Book Review: The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

‘Some things are just sitting there, minding their own business, waiting to be discovered. Like America. And other things are probably better off left alone’

Nine-year-old Bruno has a lot of things on his mind. Who is the ‘Fury’? Why did he make them leave their nice home in Berlin to go to ‘Out-With’ ? And who are all the sad people in striped pyjamas on the other side of the fence? The grown-ups won’t explain so Bruno decides there is only one thing for it – he will have to explore this place alone. What he discovers is a new friend. A boy with the very same birthday. A boy in striped pyjamas. But why can’t they ever play together?

Why do we have to leave Berlin? Why is Out With called so? Why is there a fence? Why are everyone on the other side of the fence in striped pyjamas? Why do the opposite of Jews hate Jews?

These are some of the questions Bruno, the nine-year old protagonist of the novel, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas ask. Bruno is forced to leave his home in Berlin, and all he knows is that it’s because his father has an “important” job.

He immediately dislikes the grim Out With, his new home. There are no houses nearby, no boys to play with, and his house is surrounded by vastness. As he looks out from his window, all he sees is a huge fence, beyond which are people of all ages,wearing striped pyjamas, being ordered about by unkind soldiers. He has a million questions in his mind, but very few that he asks out loud and even fewer satisfactory answers.

A wannabe explorer, he sets out one day on one of his adventures. That’s when he meets a boy from the other side of the fence, a boy with his same birthday,and their friendship blooms. The story moves forward through incidents in Bruno’s life, especially those concerning his new friend.

The author of the book, John Boyne has done an extremely wonderful job in retelling one of the darkest times in European history, through an innocent boy, who knows nothing of the war. His writing style will have the reader glued to the story from the very first page.

I loved this book to the core. I had heard lots about this book and hence, when I finally got a chance to read it, my expectations were quite high. I can honestly admit that all my expectations were indeed met. What I loved the most about this book is its simplicity and the portrayal of Bruno. I will recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a light read.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

  1. I happened to watch the movie based on the book first. That is my tragedy. The movie is so heart-breaking, humane and raw yet refined and Asa Butterfield’s portrayal of Bruno is top of the class. Although I didn’t know that it was based on a book at that time, still I think that that would have steered me towards reading the book. But then, I wonder, if I would have been able to watch the movie if I read the book first. I want to read it but I cannot bring myself to read it. Perhaps, someday I will. Are you sure it is a light read?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually even I saw the movie first. But it was quite a long time ago. N I have a very bad memory that I had pretty much forgotten it almost completely. So reading the book now was like knowing the story for the first time. And yes it really is a light read. I think you should give it a go 🙂

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