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400 of 426 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A READ TO REFLECT ON
When I bought this book I wasn't sure what to expect; the blurb was very secretive about the content of the book. I was reading it with the thought of passing it on to my year 6 class, to try and lure them away from J.Wilson's teen-reads!
At first, it felt like a light read, for a book which says it isn't suitable for nine year olds; however, it becomes a lot darker...
Published on 8 April 2006

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The last two chapters were the best for me....
John Boyne is an Irish author, and although this is his fifth novel, it is his first book written for children. My initial reaction to this was that given the subject matter, I didn't think it was particularly appropriate for children. However, given that the back of the original book states "this isn't a book for nine-year olds", I take some comfort from it being...
Published on 23 Oct 2011 by Kirsty at Book - Love - Bug


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400 of 426 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A READ TO REFLECT ON, 8 April 2006
By A Customer
When I bought this book I wasn't sure what to expect; the blurb was very secretive about the content of the book. I was reading it with the thought of passing it on to my year 6 class, to try and lure them away from J.Wilson's teen-reads!
At first, it felt like a light read, for a book which says it isn't suitable for nine year olds; however, it becomes a lot darker the further you get into the story. As an adult, you can see beyond what the child sees and hears (this can be disturbing at times). I could not put this book down and read it in two days!
I won't spoil the ending for those who choose to buy it. The book as a whole left me thinking, which is a good thing. I am not sure if I would recommend it to the majority of my 11 year olds;however, I think a mature child would find it a thoughtful read.
I will be passing it on to one or two adults and children; I also think I may read it again in time I think a second reading may bring more subtext to the suface.
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171 of 187 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A parable that will stay with you..., 13 Sep 2008
By 
Michelle Moore (Dartford, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (Paperback)
I'm sure that this is a book that most people have now heard of, especially with the film now released. However, it's probably approached with as least pre-information as possible. I prefer the synopsis that the book originally had..

"The story of "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" is very difficult to describe. Usually we give some clues about the book on the cover, but in this case we think that would spoil the reading of the book. We think it is important that you start to read without knowing what it is about. If you do start to read this book, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy called Bruno. (Though this isn't a book for nine-year-olds.) And sooner or later you will arrive with Bruno at a fence. We hope you never have to cross such a fence."

It is listed as a children's book, but it's not for younger children, and it's certainly an adult book aswell. If you haven't yet read it, don't go searching the reviews, just pick up the book, and read it in the way it was intended.

The book is told in a simple manner, reflecting the innocence and naivety of Bruno. I believe it's meant to be read in the same way as a parable or fable, it's not meant to be a historically accurate text. To me, it was a simple, very effective piece of story telling, which brought me to a stand still, made me cry, and has stayed very much in my thoughts.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable novel about innocence and prejudice, 12 Sep 2008
By 
J. H. Bretts "jerard1" - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (Paperback)
I think this is a terrific book, one that crosses over the boundary between children and adult fiction to appeal very widely. However, it is still a very disturbing portrait of Nazi Germany, vividly showing how fascist ideology and a patriarchal culture twisted and distorted the world - and could do so again. The ending is as powerful as any I've read in a work of fiction. What prevents me giving it five stars through is that the author never completely convinced me that the nine year old son of a high ranking Nazi official living in Berlin could absorb so little of what was going on around him.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The last two chapters were the best for me...., 23 Oct 2011
This review is from: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (Paperback)
John Boyne is an Irish author, and although this is his fifth novel, it is his first book written for children. My initial reaction to this was that given the subject matter, I didn't think it was particularly appropriate for children. However, given that the back of the original book states "this isn't a book for nine-year olds", I take some comfort from it being written for slightly older children. Indeed, when I think back to my school days, we were taught about the Holocaust from a relatively young age in secondary school. John Boyne himself addresses this concern by saying that `I do feel that young readers can approach serious subjects like this if the stories are told in the right way and I tried to tell it in the right way' . I do agree with this, the story is told from Bruno's point of view, who at nine years old, is relatively nave and innocent. Therefore, although the story is tragic, it is not told in a particularly graphic way that would scar you for life.

It is certainly accessible to younger readers, but because the story is told by a child who doesn't understand the full extent (if at all) of what is happening around him, I think a prior knowledge of the Holocaust would be needed to really appreciate this book. Therefore, I'm not entirely convinced that the premise of this book being for younger readers isn't flawed. For example, Bruno mistakes Auschwitz for "Out-With" and refers to Hitler as "The Fury", instead of the Führer. None of these mistakes are explicitly corrected in the book, and the reader is presumed to be able to work it out themselves.

The book is 216 pages long, and printed in large text. For me, it was easily readable in one sitting. It certainly is young-person-friendly. The narrative is certainly in keeping with being written from a nine year olds perspective, but at points I did find it slightly forced. In particular, the repetition; I understand this is meant to add to the believability of the story being told by a chid but for me it felt a bit like the author had sat down and thought "now, how do I think like a nine year old". I wanted it to flow a little more.

I haven't seen the film, but did see the trailers which certainly made me realise the film (and book) would be a heart-breaking story. However, I am disappointed to say that the book didn't quite live up to expectations for me. Perhaps because I expected to be a bit more in depth and harrowing, and actually in comparison to these expectations, the book was quite light reading until the last few pages. Saying that, I am certainly not making light of the subject). In my opinion, nothing much really happens throughout the majority of the story (although it wasn't boring), until the last two chapters - which delivers a pretty strongly impacting twist which did make me gasp!

It certainly isn't realistic, it has some quite major flaws and it isn't historically accurate, and therefore if this sort of thing offends you then it's probably best you give it a miss. But if you can take it for what it is (and you've avoided the spoilers), it is worth a read if you have a spare couple of hours (even if for those last two chapters alone).
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164 of 187 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Judging a book by its cover, 9 Dec 2006
By 
Dr. James Austin (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have to confess, this is really a review of the cover of the book - specifically the creamy-beige softback edition. The book itself has been extensively reviewed elsewhere, and I, like many, found it superb.

The front inside flap of the hardcover edition reads as follows: "The story of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is very difficult to describe. Usually we give clues about the book on the jacket, but in this case we think that would spoil the reading of the book. We think it is important that you start to read without knowing what it is about............". The back flap contains a few terse details about John Boyne, and the back is blank.

I knew nothing about the book when I picked it up from a colleague at work, and began reading in exactly the frame of mind suggested above. I was soon immersed in the little-boy world of Bruno. It was soon evident from people's names that he was in Germany (or possibly Austria), and that his father was an important man; but apart from that, I knew as little about the external world as Bruno did; and so it continued for several pages, until gradually the context of the story became clearer.

To put the reader into the mindset of another person is a great literary skill, and John Boyne carries it off very well - reminiscent of Mark Haddon with "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time". Unfortunately, this paperback edition, rather like an over-excited child, insists on giving away both the context and a significant part of the plot on the back cover. I can't help feeling that Mr Boyne must have wept when he saw how his carefully-constructed narrative had been undermined by this clumsy piece of publishing.

I urge the reader to read no more reviews of this book, but to go out and buy (or order) the hardcover edition - the one with the blue stripes - and enjoy a fine and thought-provoking read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new classic, 7 April 2009
By 
titta (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (Paperback)
As mentioned in previous reviews, despite the simple language of the 9-year-old main character Bruno, this is not a book for children. However, I can easily see it becoming a new classic read for young adults (13-14), another great story to introduce the new generations to the appalling mistakes of the past.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Become a few years younger, 30 Nov 2007
By 
Terrez J. Price "Terrez" (UK/USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
When I read this book, at points it made me feel like I was a child again. It narrates all from a young boy's point of view and brings back memories on how one thought process worked back then. His misunderstandings and frustration come across well even though it is a short read.

At points I personally felt frustrated as I wanted to jump into the book and stop what was going on as the main character being youthfully naiveté draws you in.

It covers a very innocent friendship that leads to something more sinister. It makes you realize that the older we get, the more we focus on each others differences rather then the benifits we can bring to one another.

Pick it up, reads easy throughout.. Will go nicely with you on the daily commute or even a few pages here and there. Good read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read!, 24 Jan 2006
By A Customer
I could not put this book down and read it virtually in one sitting. It is a powerful book that grips you from the first few pages. Very well written and a powerful account from a child's perspective. I'm telling everyone to read it and have passed it without giving anything away! We shall be promoting it in our school library and I hope it is entered for the Carnegie Award - although it is for adults and children alike.
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46 of 53 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sadly the central figure is too implausible, 29 April 2007
By 
Ralph Blumenau (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
The subtitle of this book is `A Fable', and so I suppose we are not meant to look for too much realism in this Holocaust story. Possibly (so one review suggests) written for children, its subject matter is grim enough; but its tone, especially at the beginning, put me off: it is faux-naive and painfully arch; and there are too many unbelievable aspects of it. The central character is nine-year old Bruno. The first false note is struck when Bruno learns that `the Fury' has big things in mind for his father, who is a high-ranking member of the SS and is in fact being posted, with his family, from Berlin to become the Commandant at Auschwitz. Of course it is ludicrous that a nine-year old in Nazi Germany would have misheard - not just once but persistently - `the Fury' for the Führer or `Out-With' for Auschwitz (the puns don't work in German anyway). In 1943 a little German boy, especially one whose father was in the SS, would have been in the Pimpfen, the section of the Hitler Youth for six to ten year olds, where he would already have learnt to worship the Führer; he would have learnt the notion of the Fatherland, which in this novel seems to puzzle him; he would most likely have followed the campaigns of the German army on maps and would have known (as he doesn't) where Poland was; and he would already have become familiar, at least in the abstract, with the concept of Untermenschen - instead of which he doesn't even know what a Jew is, and, when his sister mentions the word, he asks her whether he and she were Jews! He had lived in the Commandant's house at Auschwitz for a whole year - and we are to believe that he had never heard the word!

Some parts of the book are a little more credible. A child would probably not have known what it was dangerous to say (though I have to say that, as a nine-year old myself in Nazi Germany, I did have a pretty good sense of that.) Many Germans, and especially children, would not have known of the horrors of the concentration camps and would have been as uncomprehending as Bruno was of what they saw: the ghost-like creatures on the other side of the barbed wire fence which separated the camp from the neat garden of the Commandant's house.

Bruno hates his new home. For one thing, there are no other children for him to play with. And then one day Bruno disobeys orders and goes `exploring' along the fence and at the far end and on the other side of it he meets Shmuel - the boy (of exactly the same age as Bruno) in the striped pyjamas - who is sitting there all on his own, and they meet at this spot and talk regularly thereafter for a year. Shmuel understands the difference between their situations well enough, but Bruno is impossibly naive and obtuse in picking up the meaning of what his new friend is telling him, though something tells him that he should not tell his family of these meetings. He remains innocent until the end.

Of course the heart of the author is in the right place; and he does convey the horror of the camps; but I could not suspend my disbelief in Bruno - and without that ability, the book did not work for me either as a fable or as a credible story, and so I have some reservation about this flawed way of dealing with the Holocaust.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving but amazing book!, 12 April 2014
This review is from: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (Paperback)
This book was fantastic! It shows that child innocence can be fatal! Bruno has no ides what Shmeul is going though on the other side of the fence and doesn't sympothise as much a he should because he doesn't understand.
I am 11 and I loved this book, it is one of the best I have ever read and I would fully recommend reading it!!!
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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (Paperback - 11 Sep 2008)
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