All member reviews for The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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Common Sense Media says

Intense, powerful Holocaust book offers unique perspective.

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Quality(i)

 

Users say

(out of 93 reviews)
AGE
12
QUALITY
 
Review this title!
Educator Written byCocorobashow October 6, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

No Redeeming Social Value

It is impossible to believe that the Bruno, a nine year old, living in Berlin, had never heard of a Jew. He obviously had been educated in the best schools, where eugenics had been taught for years. Who did he think was walking around in his city with yellow Star of David patches on their clothes? He never noticed boarded up shops? He talks to Shmuel for months and can't see that the child is starving. He brings food from his house and eats most of it himself before he gets to Shmuel. For whom was this book written? Most children's and young adult books you find a moral or some type of character development. There is absolutely no character development in this book. Bruno is an unintelligent, spoiled child at the beginning of the book, who only wants to be an explorer. He never changes. He is the same selfish, not very smart child at the end of the book. There were 6,000 officers at the Auschwitz camps and yet we are led to believe that Bruno and his sister are the only non-Jewish children for miles and miles - that Bruno and his sister had absolutely no one else to play with. Bruno and his sister contract lice toward the end of the book. How did that happen? Lice don't jump or fly? You have to have close contact with someone who has lice. Share hats or coats, etc. Bruno and Shmuel are separated by a fence. So where did the lice come from? When the boys finally meet their demise, the author continues to get history wrong. When the Jews were gassed, they didn't go into the chambers with their clothes on; they were told to strip and ready themselves for a shower. And by the way, most 9 year old Jewish children upon arrival at Auschwitz were gassed. Finally how was it possible for these boys to chat each day for hours and no one saw them or missed them. I do not think I have ever read a book with so many medical, historical and logical fallacies.
Teen, 14 years old Written bynerdgirl96 January 16, 2011
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

wonderful; a unique perpective

Somehow, events are all the more tragic when narrated by those who do not understand. It's a very good tale of friendship. It ends sadly, and I feel the ending sort of communicates that everyone is harmed by hate and violence. Of all the Holocaust novel I've read (and believe me, that's a lot) I think this is the only one I've read from this perspective-that is, from the point of view of a Nazi's son. The book shouldn't be used as an introduction to the Holocaust- you have to know, or it won't make any sense. You should also know that Out-With=Auschwitz (is that obvious?).
What other families should know
Educational value
Kid, 12 years old October 27, 2011
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Loved it!

I picked this book up at the book store whilst looking for a book to read for my language arts class at school.I read it bit by bit, but it wasn't 'til the end when I really got into it.Mainly because it was due on monday, I had about 130 pages to read, and it was friday.Anyways aside from the point, once I really sat down properly and started reading the book, I couldn't put it down.The ending was so shocking and sad though, but I've always liked sad endings because I've found them to be more interesting.So basically to round things up-great book, educational, have to know at least a bit about WWII to sort of fill in the blanks, recommended!
What other families should know
Educational value
Teen, 16 years old Written byZeus9805 January 2, 2015
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Not really worth buying

I think that the book is good for younger ages. I enjoyed the book, but the book was too "watered down." It had next to nothing in terms of real information about the holocaust. At this point in WWII, every child in Germany, (save infants), knew who jews were and 'knew' to hate them. If Bruno had never heard of any of that, he must have been shut away from the world and was never leaving the house. Even his dad was a nazi and he still did not know.
Teen, 16 years old Written bymaddison_nicole December 8, 2011
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

a really goood bookk

i think this a really good book personaly i wouldnt let young kids (under age 14) read this book becuase of how much detail it goes into about the Holucuast. but other than it is a really good book i used it for my book report my freashman year and got an A on it but if you like books that have type a genre to it then i would recomenned or to read and/or watch the movie that follows with it!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old January 11, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Very Sad

Of couse it has a some bad examples because his dad is a Nazi himself. But besides the obvious he is a great father and it is obvious that he loves his son. Great book hands down.Must warn you that it is very sad at the end.Good if your kids know about the holocaust and its impact.
Kid, 12 years old December 13, 2009
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

perfect for 11+ but very upsetting and tragic

i am 12 and read it at school- it made me cry but that is only because of the message behinde the story and the innocence of Bruno and Shmuel. I think it is a very good book and also educational but not suitable for anyone under the age of 11. There is harsh violence in it but it is not described, just implied. I think it is a great book if you like novels and movers.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Teen, 14 years old Written byEEL123 January 26, 2012
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

I seem to be a dissenting voice here.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a cruel and misleading distortation of the real events of the Holocaust that has been watered down for the purpose of cheap entertainment. Boyne's attention to any historical detail is virtually nil - has he neglected to do his homework, or is he incapable of researching properly? Does one really suppose the an eight-year old child, born and raised in Nazi Germany, could not know about the persecution of the Jews. Yes, the Holocaust itself was carefully kept under wraps, by the ghettos, pogroms and inferiority of the Jewish 'untermenschen' were public knowledge. As a Nazi child, especially the son of a senior SS officer, Bruno would have been indoctrinated almost since birth about his own racial superiority and the glorious destiny of his country. How, then, is it that the author proposes that Bruno is totally oblivious to everything - the persecution of the Jews, the war, and even the identity of the Fuhrer? I think that the reading audience must draw the line between childish innocence and complete ignorance and stupidity. There are a whole host of other historical inaccuracies, among them why the fence could be lifted by Bruno and Shmuel at the end. The fence was electrified! Here is another clear example for Boyne's refusal to properly research. Otherwise, it seems strange that he believes that a young boy could withstrand several hundred volts of electricity - several thousand perhaps - running from arm to arm. One other major historical inaccuracy is Bruno's - and Shmuel's - end in the gas chamber. Perhaps the author is not aware of the mass panic that always occured once the victims saw the Zyklon B come through the vents. There would be a stampede for the door, which would have resulted in quite a few victims being crushed to death instead of gassed to death. In any case, even without a frenzied stampede, being gassed is an unpleasant at best and often painful experience, as judicial executions by gassing in the United States have shown. Boyne should be criticized for his portrayal of their deaths as oblivious and peaceful, if a little nervous. Boyne seems to enjoy using puns - 'Fury' and 'Out-with'. Firstly, a German child would have no problem pronouncing these words, although we may have trouble doing so, especially with 'Auschwitz'. Secondly, they are weak and, I daresay, childish, attempt to maintain ambiguity. Anyone with even an elementary knowledge of the Holocaust should be able to see through it. Most importantly though, although puns may be entertaining elsewhere, these ones are a cruel joke. Any author on a subject as grave, tragic and great in magnitude as the Holocaust should not even dare to use puns; Boyne has reduced one of history's greatest crimes to a little joke: 'Out-with', hahaha! Also, Boyne's style is hopelessly simplistic. The time I took to read this book - it hardly deserves the designation 'novel' - was terribly wasted. If found this book a compendium of rubbish, falsehoods and lies - a 'profanation', as a Jewish rabbi put it, that, I quote Time magazine, 'requires everyone to remain unconscious to every clue — and there are many — about what is happening' and is 'so reliant on human stupidity to achieve its effect, so totally dishonest in its insistence on that quality (which it presents as innocence) to achieve its narrative goals'. It has been condemned - ad nauseum, I admit, but rightly and well-deservedly so - by some critics, and the Jewish community, especially Holocaust survivors. I find it quite dangerous, as other have noted, that The Boy in the Striped is used as an introduction to the Holocaust, even in history classes! Sometimes, it is the only exposure students will get to that dark chapter in our history. How can it be that such a blatantly distorted book based in false assumptions be used to teach English, much less history? I'm sure that there are far better sources on the Holocaust. The fact that this book has had such a warm and enthusiastic reception in the public, filmmakers, even critics, and here too, should be a clear and burning indictment that people nowadays are looking for cheap entertainment instead of well-written, even borderline accurate works. Boyne's distortion of such a subjct as the Holocaust is condemnable and cruel. Many have said that they cried at the end. I would not shed tears for such a futile, inaccurate book that has been 'watered down for public consumption', so to speak. This is perhaps that worst book that I have read within memory. I implore you: there is a lot more on the shelves of libraries and bookshops. Most - almost all - of it is better than The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Don't read this book. One that cannot write accurately about the Holocaust and give a proper memorial to the victims - and the survivors - should not be dabbling in an almost sacred subject.
Teen, 15 years old Written byTamagotchi95 May 2, 2011
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Perfect for middle school students and above

I thought the book was great including the movie. I would say this book is age appropriate for middle school students like around 12. That's when they learn about world war II during middle school. If your kids read this while they learn about the holocaust, they can have a better view by reading this book by understanding it better. Even watching the movie before they see much worse what happened to the Jewish people during the holocaust.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 15 year old Written byoc April 19, 2011
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
The story is wonderfully awesome as i m feeling to cry! I ve read it right now.! And for all the readers i personally feel that you must watch the movie..its very emotional and heart touching...the two little boys have acted so beautifully especially the nazi's son that at the end of the story i literally felt cry..:'( MUST WATCH THE MOVIE. Thank u.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Educational value
Teen, 14 years old Written bybookcritic10 February 19, 2011
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

BORINGWITHALLCAPS

With unintelligent word choice, this historically inaccurate book is extreamly lacking in important details and description. "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" had amazing potential that wasn't nearly reached.
Kid, 10 years old October 12, 2010
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

So Sad

I love this book i think its one of the best i have read i am interested in the holocaust so it was the perfict book for me but horribly sad i cried but most people i know cwho read it cried so anyway i think a great but upseting book
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Educational value
Teen, 13 years old Written byashhhhh September 9, 2009
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Depending on maturity. Great read for tweens and older.

This book is amazing. I am thirteen and after reading this book i could really understand how so many young Germans could have not known about the things their parents were involved in. At times this is a real heart wrenching novel.
What other families should know
Educational value
Parent Written byParentAndTeacher January 12, 2012
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

WONDERFUL.<3

My 11 year-old loved the book! She watched the movie 2 years back though. :)
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written byudon'tneed2know June 1, 2011
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Interesting Perspective

This book provides an interesting perspective on some of the events of the Holocaust. I would reccomend it to readers looking for a less graphic, but still insightful, book on the Holocaust. It would help to have background information on the subject before reading the book in order to understand all the implications. This book does not, however, provide much uncommonly known information on the Holocaust, therefore making it underwhelmingly educational. I also wanted to share that I have read many more emotional books than this one, so I don't get why other reviewers have made such a big deal about the ending. I see other reviews that tagged this book as being violent and/or having sexual content. Most violence was merely implied and not very graphically depicted. Any sexual content is strictly implied and at the age I would assume a child would need to be get any of the hints they would be old enough to read it.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Teen, 14 years old Written bystripesanddots March 14, 2011
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Amazing Book for Mature Readers

I had to read this book for school and I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did. I highly recommended it. It was very educational and it was great to see the friendship of Bruno and Shmuel. The perspective it was written from is amazingly unique (you would never think of what it must have been like to a Nazi's nine-year-old son). The ending was unfortunate and I wasn't really expecting it. There never really is any violence shown/written, although it is implied. I think it's okay for 12+.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byKatTHEbookWORM May 7, 2010
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

For 12 and Up of Really Mature Kids

I reallly loved this book. It is not good for kids under 12 beacuse it a has a little too much violence and the meaning is so deep that some kids might just read through it and not get anything out of it. I relly love this book and recomend it for kids and young teenagers who are interested in the Holocaust.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written byrockerboy5649 April 27, 2010
AGE
12
QUALITY
 
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 14 years old Written byBeach_bum_95 April 22, 2010
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

For older children, yet for anyone willing to take on its' meanings

Love it and hate it because I hate the ending, as tear-jerking and heart-warming this novel is, I am 14 and am haunted by the climax of this fable. Crying for 30 minutes straight is not my idea of the "perfect ending". Other then how it ended I loved this story and would reccomend this book to anyone who is ready to take on such a meaningful stroy.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 17 year old Written bylove2 September 24, 2009
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

good book!

the book at the very end was sad and will be WAY to CONFUSING AND SAD FOR KIDS UNDER 11.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value

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