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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

A Fable

by John Boyne

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2006, 224 pages
    Oct 2007, 240 pages

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There are currently 69 reader reviews for The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
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Pablo (01/05/11)

Problems With the Boy
John Boyne’s novel The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was lacking some important attributes that most good books usually have. Firstly, he used irritatingly simple language. The simplicity of it interrupted the flow of the reading and took away from what the book was actually about. Secondly, the main character, Bruno, was supposed to be young and innocent, but the author didn’t achieve the balance between innocence and unintelligence. No nine year-old could possibly know that little about what was going on. Even if he was sheltered by his parents he might have perceived that there was something going on. The third thing that the book was lacking was what the story was about. A well to-do German family that has family problems is not what grabs a reader’s interest. Weather or not there was an underlying message about life or something, the book was boring and slow moving, going to great lengths to describe unnecessary details.
   The simple language was definitely a big problem. While reading this, a person might find themselves getting bored simply because the words used are simplistic and from a semi-retarded nine year-old’s point of view. This simplicity took away from what the author was trying to say and it made it hard to finish or enjoy the book. The use of the word “Out-With” instead of ‘Auschwitz’ though appropriately childish, was over used and it got old fast. The same thing happened with the author’s use of ‘fury’ instead of Fuhrer, causing the seriousness and significance of that name to disappear.
   Bruno’s innocence came with a price; the semblance of intelligence. Bruno probably could have figured some things out if he only sought after answers. Instead, he decided to accept everything for goodness, like Shmuel. Shmuel was mainly what brought Bruno to an end. Had Bruno stopped, thought about why the people on the other side of the fence looked unhealthy, unhappy and generally not too great to hang out with, he could have at least drawn the conclusion that he didn’t want to be like them. Instead he dresses up as one of them, ignoring the unclean clothes and the starving people, and goes right into the thick of a very very dangerous place. Ultimately this brings about his demise, as with many other stupid people.
   The story is a different story. People usually want to read about something interesting. Not that the book was especially uninteresting, it was just sort of bland. The story centered on a boy in a well to-do German family, and what he thinks is problematic. There were things going on around him, like his mother’s affair, the interment camp and how jews were being treated that were hinted at, but the majority of the story was about how a nine year-old processed things. Mainly what the story was lacking, was differentiation and unpredictability.
   Apparently, this book is meant for both young adults and adults. The simple language made it easier to read, while most of the really important stuff the author was saying was lost, because in order to comprehend the deeper messages, it required more thinking than the language used in the book suggested was necessary. The young adults will read it and not like it because they have to think too much and the story was semi-boring, and the adults will get irritated because of the language and Bruno’s obvious unintelligence and the simple language.
Catherine White (11/17/10)

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
This is an excellent book that shows the innocence of the people who were slaughtered by Hitler. Every school in the US should make this mandatory that all students of the appropriate age read this book or see this movie so this never happens again. My family and I have been to Dachau and have felt the horror. What a shame this even took place!
SAM (11/05/10)

Stripes and Stars (of David)
This is a book that is interesting on a number of levels. It isn’t particularly scholarly, nor is it intended to be. It isn’t particularly complete in the historical sense either. It isn’t intended to be. There are many things it isn’t – a novel, a children’s book, a short story. In fact, as a fable, I wasn’t even sure, initially, it did that very well. But, I changed my mind.

As a fable, this little book isn’t compelled to be thorough or complete. It needs only to take the moral, and the characters central to it, and make the point. So of course it doesn’t accurately name Auschwitz or the Fuehrer. It isn’t supposed to. And, so what if it doesn’t deal with the Nazi social hierarchy completely, excluding the other families and children who were actually there. It isn’t supposed to.

In the same sense, Bruno isn’t supposed to be an inquisitive, bright nine year old child – the moral to the story wouldn’t be as poignant if he was. In fact, the author employs the fable ingeniously in having Bruno, who as a nine year old could be more inquisitive and even worldly, remain completely naïve. If that is too much a leap for an average reader who doesn’t understand fable, then there is also an option to regard Bruno as impaired. Auschwitz could be Out-With, and the Fuehrer, the Fury, due to a speech impediment (he insists he is saying the same thing as his father and his sister at the various times they correct him) or another learning disability.

In a fable about Nazism generally, and Auschwitz specifically, that focuses on the Nazi instead of the Jew, there is really no redemption, either. In the end everyone is undone – Bruno, Schmuel, the Commandant, the wife, the perfect young Nazi Lieutenant, and the sister – and it’s interesting to see just how it happens.

The reader should be sure to finish, or begin, with the author’s note. There might be a tendency to discount this book otherwise.
6th Grader (11/03/10)

This story is too good for words. Not only does it teach you a lesson about life, but it also makes you stop and think of all of the people who died because of the Holocaust. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas also has a lot of hidden things inside of its pages. Bruno's mispronunciation of the words "Auschwitz" and "Fuhrer" Out-With and Fury are in the book because the author probably wanted the readers to consider them as double meanings. Think of it; Out-With was used because the author wanted to symbolize how the Jews were being killed. It's sort of like an old time movie line, "Out with them!". The Fury-Fuhrer connection is pretty obvious, I'll leave that one to you. Anyway, this is a really well written book! I'll never forget about it!
eugene (10/06/10)

the boy in the striped pajamas
As I am not much of a reader and only started reading of late, I started with this book and I would have to say the best book I ever read.
middle schooler (05/17/10)

Book Fan
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a nail-biting experience anyone would enjoy. Everyone has heard from the perspectives of adults of this tragic period of time, but Boyne goes beyond that. He writes from the innocent and naive point of view of a nine-year-old boy, Bruno. It has plenty of foreshadowing that always leaves you guessing.

The rising action may be a long one, but it contains much detail. The climax is a tragic one, but do not let that stop you from reading this book. I highly recommend it for everyone!
Anna (04/25/10)

Good book, must read
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is interesting and at the same time informing. I like to read non fiction but when a fictional story is based on a historical event, then its a win win situation. Overall The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a very good book. If you are wanting to get informed on Holocaust I suggest this book. One thing that you will need though, is background information about the Holocaust, not too much information, just the basics.
Baybyboi (04/21/10)

I think that this book is good because it gives an example of what the Jews went through in the time Hitler was in command.

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