All member reviews for The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Common Sense Media says

Intense, powerful Holocaust book offers unique perspective.

Users say

(out of 96 reviews)
age 12+
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Teen, 14 years old Written bynerdgirl96 January 16, 2011

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
Teen, 16 years old Written bymaddison_nicole December 8, 2011

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, 12 years old December 13, 2009

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
Adult Written bymoviemadness April 9, 2008

A total must-read for tweens+

This heartbreaking story of friendship and innocence is too sad for younger kids. The book is well-written, and explores complex issues from a child's perspective. Wonderful and honest. One of the best books ever.
Parent Written byjoannesmith February 10, 2014

Holocaust story with great potential has been watered down to inaccurate dullness

While the premise of this story has excellent potential for an educational yet emotional novel, John Boyne has weakened the actual facts of the Holocaust and made his characters dull and unrealistic. For one, a nine-year-old like Shmuel would not have lasted a year in Auschwitz. He would have been taken straight to the gas chambers upon arrival. And I find it highly improbable that the son of a high-ranking Nazi general would not know what a death camp, Hitler, a Nazi, or a Jew was. And the stupidity of the children in the story is almost unbearable. Bruno, in an attempt to be seen as "innocent", is oblivious and completely unaware of his surroundings to the point that I suspected he might have severe mental challenges, and Gretel is portrayed as far too immature for her age of 12-13. The author has watered down the brutal facts of the camps to the point that it is impossible that the events in the book would have even happened, even if Shmuel has escaped death for a year or more at the camp. For there to be a completely unguarded section of the -- electric -- fence where Bruno and Shmuel could talk, for there to be a hole big enough for a fat nine-year-old to slip through unharmed but no Jews that had ever escaped, and for Bruno to see absolutely no death during the time he spoke with Shmuel is absolutely impossible. Had the author perhaps reconstructed the premise, fixed the errors, and made characters of reasonable intelligence, this story may have been a tear-jerking, heartwrenching tale of the horrors of the Holocaust. Unfortunately, he didn't, and now we're left with an inaccurate and soft portrayal that almost leaves you thinking that the Holocaust might not have been all that bad.
Teen, 16 years old Written byZeus9805 January 2, 2015

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, 14 years old Written bystripesanddots March 14, 2011

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
Kid, 11 years old January 11, 2011

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.
Teen, 13 years old Written byashhhhh September 9, 2009

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
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

a moving and interesting must read book for teens!

this book was excellent! it was given to me by my friend but i didnt think id like it, but after 2 or 3 chapters i was hooked!it is written by 9 yr old brunos point of view,so it can be hard to understand, but it is a very deep and insightful view into the holocaust, and is very sad at the end! i cried! definetly 12 yrs+, must read!
Parent of a 15 year old Written byoc April 19, 2011
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
Parent of a 17 year old Written bylove2 September 24, 2009

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
Kid, 12 years old April 1, 2015

Boy in striped pyjamas review

I thought it was a great book, although it does bring up some strong morals about how unfair the treatment was to Jewish people back then and I strongly recommend you talk to your parents after reading it. Overall I think it was really well written and was a great read.
What other families should know
Educational value
Teen, 14 years old Written byudon'tneed2know June 1, 2011

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, 15 years old Written byTamagotchi95 May 2, 2011

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
Kid, 10 years old October 12, 2010

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 byKatTHEbookWORM May 7, 2010

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
Kid, 12 years old May 2, 2016

Well Written Novel!

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is an unusual story, one of the most difficult and disturbing a teen will ever read. It is the story of an event seared into the fabric of history. It is a fable told through the voice of a child, but it is not for children, and this is not just any child. Bruno is nine years old, and he's not happy; his father has a new job and he's leaving his comfortable house, his neighborhood and his three best friends behind. His big sister Gretel is no help, for like older sisters everywhere, she's in a world all her own, though it's obvious she isn't thrilled about the move either. Their servants are tight-lipped and nervous, and Bruno's mother tries to explain that this is not only a promotion for his father, it's his duty. His father shows some but not much sympathy for Bruno. As befits a military man, he is a strict disciplinarian, and the boy tries his best to honor his father's wishes, even though it sometimes involves saying and doing things he doesn't understand. So Bruno says goodbye to his comfortable life and moves far away from the city. His destination isn't a house in the country though at least not like any he's ever imagined. It's a bleak, forbidding place, and instead of a five-story mansion, he lives in a smaller, less comfortable house. He is surrounded by his father's soldiers, including one particularly menacing lieutenant named Kotler, and there's a cook who also appears to be a doctor, much to Bruno's puzzlement. Strangest of all is the barbed-wire fence outside his bedroom window, and the huddled groups of men and boys beyond. Along that fence he'll meet the boy of the book's title. If you haven't already guessed, John Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a young adult novel about the Holocaust. By focusing on Bruno's innocent and puzzled view of his father's job, Boyne offers a previously unseen perspective on the everyday Germans who took part in the Nazis' ultimate solution. While written with teens in mind, this is certainly a book worthy of adult readers. Already a bestseller in the U.K. and Australia, the novel is well written, compelling and ultimately shocking. It should be noted, however, that the book has garnered criticism from some who argue that the boy's viewpoint trivializes this tragic era. Bruno is definitely naive by today's standards, but this novel isn't set in 2006—it takes place in 1943, when a sheltered child might well have been unaware of Auschwitz and the fate of the Jews who were sent there. Ultimately, it is up to the individual reader to judge whether Boyne's unique approach to the Holocaust adds to the understanding of this troubling time in human history.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byVicksterssss February 1, 2016

Very emotional and history packed.

This book is AMAZING!!! It is full of history facts, and actual happenings from the time of Hitler. This book is about a boy who's dad works for Hitler. They are the Nazis! This boy was very curious, and had a huge imagination. One day he sees the death camp from his window, but holds off from exploring the place. He then soon later decides to go over to the fence where the camp is split from his family's land. There at the fence is a boy, a jew. He was very lonely, and they did not say much to each other. But as days past, they actually became very good friends. This story is the story of how these two boys, Bruno and Schmuel became friends as enemies. As they were so little, neither knew that they actually were enemies. So as time passes and they talk through a fence, they want to see each other without it. So Bruno sneaks into the camp as they wish. The Conflict in this story is their age. Because of their age they do not understand why they are separated. This causes them to sneak onto the other side and only become prepared for what happens next. None of the important parts in this story would have happened if they were any older than they were.This whole story is so wonderful because it shows the depths of the things that could happen during those horrible times. I gave this story educational value because the whole story of Hitler and what he did occurs in this book. The parents and many of the adults smoke and drink very much, as most adults do. There is very much violence as what the story is based on, the evil times of Hitlers hate. Five stars for this book, wonderful and emotional at times.
What other families should know
Educational value
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written bystrudelkitty827 July 3, 2015

A Thought-Provoking Story That Only Older Kids Will Understand

I read THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS for school, and I thought it was mildly entertaining, and there were some things in the story that didn't make sense considering where the story takes place. (Ex: Bruno and his family speak German, they stay outside Camp Auschwitz, which Bruno pronounces Out-With because when his family moved in, he assumed that another family were "Out-With" the house. Since Bruno speaks German, he should not get Out-With and Auschwitz mixed up because that's what an English speaking boy might do.) That's just one of the many plot holes in this book. I recommend this if you're looking for something to do to pass the time.

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