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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  440,902 ratings  ·  24,650 reviews
If you start to read this book, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy named Bruno. (Though this isn't a book for nine-year-olds.) And sooner or later you will arrive with Bruno at a fence.

Fences like this exist all over the world. We hope you never have to encounter one.
Paperback, 1st Ember Edition; Movie Tie-In, 218 pages
Published 2011 by Ember (first published January 5th 2006)
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Angela 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.
Vonda Gardner The movie left a huge impression on me. That was why I read the book. It was easier to follow & understand. It is an important story, no matter…moreThe movie left a huge impression on me. That was why I read the book. It was easier to follow & understand. It is an important story, no matter the format. (less)

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Average rating 4.13  · 
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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 ...more
Jun 20, 2013 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
Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)

I didn't love this, but I did appreciate the fact that it had a very powerful message (and an ending I wasn't expecting at all). My feelings were definitely changed by the fact that the author describes the story as a fable. The abstractness makes a lot more sense in that way. Definitely an unforgettable read, nonetheless!
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
Federico DN
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Two innocent boys, and two very different worlds, separated by a not so infallible fence.

Berlin 1942, middle of WWII, beginnings of the Holocaust. Bruno is a little boy of barely nine years old, son of a very well standing german family. His life passes relatively uneventful until one day his father is appointed commander in a faraway region. Bruno, his sister Gretel and his parents are compelled to relocate to Out-With, to a much smaller house, forsaking family and friends, and sacrificing
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Found this in a charity shop and couldn't put it down.
So sad. Really loved it.
Had no idea it would end how it did.
Feb 06, 2009 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.
A powerful concept, but very poorly written (even allowing for the young adult target audience) - and one of a tiny number of books 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
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
quick reread because, lets face it, im high-key obsessed with john boyne. this is my seventh JB book in less than a month. when i hit my tenth, someone please stage an intervention. lol.

i first read this years ago, so i forgot just how innocent the perspective of this story is. which i think makes it even more haunting. we, as humans, are not born with hatred; its something we learn and acquire throughout life. and what a horrible thing that is. to see how carefree a child can be in the most
Dec 01, 2010 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
When I was very young, I lived in Romania. Because there was past drama in my family, I had three grandmothers and two grandfathers. I was close to two of my grandmothers and one of my grandfathers, because they lived near my mother, brother, stepfather and I.

The other couple, I only saw during summers. They lived in the country, where there was no indoor bathroom, no internet, no chocolate and no sense of community (that I felt at the age of six).

Every morning, I would wake up from the best of
Nandakishore Varma
Apr 21, 2015 rated it did not like it

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

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 story
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: A Childhood in Hungary 1939-1944

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit

A Day of Pleasure: Stories of a Boy Growing Up in Warsaw

And of course for more mature students, I recommend Anne
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4000-books
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
Nov 08, 2008 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?
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 ...more
Julia Miller
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am bawling my eyes out. John Boyne, thank you for writing this. I‘ve read many books about the Holocaust (I‘m German so I have been confronted with this topic from very early on) and this is by far my favorite one. I love the bond Schmuel and Bruno share and Bruno‘s innocence. While reading some particular scene I‘ve felt terribly guilty of what my country once has done. I wish I could undo all the horrible things that happened to innocent people ( including all people who were affected by ...more
Al Bità
Mar 17, 2009 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
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Evolution of Reading The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

I read this book back in circa 800 AD before online reviews were a thang. I figured since I'm trying to read every Boyne book I should reread this one. Thanks a lot, Self.
Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
You can read this and all of my reviews at Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine.

Since I am the last of the 4.357 gagillion readers out there to read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, I won’t rehash what can be read in the blurb and I’m going to limit my review to the few points I found to be most important.

This is a YA novel and the easy, simple way in which it is written really punctuates one of the main themes; the innocence and naiveté of children.

At times I felt Bruno was a bit of a spoiled turd. I then felt
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“What exactly was the difference? He wondered to himself. And who decided which people wore the striped pajamas and which people wore the uniforms?”

I picked this because I heard a lot of good things about the author’s writing and I like the book’s name but I did not know what it is about. I did not even read the synopsis!

The writing was light hearted and I think having the book revolving about Bruno was a great idea! The innocence of the young did reach
Reading Tam Ishly
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*rating: 4/5
Real easy to start and finish in one sitting.

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 loved the fact that this book made me love some of the characters so much as well as hate a few hateful characters to the core.
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
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.
jv poore
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.
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
J-Lynn Van Pelt
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
“Bruno had read enough books about explorers to know that one could never be sure what one was going to find. 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).”

A remarkable, simply told ‘fable’, as the title says – a parable about a boy who realises if he wants answers to
Jul 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before the film, the stage play and now the ballet…came the original novel.

‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ is a challenging story and at times difficult to read, due to the subject matter and the manner in which it is portrayed. This is a compellingly original and extremely well-conceived and written book.

Without wishing to give anything away to anyone who has not yet read ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ – this is the story of Bruno, a 9 year old boy growing up in Germany at the time of WWII
Jan Rice
(Originally reviewed on March 28, 2017)
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
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
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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 ten novels for adults and five for young readers, as well as a collection of short stories.

“Sitting around miserable all day won't make you any happier.” 471 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.” 324 likes
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