Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Copyright: 2006
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Genre: YA
Pages: 216
Challenges: War Through the Generations, Young Adult Challenge
New-to-me author? yes
Author's website

Simple Description
This story is told from the point of view of a 9 year old boy named Bruno. Bruno comes home from school one day to find his maid packing all his clothes and other belongings. When he asks his Mom about it, he is told that his Dad received a promotion at work and therefore they have to move. They are to move away from Berlin, the only home Bruno has known. His father has been given the title of Commandant. Before Bruno knows it, they have moved to a place that his sister tells him is called Out-With. They live in a small house, small by Bruno's standards anyway however close to their house is another compound. From his window Bruno can see that there are a lot of other huts/buildings even smaller than his new house and lots of people. There is a fence surrounding this compound too. Bruno doesn't see any women, but he can see a lot of men and boys. He does find it interesting that they wear their pajamas all day, they are grey striped pajamas. Sometimes Bruno wishes he could wear his pajamas all day.

One day when Bruno is bored he decides to go exploring. He walks down the road, alongside the fence. After about an hour he sees a boy sitting by the fence. The boy is wearing the stripped pajamas and is on the other side of the fence. Bruno learns that he isn't in Germany, the Fatherland, anymore. He is in Poland. The boy is Polish and he was taken from his home against his will too. During the year that Bruno lives at Out-With, he visits the boy almost every day –weather permitting. The boy in the striped pajamas and Bruno forge a friendship.

There's more but I don't want to spoil it or give anything away, so I'm just going to stop there.

Now what you really want to know…my thoughts:
So hopefully from the clues you have realized that Bruno's father is in the German army during WWII. He is made Commandant of Auschwitz. The reason I didn't come out and say that in my description is because the way I did it, is the way you get it from Bruno. Bruno at times seems naïve. But you have to remember that he was young, his parents didn't explain what was going on in the world and what exactly his Dad did for a living. Plus it was a different time then, it was the media age that it is now. All Bruno knows is that he is taken from a home he loves and brought to a home where there are no other boys to play with and city to explore. He doesn't realize exactly what it is his father is doing and what is going in the concentration camp that is right by his house. However that is what makes this story so powerful! The story is told from a totally different point of view than what we normally get. It's told from a kids point of view, the way a kid experiences what is going on and understands what is going on.

I thought this was a very good book and recommend it to others. If you like reading books about WWII, then pick this one up. It's different from any other WWII book I have read. It is sad at the end, but it's worth the read. Now I was expecting something like what happened in the end, but that was due to reading other reviews and people talking about it. So I wasn't shocked but I know others who were.

This book has also been reviewed by:
Confessions of a Book Addict
Reading Through the Night

Have you reviewed this book on your blog? Leave me a comment to let me know and I'll link it below.

Happy Reading and thanks for stopping by……Kris


Thoughts of Joy said...

I thought this was very good, too. Writing from Bruno's perspective was a great approach.

Unknown said...

Thoughts of Joy - It was a great approach, really makes you think about what the times. I'm so glad others recommended this one to me.

bermudaonion said...

I really liked this one too - the ending totally blew me away.

Unknown said...

Bermudaonion - I was expecting something like that..but was still surprised by exactly what happened. I can't wait to see the movie now.

Lover of Books said...

I have this one on my list of books to read. Waiting to get it from the library.

christina said...

I read this book back in March and reviewed it

Have you seen the movie yet? I haven't, even though the movie trailer was what led me to the book.

I have to admit, the ending surprised me completely. I found myself shouting inside my head, "No! No! No!". *shiver*

Anna said...

I haven't read the book, but I've seen the movie. It made me cry. I might decide to read the book at some point; maybe when I forget the details.

We've posted your review on War Through the Generations.

Diary of an Eccentric