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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas Hardcover – 5 Jan 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 1,121 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 5 Jan 2006
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: David Fickling Books; 1st Edition - 1st Printing edition (5 Jan. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038560940X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385609401
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.5 x 20.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 587,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

John Boyne's The Boy in Striped Pyjamas will no doubt acquire many readers as a result of the subsequent film of the novel, but viewers of the latter would do themselves a favour by going back to the spare and powerfully affecting original book. Bruno is nine years old, and the Nazis’ horrific Final Solution to the ‘Jewish Problem’ means nothing to him. He's completely unaware of the barbarity of Germany under Hitler, and is more concerned by his move from his well-appointed house in Berlin to a far less salubrious area where he finds himself with nothing to do. Then he meets a boy called Shmuel who lives a very different life from him -- a life on the opposite side of a wire fence. And Shmuel is the eponymous boy in the striped pyjamas, as are all the other people on the other side of the fence. The friendship between the two boys begins to grow, but for Bruno it is a journey from blissful ignorance to a painful knowledge. And he will find that this learning process carries, for him, a daunting price.

A legion of books have attempted to evoke the horrors of the Second World War, but in this concise and perfectly honed novel, all of the effects that John Boyne creates are allowed to make a maximum impact in a relatively understated fashion (given the enormity of the situation here). The Boy in Striped Pyjamas is also that rare thing: a novel which can affect both children and adults equally; a worthy successor, in fact, to such masterpieces as To Kill a Mockingbird and The Catcher in the Rye -- both, of course, books, dealing (as does this one) with the loss of innocence. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"An account of a dreadful episode, short on actual horror but packed with overtones that remain in the imagination. Plainly and sometimes archly written, it stays just ahead of its readers before delivering its killer punch in the final pages"

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 8 April 2006
Format: Hardcover
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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Format: 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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback
I want to start by saying that I found this a very effective book, albeit a shade too emotionally manipulative.

John Boyne's central character of Bruno takes us through the upheaval of having his 'normal' life in Nazi Berlin upturned when his father is given a new and apparently highly pretigious job in a place Bruno calls 'Out-With'. Through flashbacks, we get the background to why this move is necessary and the effect that this has on Bruno's family. I think the flashback involving Bruno's grandmother is particularly well-handled as we are shown a woman deeply troubled by the path that her son (Bruno's father) has taken and finally driven to speak her mind.

'Showing rather than telling' is very much evident throughout the book, particularly when the focus shifts to what's going on in Out-With. Reading this as an adult, I'm uncertain as to how quickly a child would catch on to what is actually happening to Bruno and more particularly, his friend, Shmuel. I also think that the implied affair between Bruno's mother and the bullying Lieutenant Kolter is perhaps a shade too subtle and personally, I questioned its necessity for the plot (not least given the obvious age difference between those characters and because I wasn't quite convinced by the reaction of Bruno's father).

Where I do think that Boyne succeeds is conveying the horror of the violence without ever showing it on the page. This is particularly effective in the scene where Kolter takes out his rage and embarrassment at having revealed his father's disloyalty to the regime on Pavel, the Jewish doctor forced to wait on Bruno's family at dinner.
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