02 April 2009

Book Club - APR - The Boy In the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

(Be warned of spoilers! This book is best read when you know as little about it in advance as possible!)
Check out this massive discussion and information guide:

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas depicts a fictional friendship set during World War II. Bruno, the eight-year-old son of a newly-promoted Nazi officer, moves with his family from a comfortable life in Berlin to a lonely existence in the countryside. An adventurous boy with nothing to do, Bruno ignores his mother's instructions not to explore the back garden and takes off for a "farm" he has seen from his bedroom window. As he approaches a barbed wire fence, Bruno sees Shmuel, the boy in the striped pajamas, on the other side, and an unlikely and life-changing friendship develops.

Some great thought-provoking questions are included in this packet.

A group of eighth and ninth grades got together at the library to watch the movie a few days before we met to discuss the book, and there were mixed reviews about the visual representation of the story. It seems that my readers either loved it or hated it. Me, I read an advanced review copy of the book almost three years ago, so the movie didn't conflict with my feelings about the story. I still cried at the end from sheer horror and sadness.

The official discussion of the book was fabulous. The group really "got" what was going on, and how history impacts the world we live in now. Any thoughts?

Jon suggested that we eat some chocolate cake as we discussed the book, in honor of Bruno's edible gifts to Shmuel during their short-lived friendship.


  1. I think I keep hearing about this. Should I put it on my post-Relay list? (I didn't read your review because of the spoiler threat.)

  2. I really like this book. But I also kind of like this topic... I think that seeing tragedy through the eyes of a child gives history a unique perspective.

    It isn't long. Put it on your list. :)


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