Book Review ~ The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

From Amazon: Book Description ~ This work was set in 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 what 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.

I decided to read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne after reading Lisa’s review last week over at her blog, Books on the Brain.  I am glad I did.  This book is in the young adult book category.  It had been a long time since I had read a YA fiction book and I was reminded of what I thought when I used to read books for my age group growing up.  I thought that I didn’t need to be reminded of different points throughout the book but the way Boyne handled this was very good.  Just certain fictional facts about each character were repeated everytime the subject came up but it wasn’t too distracting.  (Just a personal thing.)

I have read a few historical fiction books set in WWII in the couple of years but none that handled the concentration camps with so much care and subtlety.  Because the story is seen through the eyes of Bruno, a nine year old boy and a naive one at that, the details of what is really happening at his new home in “Out-With” (Auschwitz) are not really brought to the forefront and made clear.  I had a blond moment and was so wrapped up in the story through Bruno’s eyes and I didn’t get that “Out-With” meant Auschwitz for a little bit.  I exclaimed with a big “Oh!” when it hit me.  (I’m not always with it people.  Give me a break.  LOL)  I think that if I had been in high school or even junior high when I read this, I would have been a bit confused.  I didn’t have WWII history until tenth grade I think.  I mean we learned about WWII and when it happened in earlier grades but details like the gas chambers and starvation weren’t in text books till later. 

The story held up and kept my interest throughout and thanks to Lisa’s review I was anxious as I read, especially towards the end, as I waited and wondered what was going to happen to Bruno and especially his friend Schmuel, who lived on the other side of the fence that separated the camp from Bruno’s new home.  The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas is an easy read for adults and a good one at that.  I don’t think, like with any book that is set during such an awful time in our world’s history as WWII and the concentration camps, you can say it’s an enjoyable read but it is a clever story that is told well and makes you think.  Sometimes that is just as important as an enjoyable read.  

{Rating ~ 4 out of 5}