Review: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
My Goodreads rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Even if you haven’t read this book, or seen the film adaptation, you’re probably aware of the plot, as this novel is one of the most popular pieces of historical fiction. However, I’m not going to give an in-depth plot summary, just in case you’re not familiar with the story, as the back of the cover itself says that it’s best to start reading this book without knowing what it’s about.

As the back of the book says, the story follows nine-year-old Bruno, a young boy living in Berlin during the Second World War. When Bruno and his family move from Berlin for his father’s work, he eventually arrives at the fence that is mentioned on the back of the book.

I’d watched the film adaptation of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas when I was around 11, so I was aware of the general plot of this book. To be honest though, I think I was far too young to watch the film. A lot of it went over my head, and I’m pretty sure it has a 12 rating. I wasn’t interested in reading the book for years, having known the story, but I’m so glad that I read it.

This book was heartbreaking, yet fantastic. It not only looks at the events of the Second World War, but it looks at humanity as a whole. There is some controversy around this book; many people have said that the plot is entirely unrealistic. And, yes, it is to some extent, but I honestly think that’s irrelevant. The book is an impactful, fictional interpretation of history. The fact that it’s unrealistic is not important. I’d highly recommend this book, particularly to those who enjoy historical fiction.

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