Helllllllo readers, bit of a different review today. I went home at the weekend and I was looking at my bookshelves, and there were so many books I just haven’t commented on, or said anything about and some of them are definitely books that need to be talked about – so here I am. Today’s book is one I know that has been reviewed over and over, but I’m here today – reviewing it just for you.
“Powerful and unsettling. . . . As memorable an introduction to the subject as The Diary of Anne Frank.” —USA Today
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 to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people 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 from his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.
As the blurb suggests the book follows a 9-year-old German boy whose father is a high-ranking solider in the SS, who decides to move his family to a house outside of the horror camp that was Auschwitz. As Bruno explores his home and the camp he becomes friends with a boy on the other side of the fence. The book follows the journey and the story of the two, and their unusual friendship.
So, did I enjoy this (using enjoy as a term of how good the book was.) It’s a really tough subject to talk about and I did and didn’t enjoy this book. The first problem comes with Bruno; he’s a very difficult character to warm to, and yet he’s our main character. Despite living so close to the camp and being the age he is, he has no idea of the camp, and what it’s there for, and his innocence or ignorance towards even the word Jew was a little difficult to imagine. Especially as he continues to befriend the boy in the camp, he doesn’t seem to understand the danger, and the terror on the other side of the fence.
So, what did I think. I think overall this is a book to create an impact and I think it definitely did. I mean the number of reviews on Goodreads are incredible and the changes of opinion are also incredible. Some love the book, some find the historical inaccuracies difficult to overlook. For me it hits a 3/3.5 stars because I did enjoy reading it, but something didn’t quite sit right with me.
10 thoughts on “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne”
I keep meaning to borrow this book from the library, but the film traumatised me enough, I don’t think I could cope with the book.
I haven’t seen the film but that reaction has popped up a couple of times now – was it really good but horrible to watch? Or not good and still horrible to watch?
Really good but horrible especially at the end.
Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
I read the book and saw the film both of which made a huge impression on me. Here is a review from Lizzy Baldwin.
Thank you so much for sharing 😀 😀 😀
This sounds a gripping read. Great review. 🙂
Glad you liked the review! I really enjoyed reading it, just to kind of make my own opinion of the book because so many people have opinions of this book!
We used to read this with school students. I agree with you on the character of Bruno. He is a child though and therefore I think it does try to show both his innocence and ignorance. I find the film more interesting and students found that quite different from their normal film fare. Needed lots of context and background research though for students to really understand the horrors.
Oh definitely – I read this book when I was a lot younger and then when I studied the context of the book when I was 16 or so was truly, well, unbelievably horrific. I haven’t seen the film, so would be interested to hear whether you think I should watch it?
The film is good and slow moving but seems to evoke both the innocence and the horror.