Customer Review

170 of 186 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A parable that will stay with you..., 13 Sep 2008
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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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Oct 2008 19:31:25 BDT
I really appreciate your review and agree with everything you have said- many thanks

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Oct 2008 12:45:12 BDT
Thank you for your comment. :0)

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Oct 2010 09:56:05 BDT
This book and everything surrounding it is a complete scandal. If someone wants to write a "fable" or an "allegorical story", they should have the decency to place their little literary experiment it in a different setting than the biggest genocide in human history. Then again it probably wouldn't sell. What Boyne has achieved here is to appeal to millions of people who have no real clue about the concentration camps and really don't want to know. They just want a sentimental little story that can make them weep at bedtime. Well, that's sweet enough in itself, but the story of the KZ camps is not a matter for sweetness, sorry.

What we need is for the Germans to start addressing these issues themselves.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Nov 2010 10:28:56 GMT
Last edited by the author on 9 Nov 2010 10:31:02 GMT
L. A. Rogers says:
I think this response to someones book review is very ignorant and arrogant. If you don't like the book then say so. And what basis are you making these claims on? Have you yourself visited concentration camps? Have you sat in German history lessons in Germany and been taught about the Nazis and that this must never ever be allowed to happen again? I have. The Germans are not proud of their history and that is what it is - history.

The book in itself is excellent. If you were not told that the family some from Germany in 1942 woud you have read through the lines and filled in the gaps as you went? 10% of the story is in the book, the other 90% is in your head which is what makes it so unique and at the same time terrfiying. I would recommend this book to anyone, but do what I did - don't read any reviews first. Just let the book do the talking.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Nov 2010 14:43:55 GMT
To L.A. Rogers.

What I was trying to say was that if a German had written this novel it would be something totally different, much stronger and a lot less sentimental. But though there have been German books and films about WWII, some of them very good, they have not tried to get to the core of what happened in the KZ camps.

If you have any doubts about just how wrong this books gets it, read some of the debates surrounding it here on Amazon. It is a complete disgrace and cheap exploitation of the misery of others.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Sep 2011 02:20:50 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Sep 2011 02:22:08 BDT
P.T. says:
I too have visited former KZ camps and studied (at length) the history of nazi atrocities and genocide and can only agree wholeheartedly with Phillip S. Walker's synopsis of the review. Although I wouldn't go so far as to say that the modern Germans aren't addressing the issues raised in the book, in my experience they are, with the former camps being well preserved, annotated and accessible and rememberance centres and ceromonies being maintained. My only concern in modern Germany is the insistence that the Nazis alone, seemingly unaided and unsupported by the general populace, committed the genocide. It doesn't sit well with many modern Germans that their recent forebears might have even been aware of what was happening in concentration camps.

The naivety of the main character, given his family and age, is totally implausible, as is the nature in which the security of the camp is described. The historical facts surrounding the story make it totally unrealistic and there are far better and more tragic accounts of the time in question that were written by eye-witnesses and survivors, furthermore they are accurate. This book, however easy to read and accessible it may be, falls flat when the reader has even a passing understanding of the history of Nazi death camps and the politics of the time. This leads me to agree that this book is a mere exploitation of the true events - As the old saying goes "never let the truth get in the way of a good story" - An adage that John Boyne has most certainly taken to heart in this case.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Mar 2012 01:56:15 GMT
Last edited by the author on 20 Mar 2012 02:04:17 GMT
Mr. TC Kong says:
Your comment is totally crass and quite absurd (as well as being a verbatim copy of your response to someone else's review of the book - and NOBODY found your comment helpful in that thread!). As a fable or allegorical story, the Holocaust is an ideal setting for such a story. Although, as John Boyne, himself, has pointed out, this is not an historical account, the point of the story is that such things DID happen (albeit in far more gruesome, horrific and attrocious detail than could be portrayed in a book aimed at such a wide audience, and it is the RESPONSBIBILITY of each successive generation to BE AWARE of such attrocities, and TAKE ACTION to see that it does not happen again! And that is the message that John Boyne was trying to get across in this story.
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Michelle Moore

Location: Dartford, United Kingdom

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