‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’

BOYNE, JOHN. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. London: Black Swan, 2007.

“Nine-year-old Bruno knows nothing of the Final Solution and the Holocaust. He is oblivious to the appalling cruelties being inflicted on the people of Europe by his country. […] Until he meets Shmuel, a boy who lives a strange parallel existence on the other side of the adjoining wire fence and who, like the other people there, wears a uniform of striped pyjamas.”

This is the boy.

My preconceived idea of a novel in the style of Life Is Beautiful was completely wrong as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is quite the opposite. The story is told from the perspective of a kid who knows nothing about what is actually happening and keeps wondering with no answers.

However, the reader realises this just by having a look at the back cover of the book — as they are often filled with extracts of reviews:

‘Simply written and highly memorable. There are no monstrosities on the page but the true horror is all the more potent for being implicit.’ Ireland on Sunday

Notwithstanding that a general impression of the book can be obtained from these reviews, some extra extracts were added on the first pages in which you could find some hidden information:

‘Set to become a publishing phenomenon… it will take children over 10 on an emotional rollercoaster. Adults will love the book too.’ Irish Examiner

No wonder it is simply written; it’s aimed at 10-year-old children! Fortunately, adults can enjoy it as well. I must admit that, although it’ll never be my favourite book, it was worth reading.

 

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