Bill's Reviews > The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
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's review
Feb 17, 2008

did not like it

** spoiler alert ** Monica Edinger said: ** spoiler alert ** I don't see the point of this book at all. Doesn't work as an allegory, a fable, or anything else. The boy (both boys, for that matter) are naive beyond belief. The German boy's misuse of language is completely not credible. Want to give a kid a book on this topic? Anne Frank.

I added: Completely agree, Monica. What I find so distressing is how many educators are making this part of the curriculum. They think it is a great and oh-so-moving book and are working hard to convince kids of the same.
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02/27 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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Monica Edinger Part of the curriculum? Oh no! Let me talk to them, poor misguided folk.

message 2: by Bill (new) - rated it 1 star

Bill I wish you could. I'll find out more in my class Thursday night, but one school librarian was telling me about how this was happening in a school she knows. And if it is happening in one, you know it's happening in more than that.

Amber I don't mean to offend you by disagreeing with you, but the chances of most kids reading Anne Frank is slim. I've only met three people who have actually been able to get through it, and no one who has actually enjoyed it.

message 4: by Ruth (new)

Ruth Mcdermott Hi there

I noticed you have some strong views about The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which makes you an ideal person for me to ask if you would you like to put a question to John Boyne himself about his book? BBC World Book Club is interviewing him on Tuesday 23rd February and would love to hear from you. If you could email me at as soon as you can with your question about the book (anything - doesn't have to be particularly clever!), we can either arrange for you to talk to the man himself, or have our presenter put your question to John for you. Then you get to hear your question on World Service Radio!Why in particular are you worried about it going on the school's syllabuses? It is on many syllabuses in England.

Please get in touch soonest, including where you are in the world.

Thanks, and all the best.

Ruth McDermott, BBC World Book Club

message 5: by Min (new) - rated it 2 stars

Min Amber, I don't think Anne Frank is a book you're meant to enjoy, just learn from.

message 6: by Brian (new)

Brian Kotler I have to say that as a Jew who lost his marriage and children as a direct result of 3 weeks of being brainwashed blind Anti-Semitic hatred, I'm most insulted by your statement about how naive Bruno had to be. You said made it sound as if he should have known everything about the Holocaust at the age of 9.

But mind you, during the Holocaust Germany had a population of about 80,000,000 -- of which only 500,000 were Jewish. That is one per every 160 Germans. In the US, we number about 10 times that.

And there were many adults, even grandparents, that were clueless to the ravages that were taking place behind those electrified barbed wires. Or at the very least didn't care.

I first saw this movie and have since bought the book and will begin reading it to him. It's a more relatable story for male Tweens than The Diary of Anne Frank for a boy to begin learning about the way we were -- and to this day still are, even in churches.

My three children and I have suffered firsthand every for over two years, with no end in sight. And my ex-wife and her mother have denied it hundreds of times since. Heck, I can send you an email correspondence just a couple days again where religion is still a huge issue.

I guess that's what about 20 hours in a church that spouts hate will do to you. My 9-year old stepson yelled toward me, "Attack the Jew " while my ex called me a "Bad Jew" in front of all the children. I could go on with pages of examples worse than these. IN THREE WEEKS!!!! We were happily married for 6 years without ONE word about religion.

This is a very sensitive topic, especially for children just starting to learn about the topic, and I'm sorry that you so callously rejected a wonderful attempt to give young readers alternative methods to expose themselves to an EXTREMELY horrific piece of VERY recent history so as to never forget.

If you think there are places you want to be in the world today, watch a little YouTube and put yourself in the shoes of those innocent men, women, and children. Never in the history of the history of the world has there ever been mass murder, torture, starvation, and disease than what the 57th member of the Nazi Party, The Fury led.

Lesley i hhhave to say that of course both boys were naive and innocent because back then many did try to hide the reality of war from the kids. Also kids that age were more innocentminded than any 9 yr old nowadays that has 200 channels of Tv.Internet. text messages.opossum. video games etc. I want to read this book because the movie wad so so profound and I always like the books better. I saw the movie 3 times and each time see something to think about.

Maurício Rodriguez Come on.. fictional books have no need to be attached to reallity like it is. We are talking about fantasies here. I would say this is a good fantasie book, just like Life is Beutiful is a realy good movie

message 9: by Denise (new)

Denise I'm from Germany and I have to read this book in school ( 10th grade ) and our teacher doesn't treat this book like it is fiction. He actually tries to make us believe that this is exactly how the situation was back then.

We have to answer questions like " why do you think the kids back then didn't know what was going on - why don't you think their parents have never told them ? " and when our teacher asks those questions he isn't necessarily talking about the book

Like what the hell .. Of course in real life the kids know what was going on. Some of them experienced it first hand.
There are so many people who get the reality and this fictional story completely mixed up.

( i don't really know if anyone understood what I was going for with this comment / sorry for my horrible English - I'm learning :D )

message 10: by Kirk Kirklen (new)

Kirk Kirklen whaaatthe

Melissa To Denise: The Jewish kids experienced it first-hand, the other children probably didn't know what was going.

Heck, most of the world didn't know what Hitler was doing when he came into rule.

I agree that this book isn't gonna teach much about what happened during the Holocaust.

I think that it still is a great book, even if it doesn't tell about what happened during that time. That's why most teachers will have you read Anne Frank (book or play).

Maddy Hall I have read the book on several of occasions, starting from year 5. I loved every minute of the novel and all the vital lessons and messages that it has to offer, especially for young readers. I love the connection that grows between him and the Jewish boy as the story unfolds. I have to read it next term for my year nine English essay and I cannot wait. The book is a cracker and I strongly recommend it to all age groups, especially those who are interested in war, history and fighting for your country. Also, the film is just as good, but I still prefer the novel as it offers more to readers.

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