The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas 

John Boyne


The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas-John Boyne

When Bruno finds out he has to move away from his old life because of his father’s job he is not at all pleased with the turn of events. His new house is in the country, far away from any other children to play with. The only people around there are the ones separated by the tall fence he was forbidden to go near. Loneliness drove him to explore the fence where he met a strange boy wearing striped pyjamas. Although the two boys lives were drastically different they became the closest of friends but when Bruno’s friend learns of some upsetting news Bruno slips under the fence to help him, unaware that he was about to be met with tragic consequences. This story, set in the time of the holocaust, tells the story of two boys separated by war and religion, yet in the most unlikely of events, become the best of friends. This amazing tale, filled with action and tragedy and the perfect amount of suspense, highlights the awful time of World War II and the hope that things will get better. John Boyne has done an incredible job spinning this story, and created a must read for all teenagers.

Social/Historical context:

John Boyne's tragic yet moving story, set in 1942 Berlin, tells the story of two boys, separated by their background and religion yet who strangely become friends. One boy, Bruno, is the son of a Nazi general isn't aware of the war going on, and the other, a Jewish prisoner, doesn't realize he has made friends with somebody who has made his life so miserable. The story highlights the awful life style of the Jewish prisoners, and the merciless way of the Nazi’s. The main character, Bruno, and the Jewish prisoner, Shmuel are both so unaware of what awful things are going on. Bruno believes his father is a good man, and Shmuel, although living in such a horrible place, doesn't know that it's because he is Jewish. The holocaust was such an awful time and this book educates its teenage audience of the horrible past.

Writing Style:

The author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, John Boyne, had a very interesting writing style. He uses the same phrase over and over again all throughout the book to make sure the audience has actually recognized the meaning of the phrase. For example the saying “My sister is such a hopeless case” (Boyne) is probably repeated a dozen times throughout the book. He also plays around with suspense. In the novel he drops cliff-hangers, is vague with some information, and ends the book with a dramatic yet suspenseful sentence “Nothing more was ever heard of Bruno after that”(Boyne). It leaves the audience hanging and although it leaves some unanswered questions it gives the book a finishing touch that many people enjoy.

My Thoughts:

This book, filled with action, mystery, and tragedy, is a must read for all teenagers. Its subtle references to our history make it suspenseful and interesting, allowing you to write your own version of the story. One of my favourite genres is historical fiction and this book is one of my favourites of that particular genre. I love the accuracy to history yet the uniqueness of the story. This tale is one of the most interesting I have read and I love it.

Book Reviewed by Maya Singhal

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