The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne


Berlin 1942 – When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance. But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.


While Boyne never explains what “Out-With” is or who the “Fury” is, it won’t take long for readers to realize exactly what kind of “camp” Bruno is living beside. As naive as he may seem (for us now looking back with 20-20 hindsight), Bruno is a highly credible 9 year old boy who we strongly connect with. Because we do understand the horror of the reality he doesn’t, it is a fittingly shocking, raw, enlightening read that blooms from his heartbreaking innocence.

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