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TOP 100 REVIEWERon October 15, 2014
This is an unforgettable and a small wonder of a book. A Holocaust drama that explores the horror of WW11 seen through the eyes of Bruno, the eight year old son of the commandant at a concentration camp called “Out With” and of a Jewish inmate of the same age called Shmuel.

The strength is in the narrative which mires the preoccupations of child’s curiosity and interest in the high-wired compound inhabited by sad people in striped pyjamas. It is an effortless read that puts us directly into Bruno’s and Shmuel’s worldview.

Bruno is an explorer by heart and after doing so around the house he decides to do some of the area. After an hour or so he discovers Shmuel, a boy behind the fence in the camp. They start to talk about their life and every day they meet at the same spot. Till one day, Shmuel’s father goes missing and Bruno wants to help his friend find him. He changes into the striped pyjamas, climbs under the fence and explores Shmuel’s world……

This fabrication of the author’s imagination is elegantly written and very moving. Although not particularly graphic or dark it will nevertheless leave a deep impact in any reader’s minds. Mr. Boyne is a master in depicting the setting and capturing the character’s emotions. The style is meant for the eyes of Young people therefore it may seem a bit simplistic for grown-ups, so with this in mind be prepare to read a sanitised version of the period, one with little historical significance and enjoy it for what it is.
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Story Description:

Random House Children's Books | October 23, 2007 | Trade Paperback

Berlin 1942.

When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

My Review:

Bruno is nine-years-old when he arrives home from school one day to find the maid, Maria packing up the belongings in his room. He becomes very upset and demands to know what is going on when his mother comes into the room and asks him to meet her downstairs in the dining room. Bruno is so anxious that he speeds past his mother and his waiting for her downstairs before she even has a chance to step off the first stair. She tells Bruno that his father has received an important promotion and they must leave Berlin and move to another city and live in another house. Bruno, of course, is quite upset as he doesn't want to leave his beloved home nor his three best friends. His mother assures him that things will be alright and that the whole family including: Bruno; his twelve-year-old sister, Gretel; their father; the maid, Maria; the butler, Lars; and Cook will all be moving together.

When they arrive at the new house Bruno is very disappointed as it sat almost in the middle of nowhere with no other homes nearby nor markets or stores. All Bruno can see from the window of his new bedroom is a fence with barbed wire on top, some huts in the distance, and older men, younger men, and boys all wearing the same grey striped pajamas and grey striped cap with soldiers watching them. He doesn't even know what his father's job is.

What is this place and what could possibly be his father's job working with all these dirty, filthy people all dressed the same? He wants to be an explorer so decides to go for a walk. He follows the fence along for quite a distance until he comes to a piece of fencing where he sees a small boy. The boy approaches the fence and he and Bruno and make introductions and begin talking. The boy's name is Shmuel, he is the same age as Bruno and even shares the same birthday. During an entire year, naïve Bruno brings his new friend bread, cheese and cake most days as the boy doesn't have enough to eat.

One day Bruno is told by his father that his mother, Gretel and Bruno will be returning to Berlin while he stays and continues working at the same job. He tells Bruno that it is no place to raise children and he'd be much happier back in Berlin. Bruno is devastated, he doesn't want to go back to Berlin now because he doesn't want to leave Shmuel but they plan to have a last day together like no other bringing the story to a crashing end! I was totally taken aback at the ending and didn't expect it at all.

John Boyne has written a book about nine-year-olds that isn't for nine-year-olds as it says on the back cover of the novel. Don't miss this one people, it'll surprise you and break your heart so have some kleenex standing by. Beautifully and hauntingly written.
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on February 26, 2008
Words cannot describe how amazing this book is. A short read, but it has a huge impact on the reader. I had to read the ending twice, because I just couldn't believe it. I was shocked, and stunned. It should be a compulsory read, especially for young adults. This book should go hand and hand with "Night" by Eli Weisel. I wish I could give in 10 stars because it really deserves it. My local book store has it on the "16 books you should read before you die" list. Honestly, you want a fast read that is simply amazing...GO BUY THIS BOOK!
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on May 30, 2013
Authors who can make me cry about thier books are simply the best authors. This book is one book that made me cry. My expiriences with this book was truelly amazing.
Although I laughed at some of the situations that I read about I know realize that there was nothing to laugh about since the book is actually very sad in the end.
Many Jews were killed in this concentration camp and we know that it is horrible to think of all the things Hitler did but we need to know about all these things.
Here is a poem that I wrote myself about Concentration Camps

Concentration Camps
O what a shame
Never any pity from those nasty Germans
Can we even express the horrible deeds done
Even we know that Jews are not animals
Not fair or even civelized
Truelly horrible
Ready to die?
Actually stupidity
Tired People
Inclosed in a fence
Opposite of nice
Never do something like it!
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on August 8, 2011
This book doesn't just introduce you to Bruno, it arrests your mind and places you into his world. Written from the perspective of a naive nine year old boy, the book drew me back to when I was nine and the way that I thought about, and struggled with, things too great and too evil for an innocent mind to comprehend.

Boyne's writing style is perfect to convey a childs thoughts and emotions at one of the darkest times in human history. Those who say otherwise, I feel, have missed the point (and therefore the beauty) of this book entirely. It truly brought me back to when I was a young lad. It gave me goosebumps, it made me laugh, and it serves as a warning of the evil that is possible when (to quote Edmund Burke) "good men do nothing."

I recommend "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" as an easy and thought-provoking read and guarantee that it will be rewarding to anyone, no matter their age or depth of study.
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on August 25, 2007
What an incredible story! John Boyne has created innocent, naïve Bruno and given him a powerful story to tell. This moving book should be required reading for everyone.

Set in the 1940's in Berlin, Germany, the story centers around a nine-year-old German boy named Bruno. His family leaves Berlin to move to the country because his father has been reassigned by the "Fury." Bruno's youth and innocence has protected him from the harsh realities of Hilter and his reign of terror.

Life in the country is dull and boring for Bruno. He doesn't understand his new home, "Out-With." He's left his friends behind and doesn't like the smaller house he's forced to live in with his parents and his sister. Missing the hustle and bustle of the city, Bruno begins to explore his new surroundings. Beyond the fence near his house, he sees people, but is confused by their strange striped pajamas and their sad demeanor.

Bruno's loneliness is somewhat relieved when he becomes friends with a boy on the other side of the fence. They meet daily and exchange comments about their daily lives, but neither fully understands the circumstances of the other.

Boyne presents a story about the Holocaust like none other before. He brings tragedy to life through the eyes of innocent children. Readers of all ages will be spellbound until the last page and beyond.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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on August 8, 2006
I reommend this book highly. It should be compulsory reading for everyone. A poignant story of a nine year old boy whose father is the commandant for the German army and lives next to the concentration camp, but doesn't really know what it is or what his father's real job is. He meets a boy the same age from the concentration camp and is a heartrending story of their friendship and family situations.
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on January 14, 2007
This is a fiction book geared towards 9- to 12-year-olds. The reader gradually learns who the hero of the book is, through his recalling recent events in his family's move from Berlin to "Out-With".The plot is fairly interesting and the character development not too bad. The author should have continuously reminded himself, though, that he should be speaking and thinking like a 9-year-old. Too many times he puts words and thoughts into little Bruno's mouth and head that no 9-year-old would have in his vocabulary. And so many of the expressions are British/Irish, not German. Like telling his friend to put on a "jumper" when he is cold. The book needs a good editing, to remove these kinds of inaccuracies. There was also puerile use of repetition. I thought I would close the book at one point if the author used the phrase "Hopeless Case" one more time to refer to Bruno's older sister, or the description of his father's office as being "Out of Bounds At All Times And No Exceptions". What is the point of all this capitalization? Is he trying to sound like A.A. Milne's "Winnie the Pooh"? I realize it is difficult to come down to a child's level when trying to teach something as horrible as the Holocaust, and the author tried. I much preferred books by Carol Matas (Lisa's War, After the War), Lois Lowry (Number the Stars) for fictional accounts, and such ones as Daniel's Story for non-fiction.
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on June 25, 2012
Wow, this book is just... wow. I didn't want to put it down. I think the author did an amazing job at telling the story through Bruno's eyes. The fact that he wasn't really aware of what was really going on between the Nazi's and the Jews was so... real. I loved Bruno and Shmuel's friendship. The end was sad but perfect. I love this book.
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on March 18, 2016
I may have come to this book late in the day, but there's no arguing, it's a classic. As an adult reader, I found it very moving and the concept behind the narrative fresh and creative. I'd love to hear young readers talk about the book and the ideas it inspires in them.
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