The story of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is very difficult to describe. We usually give some clues about the book on the jacket, but in this case we think it would spoil the reading of the book. We think it is important that you start to read without knowing what it is about.
If you do start to read this book, you will go on a journey with a a nine-year-old boy called Bruno. (though this isn't a book for nine-year-olds.) And sooner or later you will arrive with Bruno at a fence.
Fences like this exist all over the world. We hope you never have to encounter a fence.
Unlike some other reviews I have seen written about this book, I am going to go with the spirit of the book and tell you nothing of the story. I personally feel it would detract from the story and I don't feel I could do a synopsis of the book any justice; and like the book cover says, 'we think it important that you start to read without knowing what it is about'.
That said, the book is written about a nine-year-old boy, and written very much from his perspective and in his narrative. The narrative seems a little clumsy at first, maybe because Boyne tries too hard to give voice to a nine-year-old in a nine-year-old's language, or it may be that the reader is not used to looking at a book and reading it in that way.
The book is compulsive reading, I finished in a few short hours. The words just jump off the page, and carried me from chapter to chapter, until at last, sadly, I turned the last page. There is a real twist at the end, and that alone makes it a worthwhile read, and brought a tear to the eye and a lump to one's throat.
The book, as it says, is not aimed at nine-year-olds, though with the standard of education today, I'm not sure many readers in their twenties would get the meaning of the location and characters mentioned. This is no slight on the author, I personally feel he has done a wonderful job in writing the book and exposing us to the gritty truth of everyday life by using an example from the recent past. I feel this book should become essential reading in any social studies group.
I suspect this book will become a classic, and deservedly so. Buy it, read it. Love it and recommend this book to other people.
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"Computer games don't affect kids. I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music."
Kristian Wilson, Nintendo, Inc, 1989