Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas--Juli's Review

Author: John Boyne

Pages: 216

Genre: Fiction/YA

Personal Rating: 4

Awards: Shortlisted for British Book Awards: WH Smith Children's Book of the Year Award 2007 and Independent Booksellers' Book of the Year Award: Children's 2007.

From the back cover:

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 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'll admit until the last few chapters of this novel the book was fair. It was well written and a nice little story, but I couldn't understand what the big "fuss" was about. Well, you will when you get to the end. The end MADE this book. It took everything I had previously read and put it into a whole new perspective. This may not make a lot of sense to you, but I really do not want to give away the ending.

Bruno is a naive little boy (9 years) who returns home one day to to find everything being packed up. They are moving. The "Fury" has instructed them to move and this is a great honor for his Father who is now to be called Commandant. (this sentence style is how the book is written) He hates his new house since it is smaller, doesn't have a banister he can slide all the way down, he misses his friends and he doesn't like the mean soldiers who come in and out of his house like they own it.

On the first day in his new house he looks out the window of his room .
"He put his face to the glass and saw what was out there, and this time when his eyes opened wide and his mouth made the shape of an O, his hands stayed by his side because something made him feel very cold and unsafe."
Bruno has moved to "Out-With" with his family for his Father's new prestigious job. He goes to talk with his sister about the children who live outside in dirt and small huts and they draw the conclusion that perhaps they have moved to the countryside. Neither of them understand what is going on. When they both return to look out the window they realize that the people they see aren't all children, but men who are very small (for some reason they can't figure out). Bruno then realizes they are all wearing striped pajamas.

One day Bruno decides to explore along the fence and found The Dot The Became a Speck That Became a Blob The Became a Figure That Became a Boy. This is the boy in the striped pajamas on the other side of the fence who will become Bruno's friend.

My suggestions is to stick with reading this book even if it seems average for the first three quarters. it will quickly catapult itself to spectacular. I would have rated it higher but for me it really was a little slow going in the beginning.

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