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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

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4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  259,106 Ratings  ·  15,744 Reviews
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 from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the stran
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Kindle Edition, 226 pages
Published December 18th 2008 by David Fickling Books (first published 2006)
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Angela Gerber It depends on the child. Some 13 year olds might not be mature enough for it, but I just read this book with my newly 12 year old after coming across…moreIt depends on the child. Some 13 year olds might not be mature enough for it, but I just read this book with my newly 12 year old after coming across it in the YA section of the library. He is an advanced reader and very mature for his age but instead of just handing it to him, we read it together so that we could have discussions along the way. He is a 6th grader and familiar with the Holocaust - not all the details, but he understands the 'big picture'. This book gave him a little bit deeper understanding and more to think about which I appreciate.

The story is told from the perspective of Bruno, a 9 year old German boy, so it alluded to the sufferings he saw, but it never goes into detail because Bruno doesn't understand exactly what he is seeing. He just knows that he enjoys the friend he has made from behind the barbed wire fence. Along the way he learns he is Jewish and that they are being kept 'separated' but he doesn't understand why.

When the Author was asked if the book was written for children or adults, he says he didn't write it for one or the other - he just wrote a book. He doesn't put it into a 'category', but the Publishers have put into the YA category. I found that interesting because it doesn't fit neatly into any category.

The movie version follows the book very closely, but it is much more disturbing as it shows physical violence. Again, the book only alludes to the violence and injustices, but it never shows them. I recommend the book for most Middle School aged kids, and if a parent reads with, them, all the better.
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Corky Cobon I watched the movie and I have to say that it moved me to tears throughout the entire movie. I had to explain a lot of the historical context to the…moreI watched the movie and I have to say that it moved me to tears throughout the entire movie. I had to explain a lot of the historical context to the people who watched the movie with me as they never took the time to pay attention in history class. I very much want to read the book after seeing the movie.(less)

Community Reviews

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Brandy
I hardly know where to begin bashing this book. Do I start with the 9-year-old boy and his 12-year-old sister, who read about 6 and 8, respectively? The imperial measurements (miles, feet) despite the German setting? The German boy, raised in Berlin, who thinks that Der Führer is "The Fury" and Auschwitz is "Out-With," despite being corrected several times and seeing it written down? The other English-language idioms and mis-hearings, despite our being told that he speaks only German? And that h ...more
Madeline
As Michael Kors once sighed to a clueless designer on Project Runway: Where do I start?

Let's open with some descriptive words that sum up this book, and I will then go on to explain them in further detail: Patronizing. Insipid. Smarmy. Just plain bad.

Patronizing: I believe that to write good children's literature, you have to think that children are intelligent, capable human beings who are worth writing for - like Stephen King, who probably thinks kids are smarter than adults. The author of T
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Peter Kubicek
Nov 11, 2013 Peter Kubicek rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" would easily top my list of "Worst Books about the Holocaust."

I am writing as one who was there -- I was once myself a boy in striped pajamas and am a survivor of six German concentration camps. This book is so ignorant of historical facts about concentration camps that it kicks the history of the Holocaust right in the teeth.

John Boyne's premise is that the nine-year old son of the commandant of Auschwitz, bored with his isolated life, takes walks to the fence s
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Wayne
Feb 10, 2011 Wayne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wayne by: I'm too kind to say
I seriously suggest you read about what happened to real children in the Holocaust. It won't fill your thoughts for many days or shock you; rather it will fill your LIFE and make you feel sick to the core of your being.

Paul Friedlander, himself a survivor, recounts in his recent highly praised book the incident of 90 Jewish infants all under the age of five, orphaned after their parents were murdered in a mass shooting.
These children were subjected to indescribable mistreatment for days.
Then the
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Arlene
Dec 01, 2010 Arlene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is truly an amazing yet daunting novel that I will never forget. The author John Boyne did a masterful job of depicting the setting in such vivid detail and exposing the events in a manner that I felt a constant emotional pull as the story unfolded and impending doom lingered on the horizon.

I was recommended this novel a while back while reading The Book Thief, but after finishing that story and experiencing such deep sadness, I knew I couldn’t jump into another no
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Cecily
A powerful concept, but very poorly written (even allowing for the young adult target audience) - and the only book I can think of that was better in the film version.

Bruno is 9 and lives in Berlin in 1943 with his parents and 12 year old sister. They are wealthy and his father is an important soldier who is promoted to be the Commandant at Auschwitz. The trick of the story is that Bruno doesn't realise the horror of what goes on behind the barbed wire, where everyone wears striped pyjamas, even
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Betsy
Nov 08, 2008 Betsy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'll give it this much. Few books have caused me to actually shake SHAKE in anger. Wow. I think I need to go boil my eyeballs for a while. What was the author thinking?
Nandakishore Varma

Lincoln's doctor's dog. An archaic reference in the publishing industry to the notion that the way to ensure a book is a bestseller is to write about Lincoln, dogs, or doctors. This prompted one author to title his book which is about publishing in the 1930s Lincoln’s Doctor’s Dog.

- From www.metaphordogs.org

Maybe Lincoln, doctors and dogs have gone out of fashion; but children, the Holocaust and friendship are still the rage. So the sure-fire formula for creating a bestseller is to write a sto
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Bibliophile
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a Holocaust “fable” by the Irish writer John Boyne, in which a nine-year-old German boy named Bruno arrives at Auschwitz (or as the novel coyly and annoyingly calls it “Out-With”) when his father is named as the camp’s new commandant. Bruno is incredibly naïve (to the point where I began to wonder whether he might not be mentally retarded, in which case he would most likely have been murdered under the Nazi euthanasia program long before the timeline of the book ...more
Shannon (leaninglights)
This story. I'm glad I finally read it. It's taken me years to pick it up and watching the movie last month gave me the nudge to finally read it. Actually seeing it was worse (in the movie) in terms of heartbreak and devastation. Such a powerful read, but not for the faint of heart.
Al Bità
Nov 26, 2009 Al Bità rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Antonio
No sé si debería hacer una reseña de este libro porque el editor específicamente decidió no hacerlo para no revelar nada sobre la historia… Supongo que podría tratar de revelar lo menos posible, tratando de imitar un poco el estilo del autor



Bruno es un niño de 9 años cuya vida está a punto de cambiar, verán el siempre ha vivido en una hermosa casa de 5 plantas en Berlín con Padre, Madre y su hermana la tonta de remate, pero debido a una orden del “Furias” (el jefe de Padre) el, con toda su famil
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B the BookAddict


When his father is promoted to Commandant in the German army and his family is transferred from their comfy home in Berlin to a strange place called Out-With, nine year-old Bruno has no idea of the true nature of his new surroundings. Indeed, he is also unaware of the horrors being perpetrated at the command of the German leader, the Fury, who visits the family one evening. He is unimpressed by the small man with his tiny ineffectual moustache.

The dreaded concentration camp as seen through Bruno
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J-Lynn
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
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Bill
Feb 17, 2008 Bill rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gabriela Silva
3.5 stars
The beginnings of the chapters were very repetitive.
Cheryl Klein
Nov 09, 2008 Cheryl Klein added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who need a reason to stab their eyes out
Shelves: children-s
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Claudia
Feb 15, 2016 Claudia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Berlin 1942

Bruno is 9 years old, and the Nazis horrific Final Solution to the "Jewish Problem" means nothing to him. He is completely unaware of the barbarity of Germany under Hitler. His father is promoted and he has to with his family to move in the near of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

He believes that the people in the camp have a good life, until one day he meets Shmuel, a little b0y. Bruno wonders why Shmuel and the other people have blue striped pyjamas. They discover that they have some things in
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João Pinto Coelho
Não me pronuncio sobre a qualidade literária deste livro, mas a abordagem da obra é aviltante. O Holocausto já nos ofereceu o absurdo; dispensa bem o absurdo das impossibilidades. Se pode ser "bárbaro" ficcionar sobre Auschwitz, fantasiar será sempre obsceno.
Emily
Jul 13, 2015 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, own
I feel very emotionally manipulated and I don't like that at all.

I knew the ending of this book was going to be sad. It wasn't what I thought would happen; it's probably the farthest from what I thought. And yes it's sad but I feel like I have no choice but to be sad. This book was not really about the Holocaust, it really was not about the relationship between a German boy and a Jewish boy during the Holocaust--it was a book that was just built up to that second to last chapter with the only p
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Carol
Apr 25, 2015 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A heartbreaker of a story about the Holocaust told through the eyes of a naive nine year old Bruno, (his father is Commandant), who befriends a Jewish boy who lives on the OTHER side of the fence. The ending of this book is not one I will soon forget!
Becky
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
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Dianne Ascroft
Jan 25, 2009 Dianne Ascroft rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in historical fiction
I decided to read this book because a friend told me that, in some respects, it reminded her of my novel, ‘Hitler and Mars Bars’. So I wanted to find out what she meant. The most obvious similarity is that the main character in each book is a German boy who is caught up in the events of the Second World War.
Both books are simply written but effective and moving. Unlike my own book, Boyne’s novel is completely unadorned. Yet it also captures the character’s emotions and the situation he finds h
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Hadrian
Aug 30, 2011 Hadrian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Pam Gonçalves
Perdi muito tempo na minha vida não lendo ou assistindo "O menino do pijama listrado", por favor, leiam e assistam!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsZUA...
Miquel Reina
I still remember that I found this book at the bookstore of an airport and I read it during the flight. In my opinion, the global phenomenon that became this novel is well deserved. Despite its simple literature and its short length, the boy with the striped pajamas is a book filled with an incredible emotional charge, with a shaking and bright ending that will touch even the hardest reader.

Spanish version:
Aún recuerdo que encontré este libro por casualidad en una librería de aeropuerto y lo le
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Priscilla
Oct 14, 2012 Priscilla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
SO SAD. T__T

Initial thoughts:
1. Well...the book wasn't as sad as the movie. Although the subject matter is heavy, the POV from the 9 year old main character somewhat counteracted that.
2. Because the story follows the journey of Bruno, the book had a consistently had an innocent and naive quality to it. The story never got particularly graphic or dark.
3. Really liked the different dynamics between the characters. From Bruno's interaction with Maria and Pavel, to Lieutenant Kotler, and Shmuel. Gen
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

What an incredible story! John Boyne has created innocent, naïve Bruno and given him a powerful story to tell. This moving book should be required reading for everyone.

Set in the 1940's in Berlin, Germany, the story centers around a nine-year-old German boy named Bruno. His family leaves Berlin to move to the country because his father has been reassigned by the "Fury." Bruno's youth and innocence has protected him from the harsh
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Kelly H. (Maybedog)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Martine
I wanted to like this book. I really did. After all, how can one fail to be drawn in by a story about a German boy, the son of a high-ranking Nazi officer, who makes friends with a Jewish boy at Auschwitz, only to fail to understand his new friend's situation and meet a gruesome end with him? It's a great premise with plenty of scope for drama. A writer looking to fictionalise ignorance of the Holocaust would be hard-pressed to come up with a better idea.

Sadly, I found myself rather underwhelmed
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John Boyne (born 30 April 1971 in Dublin) is an Irish novelist.

He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where he won the Curtis Brown prize. In 2015, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by UEA.

John Boyne is the author of nine novels for adults and five for young readers, as well as a collection of short stories.

His nove
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More about John Boyne...

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“Sitting around miserable all day won't make you any happier.” 349 likes
“...Despite the mayhem that followed, Bruno found that he was still holding Shmuel's hand in his own and nothing in the world would have persuaded him to let go.” 229 likes
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