Monday, 11 April 2011

The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas - John Boyne

Pajamas I know but it was the best size
I felt like I haven't done a review post in ages but now I have some time to do one, here it is!
I have read this book once before after being recommended it and reading it and probably not understanding it fully. I haven't seen all the movie of it but the bit I have seen - the first hour - was amazing and really went with the book and stayed quite true to it. I don't know what the ending it like for the movie as it was over a series of History lessons and I happened not to be in the last one where they showed that :(

Synopsis: (from the Blurb) The story of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is very difficult to describe. Usually we give some 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.
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. Fences like this exist all over the world. We hope you never have to cross such a fence.

Review: Okay so a little mean to have a very vague outline of the plot but I wanted those who haven't read this book or maybe even heard of it so get a sense of what the writing is like and how I found the book. That blurb made me pick the book up and buy it.
I love this book. If you read it without hearing/seeing any reviews, you would think 'Oh my god, this is such a kids book, the way it's written is so simple.' and yes, it is written very easy and simply with no vivid descriptions or complicated sentences and a lot of things my English teacher would be shouting at me to not do in my writing but still, that's what makes it so great.

John Boyne has successfully made the writing simple like a nine-year-old boy is writing/speaking it and adding these little sentences such as repeating small things much like a child would do at that age but also keep it in third person and make sense and make it interesting. So it's like a story made for nine-year-olds with a very serious topic behind it.

Set during World War II and in the early 40's, it shows what life was like being in the family of one of the Nazi leaders and favourites of Hitler, much like Chocolate Cake with Hitler was. It's interesting to see the difference between life in Berlin and life at 'Out-With'. That's another thing with the whole nine-year-old thing. Bruno refers to Hitler as 'The Fury' instead of the 'Fuhrer' and then where they live as 'Out-With' instead of, I'm guessing, 'Auschwitz' in Poland. Auschwitz is one of the main and most famous concentration camps of the Nazis which were set up to exterminate all Jews who were seen as racially unpure and would take over the world if not killed. They would be worked to death or gassed on mass if they weren't needed anymore.
At the end of the novel, it poignantly ends with 'Of course all this happened a long time ago and nothing like this could ever happen again. Not in this day and age.' This, I find, is very meaningful. I mean, you suppose we learn about the Nazis so there isn't a repeat in History of this but the Rwanda Genocide? The continuous murders we hear of on the news constantly? 9/11 and 7/7 bombings? Something like that would never happen right?

This book maybe boringly rambles on until leaving the killer punch until the last final pages. The final pages really do hit home and I gasped loudly when I read them, even though I knew about it. It is truly unexpected and unprepared for. If you could read any book this mouth, just read this one - you should love it.

I give it a 5 out of 5

Author's Website:
Pages: 216
Publisher: Random House
Challenges: British Books Challenge, Historical Fiction Challenge
Similar Books: Chocolate Cake With Hitler - Emma Craigie


  1. I rececntly re-read this book in school, the whole class was reading it in English.
    I think your review was very acuurate, it represented the book amazingly!
    MY little claim to fame is that my Nana lives on the smae road John Boyne grew up on, and she knows his mum :)

  2. I should really read this. It has been such a huge hit. But I always find stories about the Holocaust so sad. Great review.

  3. They are sad as you know they're true and it actually happened.
    This is nice as it isn't as obvious and gruesome and only hints at the things that happened during the Holocaust.
    Thank You :)

  4. Amy: Oh really? hah!
    oh thank you too, I appreciate it, I'm glad you liked it.
    It is a good book. A couple of years ago, my school recommended we read it too to go with what we were learning in History.


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