Book review of the week: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas links to my ethics topic of war and conflict, in that it’s set in World War 2 in a concentration camp (where Jews were kept/captured in the war). The book follows the story of a young boy called Bruno, his dad who is very high up in the German army moves the family to a nearby camp due to his work there. Bruno doesn’t really know what his dad does, neither about these ‘camps’. This already shows one effect of war in that family’s have to relocate. Bruno loves to play around in the outdoors and one day manages to make it out into the back fields of his house to discover what his mother called ‘a farm’. By the building, Bruno finds a boy of his age sitting by the barbed wire fence that separates the boy from freedom. Bruno is convinced the boy is in pyjamas he talks to the boy and gets to know him, he sees him everyday but his parents don’t know this. One day Bruno goes to meet the boy to catch up with him, brings him food and he also brings a shovel. The boy is waiting for Bruno holding another set of ‘pyjamas’ Bruno arrives to hear the boy moaning that he can’t find his dad and he wants Bruno to come in and help, they dig under the fence, Bruno puts his pyjamas on, they then run off to find the boys dad. Meanwhile at the house Bruno’s family are about to tuck into dinner when they realise Bruno is still playing outside. After searching round the garden, afraid and confused his mother finds the back gate has been opened. Running to the fence they discover a hole and Bruno's parents realise that he's entered the camp! I would aim this book for the ages of 13 and above and any gender. Review by Myles Langmaid, Year 11.


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