The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

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 strange people he can see 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 to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

This was a book that left me with mixed feelings. On one hand, I did like reading the book. I liked the concept of the book. Bruno’s innocence as the atrocities happened around him and his tragic friendship with Shmuel was heart-rending. It was a grim reminder of the tragedy that was the Holocaust. Also I’ve heard a lot of criticism about how Bruno seemed much younger than his age, I do think it is possible that he was merely an immature child.

On the other hand, it did not seem like the author even tried to make it accurate or realistic. And though it has been touted as a children’s’ book, I wouldn’t recommend it to actual children. Maybe older or more mature children who have some knowledge about the Holocaust. I felt that the seriousness of the situation did not really come across through the pages the way it should have when dealing with a matter like this.

Overall rating: 3.5/5

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One thought on “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

  1. Yeah I do think it’s fair to give this to slightly older children- that way you’ll have more of an awareness of what’s going on. I read this when I was still a child, but not too young to not be aware of the basic facts, which made it even creepier as I slowly realised what was happening. (It also helped me overlook the voice and I didn’t worry about the child’s age cos I was still young enough not to worry about that tbh)

    Liked by 1 person

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