Author: John Boyne
Published: September 12, 2006
Page Count: 224
My Rating: 4/5
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas has been getting quite a bit of hype (which I think is deserved… but I’ll get there later) which makes me believe that most of you know the general story, so I’ll give as short a summary as I can. Bruno is nine years old, his father holds a very important job in Nazi Germany, and one day the family learns that they are going to pack up and move to the Auschwitz concentration camp where Bruno’s father will be working. Bruno hates his new home, doesn’t have any friends, and is bored most of the time. But one day, he decides to go exploring (although he was expressly forbidden not to) and he finds a large fence. On the other side of said fence is another nine-year-old boy just like him – only this boy lives a very different life than Bruno; this boy is a Jew, and him and the rest of his family are prisoners in the concentration camp.
That’s a lot of information; more information than the book summary gives but I don’t think any of it spoils the plot at all. I knew all of the above going in and the book was still fantastic for me.
So, like I said above, the book was fantastic. It was less heavy than I expected – the prose is simple, the story moves along smoothly and isn’t nearly as depressing as I expected. It was easy for me to get lost in the book and read it in one sitting. On the other hand, the entirety of the story itself is pretty huge. I mean – the theme is major, the setting is about as dark as it can get, and the way the book ultimately ends up is … I don’t know… just, wow. I closed the book and just sat there thinking for several minutes – I had to absorb what I had just read. It’s a great book with a very important message and I think everyone should read it. Overall, I loved the book.
My one complaint is that I totally didn’t believe Bruno. He was too naive, too uneducated for a nine-year-old, especially for a child with a parent of such high status in the government. Although this is kind of a big flaw, in my opinion, because Bruno is the entire focus of the book, it didn’t take away too much from the story. At least for me, the book was more than good enough to make up for this one aspect to the book that I had an issue with.
I’d really just like to cut the review short right here and encourage you to read this book. It will not disappoint. I don’t want too many preconceived ideas about it floating around because it’s better to just read and see what happens. The book is marketed as YA but I highly recommend it for anyone over the age of twelve or so.
More reviews –
- Suey at It’s All About Books
- Raych at Books I Done Read
- Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea
- Jessica at The Bluestocking Society
- Christina at Reading Through the Night
- Michelle at A Reader’s Respite
- Susan at Bloggin’ ’bout Books
- Matt at A Guy’s Moleskine Notebook
- Tricia at Library Queue
- Charley at Bending Bookshelf
- Natasha at Maw Books Blog
- Stephanie at Stephanie’s Written Word