Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

November 17th, 2008 by Debbie's World of Books

Honestly it’s hard for me to give a rating to this book.  I think I’d have to go with 2.5-3 out of 5 stars.

The main reason is that even though I know the point of view is from a nine year old boy and I should understand that it’s going to be childish, I still found Bruno so irritating that it was hard to feel bad for him.

The book is about a 9 year old boy, Bruno, whose family has to move from their home in Berlin due to his father’s job.  His father works for Hitler although Bruno only knows him as “The Fury” because he cannot pronounce fuehuer.  Although Bruno doesn’t realize it, their new home is in Auschwitz near a concentration camp.  Bruno gets lonely and notices that there is a “village” of people all wearing the same type of striped pajamas.  He decides to go exploring and seek out this village.  When he arrives at a fence enclosing the village there is a young boy, Schumel, sitting there staring out.  It turns out he is also 9 years old shares the same birthday as Bruno.  They become friends and Bruno walks out almost every day to talk to Schumel.  Bruno never realizes that this isn’t a village and is instead a concentration camp.  So he continues to complain about the little things that he feels are so horrible that people do to him.  Schumel never points out what life is really like for him and lets Bruno complain.

Stop here if you don’t want to read any spoilers.

Near the end of the book Bruno’s mother convinces his father that this is no life for children and that she, Bruno and Bruno’s sister should move back to Berlin.  Bruno goes to tell Schumel that he is leaving and Schumel tells him that his father is missing.  Bruno decides on one last adventure and sneaks into the camp to help Schumel look for his father.  He dresses in a pair of the “striped pajamas” and proceeds to go around with Schumel.  Next thing you know they are being herded up with a bunch of the other prisoners and led into a gas chamber.  So I guess Bruno ends up dying in the chamber with the guards never realizing he was there.

After searching for awhile Bruno’s father finally realizes that Bruno must have snuck into the camp and probably perished there.

It really sucks that Bruno and Schumel end up dying in the gas chamber but to be honest I didn’t really like Bruno.  In fact, I felt much worse for Schumel.  So that is why I had a hard time rating this book.  Looks like they are going to be making a movie out of this book though.  I wonder if they will end it the same way.

Posted in 3 Star Books, Books, Historical Fiction

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