The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

Published November 11, 2021

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

Book info

  • Title The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
  • Author John Boyne
  • Year 2006
  • Genre Historical

Lines may divide us, but hope will unite us. Nine year old Bruno knows nothing of the Final Solution and the Holocaust. He’s oblivious to the appalling cruelties being inflicted on the people of Europe by his country. All he knows is that he has moved from Berlin to a desolate area where he has no one to play with. Until he meets Shmuel. Shmuel lives in a strange parallel existence on the other side of the adjoining wire fence, where everyone wears a uniform of striped pyjamas. Despite the wire fence separating them, the two boys become best friends. As they grow closer, Bruno starts to learn the terrible truth that lies beyond the fence, and what life is like for his friend.


This is a controversial book and film, with much made of the lack of historical accuracy and concerns that it might lead children to think wrongly about the Holocaust. All of that may be true, but I have to admit, as a fable (which it is labelled as), it’s very good - tragic and brutal, the twist at the end makes me want to scream, it’s so awful. I don’t believe Bruno could have been quite so ignorant as he was, particularly not being able to learn the name or purpose of the place despite living there for a year, but the high level twists and turns do pack a punch.

Rating: 4 / 5

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