Review: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

in a sentence: meet a boy named Bruno and discover the unfamiliar and confusing adventure that awaits him.

i'll be honest - the number one thing that interested me about this book was that the inside cover. they thought it would spoil the reading of the book to give anything away and believed it was important to start to read without knowing what is it about. having read it, i totally agree with that sentiment and will try and do my best to review without spoiling! though there is a movie version already, so you may already know.

Bruno and his family live in Berlin, and is pretty happy with his life actually. he's a typical 9 year old boy with a typical bratty older sister (she's 12, practically a teenager) and doting house servants. he loves adventures and exploring and all the fun discoveries that come with that sort of thing. something happens that leads his family to move away from his home and he is not pleased about that.

i absolutely adored Bruno's voice in this book. that's not to say that he was the narrator, because he wasn't really. it is his voice that is heard mostly in the book and his phrasing and everything, but we also get a peek into the thoughts of others through his eyes and through general narration. i'm not explaining it very well, but i really did like the way that Boyne did that.

Bruno experiences the changes and new experiences through his 9 year old eyes, and so do we. it is with this naivety and simple acceptance that we learn what is going on in the story. there are some internal struggles, some serious questions and curiosity - but he is only 9 after all and who cares about what a 9 year old wants to know? so mostly Bruno discovers things for himself and does his best to make sense of them, and what he can't make sense of, he shrugs away.

this was absolutely one of the best pieces of literature i have ever written. not purely because of the subject matter, but because of how it was written. i am seriously impressed with using a 9 year old as a narrator successfully and in a way that brought me to that level of naivety without any hint of condescension. even the chapter titles were 9-year-old-yet-adult-geared without being condescending. it was just incredible, and if you haven't read this yet - do it! you'll thank me.

fave (non-spoiler) quote: "One afternoon, when Bruno came home from school, he was surprised to find Maria, the family maid - who always kept her head bowed and never looked up from the carpet - standing in his bedroom, pulling all his belongings out of the wardrobe and packing them in four large wooden crates, even the things he'd hidden at the back that belonged to him and were nobody else's business." (opening paragraph and it totally sucked me in / set the tone for the book).

fix er up: a tad predictable, but that didn't hurt the overall impact and beauty of the writing.

title: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
author: John Boyne
genre: Adventure, Friendship

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.

3 comments:

  1. will knowing the general idea and thrust of the story detract from my enjoyment of this?

    also, some typos are present. hate to nitpick (and yet i do it anyway!)

    also also, did this make you want to see the movie?

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  2. it may, but probably not. the bulk of the enjoyment for me was in the voice of Bruno and his thought process.

    i do not want to see the movie, but that is probably because i fear they cannot do the book justice (and early reviews confirm this).

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  3. just watched the movie last night (unaware that there was a book). kind of a neat story and i liked the perspective, but your review makes me wish i had read the book instead!

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