“It's a great book, energetic, vivid, and amazing in the scope of its appeal. In the space of download The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas at the following on-line retailers. Intense, powerful Holocaust book offers unique perspective. Read Common Sense Media's The Boy in the Striped Pajamas review, age rating, and parents. Perhaps best known for his multi-award-winning book The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, John's other novels, notably The Absolutist and A History of.
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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a Holocaust novel by Irish novelist John Boyne. Unlike the months of planning Boyne devoted to his other books, he said . The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. By John Boyne. Published: David Fickling Books . ISBN: This Large Print Book has been. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Berlin When Bruno returns home from schoo .
He lives with his parents, his year-old sister Gretel and maids, one of whom is called Maria. Bruno is initially upset about moving to Out-With in actuality, Auschwitz  and leaving his friends, Daniel, Karl and Martin. From the house at Out-With, Bruno sees a camp in which the prisoners wear "striped pyjamas" prison clothes. One day, Bruno decides to explore the strange wire fence. As he walks along the fence, he meets a Jewish boy named Shmuel, who he learns shares his birthday.
We are told that his sister Gretel is a Hopeless Case every time she is mentioned. As a teen, I used to watch Hollywood war movies in which all Germans spoke English. The narrative was problematic. 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. View all 60 comments. Matt Col review I think thy same way! May 02, His sister was equally poorly drawn. Nandakishore - thank you for confirming that I made the right choice - so many other books to read Sep 03, Lisa rated it did not like it Shelves: 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: Stories of a Boy Growing Up in Warsaw And of course for more mature students, I recommend Anne Fran There are plenty of insightful reviews on this piece of sensationalist, badly written, idiotic Disneyfication of the Holocaust on Goodreads.
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! View all 42 comments. Mar 12, Phrynne rated it really liked it Shelves: 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. Boyne himself describes it as a fable, that is a fiction story with a moral, and I think that is a good description. 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: Of course all this happened a long time ago and nothing like that could ever happen again.
Not in this day and age. View all 26 comments. Nov 08, Betsy rated it did not like it. I'll give it this much. I think I need to go boil my eyeballs for a while. What was the author thinking? View all 29 comments. 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. 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. View all 8 comments. Oct 24, Julia Miller rated it it was amazing. I am bawling my eyes out.
John Boyne, thank you for writing this. I wish I could undo all the horrible things that happened to innocent people including all people who were affected by t I am bawling my eyes out.
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. View all 3 comments. 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 giv There is nothing to learn from this book. 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.
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. 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: 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!
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. View all 14 comments. Since I am the last of the 4. At times I felt Bruno was a bit of a spoiled turd.
I then felt guilty for feeling that way.
I appreciated the way the relationship between his parents was portrayed. This would be a great discussion point for a book club. That ending! And those last sentences? Scary and timely!
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.
View all 4 comments. Jan 28, Felicia rated it really liked it. I figured since I'm trying to read every Boyne book I should reread this one. Thanks a lot, Self. View all 35 comments.
Tammy Now that I finished the book it sounds like I need to watch this movie, right. May 28, Felicia Tammy definitely. They did a really good job with the movie. Mar 11, Shannon leaninglights rated it really liked it. 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.
View 1 comment. 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 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 fore This was a really good read.
Your innocence and friendship will be etched forever in my soul.
One of my most favourite classics so far. View all 18 comments. Aug 30, Hadrian rated it did not like it Shelves: Another case of some unscrupulous bastard making money with overwrought dramatizations of real tragedies.
View all 13 comments. 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.
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. View all 12 comments. Sep 26, jv poore rated it really liked it Shelves: 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. View all 11 comments. 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. 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.
But it seemed a little unfair that they all had to go with her. Even if Father moves, why do the rest of them have to go live far away? 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.
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.
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. 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. Read the whole thing. I haven't seen the film, but I think the book says it all. Sometimes simple says it best.
View all 21 comments.
I'm not sure. 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 hi I finished this book yesterday and I am still having trouble forming an opinion--but here it goes.
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. View all 6 comments. Jul 06, James rated it it was amazing. Before the film, the stage play and now the ballet…came the original novel.
This is a compellingly original and extremely well-conceived and written book. An excellent and important book that should be read by all. View all 5 comments. Originally reviewed on March 28, 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 condui Originally reviewed on March 28, 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.
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? 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 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, 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? 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: 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: Here's one further link, to the article containing the whole letter from the outside expert: 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, 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. View all 30 comments. Nov 29, Becky rated it did not like it Shelves: I've had this book on my To-Read list for a long time, since I really enjoy reading books of this kind. I haven't seen the movie, and I really had no idea what to expect from this one.
That being said, I wish I could have liked it more than I did. This story is told in 3rd person limited, from the perspective of a 9 year old boy.
Bruno, our main character, is moved unexpectedly from his large home with 5 floors if you count the basement and the little room with the high window at the top in Be I've had this book on my To-Read list for a long time, since I really enjoy reading books of this kind.
Bruno, our main character, is moved unexpectedly from his large home with 5 floors if you count the basement and the little room with the high window at the top in Berlin to Out-With, where the house is only 3 floors if you count the basement where he's bored, has no friends, nowhere to explore, and nothing to do except look at the people behind the fence wearing the striped pajamas.
Bruno doesn't know who the people behind the fence are, or why they are there, or And it just wasn't believable to me that he should be so obliviously naive, which is one of the major issues that I had with this book, and a big part of why I found it so disappointing in the end. I have a few reasons for not believing in Bruno's "innocence". First, Bruno was born in Berlin in , well into the Nazi party's regime. I cannot find it in myself to believe that Bruno could have lived 9 years in this environment of anti-Semitism and have never even heard of a Jew before.
This kid went to public school, and hung around other boys both his age and older. Bruno's own father is in the Nazi military, had "The Fury" to his house for dinner, and was personally given orders by "The Fury". I don't believe that the term "Jew" was never, not once, used in Bruno's presence, by someone at school, or on the street which is so busy that you could be pushed from pillar to post, specifically , or in his own household.
People who hate, especially in an environment where that hatred is not only tolerated but encouraged and treated as "right", generally hate vociferously.
It's not something we're born with, it's something we must be taught. That's how racism works. So it doesn't make sense to me that someone who obviously believes that Jews are inferior, who feels that Germans have been wronged by the Jews, who feels that Jews should be punished, and that those who disagree are cowards at best and traitors at worst, as Bruno's father clearly seems to believe, would fail to delineate the "us" from the "them" to his son.
And Bruno is not stupid, though he is rather self-centered, and sees everything around him in terms of his own life experiences. But he notices things, even if he doesn't understand them or their significance. And we see in the course of the story that when he's curious enough about something, he'll ask for information about it, even if he doesn't really learn the right info, since usually his equally self-centered and ignorant sister is providing the answers.
But still, it just doesn't work for me that he should be portrayed as such an innocent blank slate. I grew up in an area where racism was very common, but thankfully my mom taught me differently - and started doing so early, by which I mean around the time I could talk.
Very young children mimic, and at some point every child will have heard something they shouldn't have and then repeated it. It's inevitable. Young children also ask a bajillion embarrassing questions. I want a star! I don't have kids, but even I know that it's never ending.
Over and over and over Any of these kinds of things would have been perfect times for Nazi Dad to say, "Well, little Bruno, that man gets a star because he's a Jew, and we're rounding him, his family, and everyone like him up so that we can cleanse the earth of their filth. Why not? Nazis were in power, and they even had programs specifically designed for indoctrinating kids. But little Bruno was kept ignorant of the attitudes of the period.
Because if he hadn't been, then this story wouldn't be possible: Bruno wouldn't have been that innocent, naive, oblivious blank slate he had to be.
And that's a huge plot hole for me, and a big disappointment. Moving along to the writing itself, I have to say that, again, it was something of a disappointment. Well, the writing wasn't terrible, but some of the techniques used within it were irritating as hell. Like this line: Because Bruno is 9? Secondly, not only is it a run-on sentence, but what exactly is "extremely dangerous"?
Finding the sharp knife, or using it? Third, why even mention the tool used at all? Why not just say "The rope was easy enough to find as there were bales of it in the basement of the house and it didn't take long to cut as many lengths of it as he thought he might need. I'm not a huge fan of that. Let readers think for themselves. Another two examples of this protection thing: Let's look at Harry Potter for a second. When Hermione is first called a Mudblood by Draco Malfoy, it's not edited out, despite Harry not knowing the term.
Instead, he picks up from context that it's derogatory and ugly, and we, as the reader, do the same. That's the proper way to communicate to readers, and to trust them to understand and be shocked by the term and its intent.
In a scene where a Jewish waiter spills wine on a Nazi soldier, we're treated to this: Of course, we can imagine what happened. Of course, we know how brutal Nazis, and people in general, can be.
But then at the end of the story, we're left with these lines: Some reverse psychology there. Tell us nothing like that could happen now , because we're all so tolerant and peaceful.
The object is that we start questioning whether it could happen, or even whether it could be happening now. Except again it's a fail, because we learn nothing at all from this book. What's the point? To what? If Boyne is not even willing to call out the behavior we're supposed to think is so bad, not willing to show people how needlessly cruel and brutal and inhumanly awful people have been to others, what the hell is stopping us from being way that now?
We wouldn't recognize it if we saw it. We don't learn anything by promoting ignorance and whitewashing the past.
Bruno may not have understood what was happening around him, but a skilled writer takes that character's lack of understanding and shows the reader the truth. Boyne tried his hand at this, and succeeded in a small way, in that the reader understood more of what the Jews were going through than Bruno did, but too much was avoided in the guise of protecting the reader, and overall, it failed. Bruno never learned anything.
He never grew as a character. He was as self-centered at the end as he was in the beginning. This book could have been so amazingly powerful by showing the true horror of Auschwitz through the eyes of a child.
But it didn't. It shied away from everything that would have meant something. And that's the biggest disappointment of all. And in exploring what he is unwittingly a part of, he will inevitably become subsumed by the terrible process. A particular historical moment, one that cannot be told too often". John Boyne was born in Ireland in He is the author of ten novels for adults, five for young readers and a collection of short stories.
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