Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - Book Review

** I am currently taking a Young Adult literature course and I will be reading and reviewing several materials using a new format. This review follows a template given to me by my professor.**

Publication Information

Name: Christopher Jimenez Media Format: Audiobook
Title: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Genre: Historical Fiction
Author: John Boyne Selection Source: Kirkus Review
Publisher: Random House Children's Books Recommended Audience Age: 12-14
Reading Recommendation: 4 out of 5
Curriculum Connections: History, Ethics, Psychology


Bruno is the nine-year-old son of a commandant in the German army during World War II. His father was assigned to Auschwitz after a visit from Adolf Hitler. In display of his naivete, Bruno calls the Fuhrer "The Fury" and the camp "Out With" despite being corrected numerous times.

While in his new home, Bruno sees people through his window in the distance. He describes these people as wearing striped pajamas. Before long, his curiosity gets the better of him, and he ventures out to the area. He ends up meeting a young boy named Shmuel, and they develop a relationship. After some time, Bruno agrees to slide under the fence to help Shmuel find his father. They meet a tragic ending.


This book is very controversial. One of the main gripes about the book centers around Bruno's naivete. I found myself wondering why a German boy would mispronounce Auschwitz with the English phrase "Out With." However, the point was to contrast Bruno's inexperience with Shmuel's experience of the Holocaust. While the fictional portion of the story is highly implausible, it is still a gripping tale that shows the horrors of the Holocaust coupled with German political coldness of the day.


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