed and who is very ignorant listened to the last disk with me and, without knowing what the story was about or what was going on ahead of time, within a short time said, "Is this about concentration camps?" and kept saying, "what a dumb-ass" when he continued to not read perfectly obvious clues.

What irritated me the most, though, was that in his interview, Boyne said that anyone who criticizes his work because they think Bruno is too naive is being offensive to the memory of the Holocaust and the survivors. Hunh? I can't find fault with particulars of his book without denying the Holocaust? That is offensive. He's not perfect. He didn't win the nobel prize for literature for this book. That's just so obnoxious. It is also not, despite his claims, the first book written from the perspective of a child of a Nazi. I can't remember the name of it but there was a book I read as a teen that did exactly that.

Anyway, I do think this is an okay book. It was fairly enjoyable to read if you ignore the plot holes (a chain link fence with a hole big enough for a child to get through is not noticed by either the guards or adult survivors?) and the material is different from the standard. I just think it could have been much, much better.
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For a long time I thought I was missing something after I read this book, given the amount hype surrounding it when it was first published - and many friends and family were raving about it as well. So it's nice to know that on this site there are plenty people that share the same thoughts that I do when it comes to this novel.

This book, in one word, is trash.

Historical inaccuracies and idiotic plot aside, lets start with the central character, Bruno. A young eight year old boy who is written as if he is four years old, and seems to have no idea about anything that's going on around him. Oh yeah, his father is a very high ranking Nazi officer, who fortunately for the reader, neglected to fill his young son with Third Reich ideals or anything else for that matter.

Heck, poor Bruno doesn't even know who The Fuhrer is.

And I'll leave you with that.

Reading this the only thing I could see is Boyne sweating over a keyboard dreaming of a sold screenplay and glittering awards.

Whitewashed, sentimental and manipulative crap.
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Audiobook read by Michael Maloney) - This is one book that is going to stay with me for quite awhile. It's not very long, but it packs an emotional wallop. At the center of the story is Bruno, a nine year old boy adjusting to his family relocating for his father's new job. Many critics and blurbs for this book think that to mention anything more specific spoils what is supposed to be a slow reveal of where Bruno is living, but honestly, if you don't guess the location and what his father's job is when the boy first mispronounces the name, you're just not paying attention. Michael Maloney's reading of the story put me off at first, sounding as if this were a child's story rather than a story from a child's point of view, but once the implications of what Bruno and his family are a part of, that voice is all that keeps you hoping for a happy ending.more
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is an amazing book. It's about the Holocaust, but really, it isn't. It's about two lonely little boys who form an innocent friendship in the midst of so much terror.

I love this book because of the way the story is told. Everything is so innocent and naive. The friendship and the actions of the characters is really just inspiring.

I think sometimes we need the naïveté and innocence of a child’s voice to bring us back to what is truly important. I have a feeling that I’ll end up rereading this book on multiple occasions, even if it did turn me into a wreck for a little bit.
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I didn't like this book. Right from the beginning, from the title, you know exactly where it's going and I guess you're meant to be quietly horrified at what might happen at the end, but it just didn't work for me.

There was something sickly sweet about the child protagonist and as I read on, I found myself getting more and more annoyed about being directed to fear what horrible fate was probably going to befall this poor little German boy who was a little thick for his age.

I dunno, I finished this and rather than feel angry at Nazi douchery, I felt more annoyed at this book for being so damn sickly sweet and emotionally manipulative. Nope, no like.more
Another case of some unscrupulous bastard making money with overwrought dramatizations of real tragedies. The Holocaust was a crime beyond imagining, and tying in adorable children and cliched tales of ~Friendship~ would only make the book more tempting to those easily swayed by the spell of sentimentality.

Urgh.more
This book is a difficult one to review.

On the one hand, I believe that the book is charmingly portrayed through a child's eyes, that the concept of the book and point of view is an interesting one, that the character of Bruno is (usually) an endearing one, and that the ending is powerful.

On the other hand, this book is rather flawed. It seems to me that throughout the book, the author delicately tiptoes around the real issues of the Holocaust, preferring, instead, to coat everything in euphemism. Perhaps the reason he does this is because all of the meaning in the book is distilled through Bruno's perceptions of things. And let's face it everyone- Bruno is not a very intelligent 9 year old.

Does Bruno develop in the course of the novel? He makes a new friend or whatever, but I must say that the ultimate answer is a resounding "no." Does he question his reality in a real way? No, no he does not. He remains mostly innocent and naive until the very end, totally clueless about the reality of things. His experience doesn't change him in any real way that I can glean, and because of that, the book falls flat for me.

Perhaps the author intends the book to be an allegory of some sort, a "fable" as the back of the book advertises. This makes sense and perhaps on some level it succeeds as such. Ultimately, though, it doesn't work for me. I have been traumatized by too much Holocaust history and literature to be charmed by Bruno's naivete. In many ways, I think that is the only response any author of Holocaust literature can (and should?) attempt to garner from his/her audience- horror, trauma, and intense sadness and pain.

I can understand the author skirting around the more graphic descriptions of the Holocaust in an attempt to teach children about it and not scare them, and yet, I feel there is a way to do this without whitewashing it, as the book seems to do through Bruno's simplistic perceptions and (kinda dumb) interpretations. I think The Book Thief is a good example of a book which doesn't get too graphic, yet touches upon issues of the Holocaust in a heart-wrenching, mind-bending way.

I wouldn't say I wouldn't recommend the book per se, but it is not a book I would use to introduce my children to the history of the Holocaust.

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This was one of the few books about the Holocaust that I didn't read for the literature course that I am in this semester. I had heard about this book some time ago and always meant to get around to reading it, but I finally felt that I had a real excuse to read it when it came to being in this course. It would add more depth to the course readings and provide possibly another perspective. When we are learning about this period and the atrocities that were done to the Jewish people it is good to delve deep into all the books that you can fiction, non-fiction, memories, and etc because you get a vast amount of different perspectives on what happened and why.

This book showcased beautifully how a small child probably would have no clue what was truly going on in Germany at the time of the Holocaust. You are swept into Bruno, the main character. He mispronounces names right and left, but when you realize what they are you feel saddened for him and the world that he lives in. He is a naive young boy that simply doesn't recognize what is truly going on around him. When he meets the young boy Schmaul his entire world changes. This book is a pure gem that should be read by students learning about the Holocaust at a young age because it will help open their eyes to the world. It is a good opening to these events and would help ease someone into the horribleness that is this period.

Boyne created the necessary world for his story, but some facts seem off in the book, specifically the fact that the fence is not electrically. This doesn't distract from the point of the story though, which is to show how a friendship can develop between two children without one realizing what is truly going on. The book does what it should and that is why I am comfortable stating that everyone should try out this book and discover the ending that takes you to a place that you never thought you would go.more
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.more
Mini Book Review: I truly struggle writing reviews about books that are sheer perfection like this one. I am afraid I don`t have the appropriate words to convey that this book I believe is one that every person should read. Every time I mentioned to people that I was going to read this they gave me the warning that it doesn`t end well but that I had to read it. They were right - it doesn`t end well but don`t let that stop you. Such a wonderful story with beautiful moments of humour intertwined with brutal violence written in such a sensitive way. I read a chapter of this to my son every night before bedtime and it led to some hard conversations but ones that I felt were important. Bruno, although extremely naive, is a beautiful, honest and realistic character. The relationship and conversations between Bruno and Shmuel are heartbreaking yet honest. Also Boyne should be commended for writing such a poignant story that will rip your heart in two but at the same time give you hope. I recommend this as a book a parent, teacher, or librarian should read aloud to a child and discuss. (BTW - before the last two chapters of the book have a stiff drink so you don`t bawl your eyes out while reading to your child -- trust me!) This was a wonderful bonding experience for me and Jake -- but shhh don`t tell Jake that.5 Dewey`s I purchased this to read to my 11 yr old after a disturbing incident at his old school Ontario. Short explanation - son told me a `joke`` he heard at school about the Holocaust. Friends suggested this would be a perfect and age appropriate story to read to him and discussmore
A very good book for people who like sad starts then it ends happy.more
This is a truly sad story. This book is a great introduction to the holocaust. It gives some background and allows te teacher to elaborate.more
What happens when innocence is intercepted by evil? Nine year old Bruno knows nothing of the Final Solution and the Holocaust. He is oblivious to the appalling cruelties being inflicted on the people of Europe by his country. All he knows is that he has been moved from a comfortable home in Berlin to a house in a desolate area where there is nothing to do and no-one to play with. Until he meets Shmuel, a boy who lives a strange parallel existence on the other side of the adjoining wire fence and who, like the other people there, wears a uniform of striped pyjamas. Bruno's friendship with Shmuel will take him from innocence to revelation. And in exploring what he is unwittingly a part of, he will inevitably become subsumed by the terrible process. Whew! i never expected this end and found myself feeling quite nauseous at the thought of that innocent boy going to his death.more
Liked: Viewpoint felt authentic, story wasn't overly complicated.Disliked: Ending left me feeling that they stretched it too long, constant omitting of words and phrases started to become pathological by the end of the story.Read-Alike: Diary of a Young Girl, Number the Stars, The Book Thiefmore
A very close friendship between two nine-year-old boys of whom one is a Jew and the other the concentration camp's leader's son, called Bruno, is established. As both were brought away from home they feel kind of connected to each other. Because of the every day meetings at the fence which separates them became so important for them that one day Bruno crawls on the other side of the fence to see his friend's world. Exactly on this day, they were brought to the gas chambers were both of the boys die. A very sad and touching story about real friendship which certainly affects everybody. Furthermore, it's very recommendable to slowly approach the topic of National Socialism.more
Powerful, heartbreaking and after finishing it, the shocking climax stays with you, for too long.more
I spent several years avoiding this book, because I just didn't want the cry...and when I finally read it, I didn't cry. I understand how it gets teens and middle-schoolers to weep, but I may be past the point where such obvious 'teaching you a lesson' books annoy me. Bruno is very angry that he and his family must move from their wonderful huge house in Berlin to a cruddy place out in the countryside in order to accommodate Bruno's father's military promotion, but as he makes friends with Shmuel, a boy his age who lives inside the fence behind Bruno's new home, things aren't as bad as he had expectedI'd definitely encourage students studying the Holocaust to read this and discuss - to have a different point-of-view of the horrors.more
The Boy In The Striped Pajamas was a book I was told to read for a long time and when I finally decided to read it, I had very high expectations for it. I was expecting it to be an amazing book, one I wouldn’t be able to put down. I turned out to be the opposite, it took me much longer than usual to finish it. It was boring for most of the book until the last few pages when some action began and it was hardly any. It never said directly what happened to Bruno but you assume he was taken to the concentration camps with his new friend. I think this book would be enjoyable for me if I had never heard how amazing it was in the first place.more
One day in 1942, 9 year old Bruno finds his life in Berlin packed up in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move immediately. Bruno is disheartened by the sight of his new home, which he calls the "Out-With" is large and empty, surrounded by a very big fence. A large camp is on the other side fence, where everyone, except soldiers, must wear grey striped pajamas. Bruno eventually meets a friend, Shmuel, living on the side of the fence, but he has a difficult time understanding why he lives on the other side of the fence. He does know, however, it's important to keep their visits secret. When Bruno's family is scheduled to move back to Berlin, Bruno slips under the fence and puts on a pair of the striped pajamas to help Shmuel find his father, who has gone missing. The ending and epilogue of the story may be unsettling to some readers, especially younger readers not fully versed in the history of the Holocaust and WWII. The language of the book is very simplistic, as it seems to represent how a 9 year old may speak or write, but the content of the book leads me to only recommend it for the most mature 9 or 10 year olds. Many have argued that the content of the book is something that could never have happened, but it is interesting to try to see a story told "from the other side of the fence." The book may be better suited to a middle school aged student as opposed to an elementary school student so they have had more exposure to the atrocities that occurred during World War II.more
This book is the quintessential exemplification of the agony of an especially horrific poetic justice.more
When the "Fury" sends Bruno's dad to be a Commandant at "Out-With," Bruno is not happy about leaving Berlin. Bruno loves his house with five stories, his friends, and his life there. To a nine-year-old, life at "Out-With" is just confusing. Why can't he play with the kids on the other side of the fence? Why do they get to wear striped pyjamas all day long? Why do they look so sad? By using the innocent logic of a child, Boyne provides a fresh perspective on the horrors of the Jewish concentration camps. Though it is targeted for a middle grade to young adult audience, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a small powerful book that should be read more widely.more
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Reviews

The boy in the striped pajamas is a book wrote during the time that World War 2 was taking place. When dad gets a new job, the family is forced to move from Berlin to Poland. When they get to Poland the kids realize they have no friends and no one to play with. Bruno notices this fence, with tons of people and kids of all ages behind it and decides he need to explore. While out exploring he meets a young jewish boy, Shmuel, who lives on the other side of the fence. Dad is the head commandent at Auschwitz. I liked how Bruno doesn't care how long the walk is all the way down the fence to where him and Shmuel meet everyday, as long as he gets to talk and hang out with his bestfriend. Bruno doesn't really know what's going on, or way all the people have to wear stiped pajamas all day, everyday, or why they have to stay on that side of the fence, and why he can't go over there, and why they cant play together. Whenever he ask dad about these things dad just aviods the question and never gives him a direct answer. Bruno is really curiousand wants to know everything about everything. Gretel on the other hand pretty much knows whats going on and accepts it, so that she can feel accepted by dad. Mom doesn't like what's going on and want to move back to Berlin. I would recommend this book for all ages.more
It was a good book and now i can't wait to see the moviemore
Holocaust dramas are always gut-wrenchingly sad and John Boyne's The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas is no exception, but what makes the sadness of this novel sting long after the final page is turned is the fact that, while it still displays some of the darkest days in human history, it is shown through the wide, blue eyes of an innocent eight-year-old German boy, named Bruno. The novel follows Bruno and his family as they move from a secure and wealthy life in Berlin to the forlorn and desolate Polish countryside where his SS Officer father has been promoted to commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp. Bruno, who wants to be an explorer, is immediately curious when he sees a 'farm' out of his bedroom window. However, he is forbidden from investigating further by his mother, who is well aware of who the 'strange' children are that Bruno wishes to play with. Of course, being a precocious eight-year-old, Bruno ignores her and ventures through the woods where he comes across Schmuel, an eight-year-old Jewish boy, with whom he forms an intense friendship that is not hindered by racial prejudices and hatred, despite many attempts by Bruno's anti-Semitic tutor to convince him otherwise. The dramatic climax to this heart wrenching tale is nothing short of amazing and will leave audiences both astounded and devastated. Bruno, being eight, has a very innocent and naive perception of the world; however, throughout the novel after many short, but poignant exchanges with Schmuel and Paval, Bruno begins to understand more about the world around him and his innocent view begins to change. Bruno is lied to by many people in his life and in a way Schmuel is one of them. He has already faced some of life's harshest realities, and in some ways protects Bruno from having to confront these issues. Although, there are still many occasions where Bruno portrays his innocence and does not seem to comprehend the severity of Schmuel’s situation. As the novel is centred around Bruno’s subjective view of the world there are many events which take place that he may not observe or comprehend. In some cases this limits what can be said and what must be implied to the audience. Sometimes Bruno’s information can be wrong; it is up to the audience to work this out. This invites the audience to feel sympathy for Bruno, Schmuel, Paval and Bruno’s mother who are all, along with millions of others, victims of one of the darkest and most brutal times in human history. Bruno’s world is filled with secrets and lies; he is lied to by his parents who are lying to each other and, most of all, to themselves. Bruno’s father is forced to keep secret the real purpose of the camp and Bruno’s mother seems to be unaware, or unwilling to admit to herself, what is actually happening at the camp.The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas is a masterpiece; it is gripping, heartbreaking and teaches audiences that sometimes the things that divide us can also unite us. Do yourself a favour once you finish reading this: eat some chocolate, grab some tissues and watch the movie. It is one of the best movie adaptations I have seen in a long time with a cast that brings this marvellous, haunting novel to life.more
Oh, my goodness. Thia book had me sobbing by the end. It's a good thing I listened to it instead of "reading" it, as otherwise I don't think I'd have been able to continue reading. It just broke my heart to see a small child try to make sense of the insanity that was Hitler's "solution". Highly recommend--though I'm afraid to see the movie. They never seem to do the book justice.more
Finished it last night. Could not stop reading the last 100 pages. It is a book that once you've read it keeps you thinking about it.

The first thing I did this morning was visiting amazon to see what others were saying about the book.
Very interesting. People that hated it, they forget it is a fable, not written as non fiction.
Well I thought it was great.
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Still pretty amazed that John Boyne was able to write a young adult story with such wonder about the Holocaust, I will never know. I found myself easily wrapped up in Bruno's life, and sighing with his innocence at the world around him.

Now, on the down side, if you read this as a true reflection of history, you will be sorely disappointed. Instead, read it more as a novel with elements of the Holocaust, and you're more apt to enjoy it. There are key points that drove me nuts, such as Bruno's terminology of "Out With" and "The Fury" (even though he was corrected multiple times yet never quite got it). BUT...if you suspend disbelief as many do when reading a novel, and look at him as insanely innocent and highly protected, you can sort of look past it. Okay, not completely, but for some reason I like the kid.

The author nailed it with the fact that children are so easily molded in their beliefs. I work with students daily, 9 year olds and 12 year olds... While elements of his sister rang true to those older sisters who are almost teenagers, he comes across as the clueless one. I agree with some of the other reviewers that it is strange that he doesn't understand much of what's going on around him AT ALL. Yes, you'd think he'd get it after his dad is so high up in the regime, or that soldiers are visiting, or that Hitler himself is having dinner with them, but nope. Not a clue.

Definitely an interesting read for discussion with kids. I'd be curious to see what middle schoolers thought of this book in it's relation to other books regarding the same time period.more
I give this book 3 stars as it was a good "story". And it should be read as such. Not as an introduction to the topic of the Holocaust as it says on the back of the book. It wasn't an historically accurate portrayal of one of the most evil periods in history. Frankly, I didn't find it shocking enough. Sad, of course. But that time in history was SO MUCH more than that. I don't think this should be a student's introduction to the Holocaust. Start with Anne Frank of course. Or The Book Thief.

I get that the author was trying to contrast the innocence of the main character, Bruno, son of a Nazi general, with the brutality of what was going on around him, but Bruno wasn't innocent in a sweet way, more of in a I want to slap that kid upside the head and tell him to get a clue way. The boy in the striped pajamas was a much more endearing character and I wish the author had done more to develop his character.more
Firstly, I want to start out by saying I get what Boyne is trying to do: talk about complicity and complacency and ignorance and how it still happens today. I agree it's an important message and I like that he attempted it, but I don't think he was as effective as he thinks he has been.

I was disappointed in this book. I felt that what made it unique was the confusion about the time and place. Once that was clear, the continued mispronunciations felt contrived to me.

I do think the text is well structured and I do think it has a good message about genocide, bigotry, and repeating historical horrors over and over again. The world was clear for the most part. I did have some problems with the book, and I am more than a little irritated with the author interview at the end (I listened to the audio version of this book.)

The boy seemed extremely dense to me. Not just naive, but really, very stupid. I would have found it much more believable if we were talking about a 6 year old. Boyne makes a good point that the atrocities were not well known when they were happening and it took a long time for people to even believe something like that could happen. (To this day many people still don't believe it!) But this story takes place in 1943 when even a child living in Berlin would have to be completely blind to not notice that a lot of people were moving away. I can see that he might be sheltered and not know what was happening to them, but to be oblivious to the fact that something was happening when many of his classmates and neighbors would have disappeared, just doesn't ring true to me. In addition, as a wealthy child, he would be well aware of class: servants aren't the same as "regular" people and yet he expects Schmuel would be welcome in his house despite being dirty and obviously very poor at this point?

Plus, I find it hard to believe that someone as high up in the Nazi party as his father wouldn't mention Jews and brainwash his children against them. Bruno has never even heard the word before. That makes no sense to me. The fact that he can't pronounce Fuhrer or Auschwitz is a little odd, too, given his age. (Never mind that the plays on words are based on someone who is speaking English--"Out With" which would not have the same meaning in German.)

But putting that aside, assuming he really is pretty oblivious and goes to a surprisingly segregated school, once he starts talking to Schmuel he should have had an awakening. They talk every single day for a year and yet he doesn't get that Schmuel's life is horrible. What the hell did they talk about? Bruno knows enough to be scared of the Nazi soldier and deny knowing Schmuel but he then still talks about Schmuel coming to visit some day. By 10 years old he should know a prison outfit when he sees one, just from books and movies (which as a rich person he should have seen at points).

My 16 year old who is in special ed and who is very ignorant listened to the last disk with me and, without knowing what the story was about or what was going on ahead of time, within a short time said, "Is this about concentration camps?" and kept saying, "what a dumb-ass" when he continued to not read perfectly obvious clues.

What irritated me the most, though, was that in his interview, Boyne said that anyone who criticizes his work because they think Bruno is too naive is being offensive to the memory of the Holocaust and the survivors. Hunh? I can't find fault with particulars of his book without denying the Holocaust? That is offensive. He's not perfect. He didn't win the nobel prize for literature for this book. That's just so obnoxious. It is also not, despite his claims, the first book written from the perspective of a child of a Nazi. I can't remember the name of it but there was a book I read as a teen that did exactly that.

Anyway, I do think this is an okay book. It was fairly enjoyable to read if you ignore the plot holes (a chain link fence with a hole big enough for a child to get through is not noticed by either the guards or adult survivors?) and the material is different from the standard. I just think it could have been much, much better.
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For a long time I thought I was missing something after I read this book, given the amount hype surrounding it when it was first published - and many friends and family were raving about it as well. So it's nice to know that on this site there are plenty people that share the same thoughts that I do when it comes to this novel.

This book, in one word, is trash.

Historical inaccuracies and idiotic plot aside, lets start with the central character, Bruno. A young eight year old boy who is written as if he is four years old, and seems to have no idea about anything that's going on around him. Oh yeah, his father is a very high ranking Nazi officer, who fortunately for the reader, neglected to fill his young son with Third Reich ideals or anything else for that matter.

Heck, poor Bruno doesn't even know who The Fuhrer is.

And I'll leave you with that.

Reading this the only thing I could see is Boyne sweating over a keyboard dreaming of a sold screenplay and glittering awards.

Whitewashed, sentimental and manipulative crap.
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Audiobook read by Michael Maloney) - This is one book that is going to stay with me for quite awhile. It's not very long, but it packs an emotional wallop. At the center of the story is Bruno, a nine year old boy adjusting to his family relocating for his father's new job. Many critics and blurbs for this book think that to mention anything more specific spoils what is supposed to be a slow reveal of where Bruno is living, but honestly, if you don't guess the location and what his father's job is when the boy first mispronounces the name, you're just not paying attention. Michael Maloney's reading of the story put me off at first, sounding as if this were a child's story rather than a story from a child's point of view, but once the implications of what Bruno and his family are a part of, that voice is all that keeps you hoping for a happy ending.more
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is an amazing book. It's about the Holocaust, but really, it isn't. It's about two lonely little boys who form an innocent friendship in the midst of so much terror.

I love this book because of the way the story is told. Everything is so innocent and naive. The friendship and the actions of the characters is really just inspiring.

I think sometimes we need the naïveté and innocence of a child’s voice to bring us back to what is truly important. I have a feeling that I’ll end up rereading this book on multiple occasions, even if it did turn me into a wreck for a little bit.
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I didn't like this book. Right from the beginning, from the title, you know exactly where it's going and I guess you're meant to be quietly horrified at what might happen at the end, but it just didn't work for me.

There was something sickly sweet about the child protagonist and as I read on, I found myself getting more and more annoyed about being directed to fear what horrible fate was probably going to befall this poor little German boy who was a little thick for his age.

I dunno, I finished this and rather than feel angry at Nazi douchery, I felt more annoyed at this book for being so damn sickly sweet and emotionally manipulative. Nope, no like.more
Another case of some unscrupulous bastard making money with overwrought dramatizations of real tragedies. The Holocaust was a crime beyond imagining, and tying in adorable children and cliched tales of ~Friendship~ would only make the book more tempting to those easily swayed by the spell of sentimentality.

Urgh.more
This book is a difficult one to review.

On the one hand, I believe that the book is charmingly portrayed through a child's eyes, that the concept of the book and point of view is an interesting one, that the character of Bruno is (usually) an endearing one, and that the ending is powerful.

On the other hand, this book is rather flawed. It seems to me that throughout the book, the author delicately tiptoes around the real issues of the Holocaust, preferring, instead, to coat everything in euphemism. Perhaps the reason he does this is because all of the meaning in the book is distilled through Bruno's perceptions of things. And let's face it everyone- Bruno is not a very intelligent 9 year old.

Does Bruno develop in the course of the novel? He makes a new friend or whatever, but I must say that the ultimate answer is a resounding "no." Does he question his reality in a real way? No, no he does not. He remains mostly innocent and naive until the very end, totally clueless about the reality of things. His experience doesn't change him in any real way that I can glean, and because of that, the book falls flat for me.

Perhaps the author intends the book to be an allegory of some sort, a "fable" as the back of the book advertises. This makes sense and perhaps on some level it succeeds as such. Ultimately, though, it doesn't work for me. I have been traumatized by too much Holocaust history and literature to be charmed by Bruno's naivete. In many ways, I think that is the only response any author of Holocaust literature can (and should?) attempt to garner from his/her audience- horror, trauma, and intense sadness and pain.

I can understand the author skirting around the more graphic descriptions of the Holocaust in an attempt to teach children about it and not scare them, and yet, I feel there is a way to do this without whitewashing it, as the book seems to do through Bruno's simplistic perceptions and (kinda dumb) interpretations. I think The Book Thief is a good example of a book which doesn't get too graphic, yet touches upon issues of the Holocaust in a heart-wrenching, mind-bending way.

I wouldn't say I wouldn't recommend the book per se, but it is not a book I would use to introduce my children to the history of the Holocaust.

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This was one of the few books about the Holocaust that I didn't read for the literature course that I am in this semester. I had heard about this book some time ago and always meant to get around to reading it, but I finally felt that I had a real excuse to read it when it came to being in this course. It would add more depth to the course readings and provide possibly another perspective. When we are learning about this period and the atrocities that were done to the Jewish people it is good to delve deep into all the books that you can fiction, non-fiction, memories, and etc because you get a vast amount of different perspectives on what happened and why.

This book showcased beautifully how a small child probably would have no clue what was truly going on in Germany at the time of the Holocaust. You are swept into Bruno, the main character. He mispronounces names right and left, but when you realize what they are you feel saddened for him and the world that he lives in. He is a naive young boy that simply doesn't recognize what is truly going on around him. When he meets the young boy Schmaul his entire world changes. This book is a pure gem that should be read by students learning about the Holocaust at a young age because it will help open their eyes to the world. It is a good opening to these events and would help ease someone into the horribleness that is this period.

Boyne created the necessary world for his story, but some facts seem off in the book, specifically the fact that the fence is not electrically. This doesn't distract from the point of the story though, which is to show how a friendship can develop between two children without one realizing what is truly going on. The book does what it should and that is why I am comfortable stating that everyone should try out this book and discover the ending that takes you to a place that you never thought you would go.more
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.more
Mini Book Review: I truly struggle writing reviews about books that are sheer perfection like this one. I am afraid I don`t have the appropriate words to convey that this book I believe is one that every person should read. Every time I mentioned to people that I was going to read this they gave me the warning that it doesn`t end well but that I had to read it. They were right - it doesn`t end well but don`t let that stop you. Such a wonderful story with beautiful moments of humour intertwined with brutal violence written in such a sensitive way. I read a chapter of this to my son every night before bedtime and it led to some hard conversations but ones that I felt were important. Bruno, although extremely naive, is a beautiful, honest and realistic character. The relationship and conversations between Bruno and Shmuel are heartbreaking yet honest. Also Boyne should be commended for writing such a poignant story that will rip your heart in two but at the same time give you hope. I recommend this as a book a parent, teacher, or librarian should read aloud to a child and discuss. (BTW - before the last two chapters of the book have a stiff drink so you don`t bawl your eyes out while reading to your child -- trust me!) This was a wonderful bonding experience for me and Jake -- but shhh don`t tell Jake that.5 Dewey`s I purchased this to read to my 11 yr old after a disturbing incident at his old school Ontario. Short explanation - son told me a `joke`` he heard at school about the Holocaust. Friends suggested this would be a perfect and age appropriate story to read to him and discussmore
A very good book for people who like sad starts then it ends happy.more
This is a truly sad story. This book is a great introduction to the holocaust. It gives some background and allows te teacher to elaborate.more
What happens when innocence is intercepted by evil? Nine year old Bruno knows nothing of the Final Solution and the Holocaust. He is oblivious to the appalling cruelties being inflicted on the people of Europe by his country. All he knows is that he has been moved from a comfortable home in Berlin to a house in a desolate area where there is nothing to do and no-one to play with. Until he meets Shmuel, a boy who lives a strange parallel existence on the other side of the adjoining wire fence and who, like the other people there, wears a uniform of striped pyjamas. Bruno's friendship with Shmuel will take him from innocence to revelation. And in exploring what he is unwittingly a part of, he will inevitably become subsumed by the terrible process. Whew! i never expected this end and found myself feeling quite nauseous at the thought of that innocent boy going to his death.more
Liked: Viewpoint felt authentic, story wasn't overly complicated.Disliked: Ending left me feeling that they stretched it too long, constant omitting of words and phrases started to become pathological by the end of the story.Read-Alike: Diary of a Young Girl, Number the Stars, The Book Thiefmore
A very close friendship between two nine-year-old boys of whom one is a Jew and the other the concentration camp's leader's son, called Bruno, is established. As both were brought away from home they feel kind of connected to each other. Because of the every day meetings at the fence which separates them became so important for them that one day Bruno crawls on the other side of the fence to see his friend's world. Exactly on this day, they were brought to the gas chambers were both of the boys die. A very sad and touching story about real friendship which certainly affects everybody. Furthermore, it's very recommendable to slowly approach the topic of National Socialism.more
Powerful, heartbreaking and after finishing it, the shocking climax stays with you, for too long.more
I spent several years avoiding this book, because I just didn't want the cry...and when I finally read it, I didn't cry. I understand how it gets teens and middle-schoolers to weep, but I may be past the point where such obvious 'teaching you a lesson' books annoy me. Bruno is very angry that he and his family must move from their wonderful huge house in Berlin to a cruddy place out in the countryside in order to accommodate Bruno's father's military promotion, but as he makes friends with Shmuel, a boy his age who lives inside the fence behind Bruno's new home, things aren't as bad as he had expectedI'd definitely encourage students studying the Holocaust to read this and discuss - to have a different point-of-view of the horrors.more
The Boy In The Striped Pajamas was a book I was told to read for a long time and when I finally decided to read it, I had very high expectations for it. I was expecting it to be an amazing book, one I wouldn’t be able to put down. I turned out to be the opposite, it took me much longer than usual to finish it. It was boring for most of the book until the last few pages when some action began and it was hardly any. It never said directly what happened to Bruno but you assume he was taken to the concentration camps with his new friend. I think this book would be enjoyable for me if I had never heard how amazing it was in the first place.more
One day in 1942, 9 year old Bruno finds his life in Berlin packed up in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move immediately. Bruno is disheartened by the sight of his new home, which he calls the "Out-With" is large and empty, surrounded by a very big fence. A large camp is on the other side fence, where everyone, except soldiers, must wear grey striped pajamas. Bruno eventually meets a friend, Shmuel, living on the side of the fence, but he has a difficult time understanding why he lives on the other side of the fence. He does know, however, it's important to keep their visits secret. When Bruno's family is scheduled to move back to Berlin, Bruno slips under the fence and puts on a pair of the striped pajamas to help Shmuel find his father, who has gone missing. The ending and epilogue of the story may be unsettling to some readers, especially younger readers not fully versed in the history of the Holocaust and WWII. The language of the book is very simplistic, as it seems to represent how a 9 year old may speak or write, but the content of the book leads me to only recommend it for the most mature 9 or 10 year olds. Many have argued that the content of the book is something that could never have happened, but it is interesting to try to see a story told "from the other side of the fence." The book may be better suited to a middle school aged student as opposed to an elementary school student so they have had more exposure to the atrocities that occurred during World War II.more
This book is the quintessential exemplification of the agony of an especially horrific poetic justice.more
When the "Fury" sends Bruno's dad to be a Commandant at "Out-With," Bruno is not happy about leaving Berlin. Bruno loves his house with five stories, his friends, and his life there. To a nine-year-old, life at "Out-With" is just confusing. Why can't he play with the kids on the other side of the fence? Why do they get to wear striped pyjamas all day long? Why do they look so sad? By using the innocent logic of a child, Boyne provides a fresh perspective on the horrors of the Jewish concentration camps. Though it is targeted for a middle grade to young adult audience, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a small powerful book that should be read more widely.more
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