Book review: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamasan


By Eva Alonso

The boy in the striped pyjamas is a novel by Irish writer John Boyne. It was the best selling book of the year in Spain in 2007 and 2008 and it has also reached number one on Ireland, United Kingdom and Australia. Even more,  a film adaptation of this novel has recently been made with a great success.

It relates the story of Bruno, the nine year old son of the commander of the Auschwitz concentration camp, who is confused because of his father’s decision to remove them from his comfortable home in Berlin, where he has a lot of friends, to a house in the countryside, in a desolate area, and where there aren’t any friends to play with. One day Bruno meets a boy in the striped pyjamas called Shmuel. As Jewish he is in the concentration camp next to the Bruno’s new home. Over several months the boys become friends taking through a wire every afternoon, if it doesn’t rain, but no one knows about that friendship. Eventually Bruno accepts Shmuel’s invitation to go on an adventure.

Bruno sees a very serious world and an important historical moment, the II World War, through a child’s eyes and speaks like all nine years old so it makes it very easy to read and to understand  for a non English native person.

It is very clever the way the author leaves clues at different stages of the story so you can imagine what is going on and it has a great storyline. It’s a short heartfelt story which makes it a really special book.

For the above reasons, I recommend this book to everyone. Some may say that it is a children’s book but, in my opinion, adults might like and enjoy it too. And a piece of advice, I would like to insist about not telling the end to anyone who hasn’t read it yet.

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