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Kell

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

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Anyone who would like to get hold of a copy of this book and join in the circle - there are a few copies available at

Green Metropolis

 

Also available at Amazon. See link on site front page!

 

The Reading Circle choice for July is The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne:


The story of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is very difficult to describe. Usually we give some clues about the book on the cover, but in this case we think that would spoil the reading of the book. We think it is important that you start to read without knowing what it is about. If you do start to read this book, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy called Bruno. (Though this isn't a book for nine-year-olds.) And sooner or later you will arrive with Bruno at a fence. We hope you never have to cross such a fence.

 

Some questions to consider:

1- Who was your favourite character and why?

2- Was there a particular part you enjoyed/disliked more than the rest?

3- Was this the first book you've read in this genre/by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

4- Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

5- Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

 

(You do not have to answer all, or indeed, any, of these questions, they are meant only as points for you to perhaps mull over as you read, and provoke more discussion. Please feel free to ask and answer any questions that come up as you read.)

Also see reading guide (attached) from unknown online source (if anyone knows where this came from, please let me know!).



WARNING: You may wish to wait until you have finished reading the book before you look at the attachment - it may contain slight spoilers as it offers discussion points.

BoyinStripedPyjamas.doc





Edited by Kell

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Apologies for the lateness - I forgot to open the thread! :D

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I really enjoyed this book, the story was so easy to follow as the it was written wonderfully. I had never even heard of John Boyne but I think I will be looking out for his works from now onwards.

 

My favourite character was Bruno. I just loved his naivety and how the seemingly trivial things really upset him - I have days like that!

 

I loved the friendship that formed for him as it was his first grown up friendship, where they talked and grew up a lot together.

 

I guess the worst bit for me was the ending. Although a bit predictable it was so sad and nearly made me cry.

 

I would give this book 10/10

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I read this book in my school book club and I love it sooooo much. I loved the two kids' friendship, it's like it's only the adults who care - kids are much better :D

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I loved this book. It was really clever how there was no synopsis of the book, which had me intrigued .

 

Although it is not historically accurate in places, it does not matter as that is obviously not its intention anyway.

 

It is so well written and incredibly moving, one of the rare books which made me tearful at the end.

 

Although quite a short book, it's very powerful and stays in your mind. Will definitely keep my eyes open for more of Boynes work.

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I loved this book, it was completely different to anything I have read before. It was a sad (predictable) ending but for me thats why it has stuck in my mind so much. I'll be looking out for his other books too. :D

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I read it last year and I really enjoyed it, this was my review, click on the link: Review

I am really glad so many of you have enjoyed it too.:D

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I started reading this one this morning and so far I'm loving it. It's intriguing seeing the "mistakes" in language that creep in when seeing events unfold froma child's point of view - not only that, but it's a viewpoint we don't usually see, so it's interesting seeing things from the other side...

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I loved it by the way, I saw all the inconsistencies and so forth but loved it as a parable and took it as no more than that.

 

Of course the words wouldn't get scrambled like that as he's hearing them in German not English, and of course he wouldn't be allowed near to the fence and so forth, but I just took it as a nice story rather than a historical account or anything similar

Edited by Kell

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There is a lot of inconsistencies but it is not implausible that Bunro could have got near the fence or anyone noticing Shumel, I think children where very much down the food chain (pardon the wording) within the camps.

 

Regardless though, it is a good story and I tried not to get too caught up in the historical aspect, even though it is vital, I just feel the story is just about two innocences being caught in something that they do not understand and never get an opportunity to fully understand it.

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As a History graduate I have had to study the Holocaust in quite some depth and there are loads of inconsistencies and inaccuracies such as Hitler visiting a commandants house and especially just visiting with his wife and no bodyguards. The biggest one that I felt dubious about was Bruno was nine and although he is just a child, having a father in that position he would be familiar with Hitler and wouldn't mispronouce words such as Fuhrer and Auschwitz. But having said all that I still loved the book and know that it is meant to be a touching tale of Bruno and Shmuel's friendship rather than a historical account of what occured .

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I came VERY close to tears when I realised what was going to happen and was still fighting them when I reached the end. If I hadn't been at work and reading during my lunch hour, I would have unashamedly sobbed my heart out!I loved that this book was written in such an accessible way - the fact that it's narrated by a child who doesn't really know what's going on around him makes it far easier to read, despite the heavy subject matter and despite the fact that, as an adult looking back over history, we know exactly what is going on the whole time.It's a heart-rending story, but it's most definitely worth the read. I've just recommended it to both my Mam and my sister, both of whom I believe will get a lot out of it too.

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The ending broke my heart, I was just sitting there crying, it was just so harsh at ending wasn't it?

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I enjoyed this so much I read it within one day. I've posted a review on the reviewer's blog.

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No. nor me which is why I was keen to bump it up the TBR list.

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I'm looking forward to the film too! ...I normally really get a lot out of reading books on this subject matter, but this one I really didn't enjoy so much... until I got to the end. If it had a different ending I don't think I would rate this book very highly at all, but it was so captivating that it made my lack of enjoyment elsewhere worthwhile. If that makes any sense!

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I read this at the end of last year. I enjoyed it on a superficial level, but some parts of it didn't work for me. For example, even though Bruno was only a child, I found it hard to believe that he didn't have a clue what was really going on. I also found in implausible that there could be a hole in the fence big enough for a child to crawl though. My main gripe with the book though was the play on words, such as 'Outwith' and 'The Fury'. Bruno was obviously a German boy, and in the German language, this play on words wouldn't have worked!

 

However, there were certain parts that I really did enjoy. The man who worked for the family, who was a former Doctor, is the character that really stands out for me.

 

(By the way, as a long time absentee, I hope it's okay to simply jump in to this thread)!

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(By the way, as a long time absentee, I hope it's okay to simply jump in to this thread)!

 

Of course it is.:lol: Glad you found us again!

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I finally got to read this book, and I wish I'd done so earlier. I really think it has to be read as a parable, as previously mentioned, rather than an historical account. The innocence and naivety of the boys, and the way the tale is told, makes the underlying story very powerful.

 

I could see where the ending was going, but I wasn't sure if it would actually happen.. there was an increasing horror as I approached it, which left me in tears.

 

I've discussions about whether this is a child's book, or an adult one. According to amazon, the earlier version has the following as part of it's synopsis..

If you do start to read this book, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy called Bruno. (Though this isn't a book for nine-year-olds.) And sooner or later you will arrive with Bruno at a fence.

I agree - part of me wanted to hand this book to Bethany, who's 9, but I then decided not to. I have told her the bare basics.. partly because of the scene in Dr Who (Turn Left), and partly because I chatting to my husband about the book. However, at her age, I don't really want her knowing much more.

 

To me, it works fine as an adult book.. I didn't feel that I was reading a child's book, but rather that the child-like telling of the story was a clever way to put across a horror that's hard to describe.

 

To those of you who read the earlier version, without knowing much about it, do you think it added to the experience that you didn't know what to expect? How quickly did you realise what it was about?

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I read this at the end of last year. I enjoyed it on a superficial level, but some parts of it didn't work for me. For example, even though Bruno was only a child, I found it hard to believe that he didn't have a clue what was really going on. I also found in implausible that there could be a hole in the fence big enough for a child to crawl though. My main gripe with the book though was the play on words, such as 'Outwith' and 'The Fury'. Bruno was obviously a German boy, and in the German language, this play on words wouldn't have worked!

 

I read this last year too and agree with Ruth though I could understand Bruno's naivety in not knowing what was going on. I could see where it was all leading a few chapters in but still wavered. Maybe I'm hard hearted but I thought the ending just desert even though it chilled me as does the whole Holocaust issue. I won't be seeing the movie.

Edited by Kell
fixed quote. ;)

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I read this book last year and I wish that I hadn't know anything about the book before I read it. I really felt like to had to discover the story piece by piece like Bruno was. Knowing the background spoilt it for me from the start, although the ending was just as poignant.

 

I'm keeping this to give to my son as he get older as I think it will be important for him to read and help him understand what happened how these people felt more than images and pictures that I could show him in the future. Like Lovesreading06 said I felt like i was there watching it happening.

 

I have given this book to a few of the youth at our youth club, but I told them nothing about it, but to read it. So many of them have said it's effected them deeply than they expected a book could.

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I just read this book a few days ago and found it very moving. I had wanted to buy it when it came out but never got round to it and now that the film's come out I thought I'd best read it....so asked my mother to bring it from work. I'd always considered it a children's book, it being in the children's section of Smiths when I first saw it, but on reading it I felt as if it were an adult book (despite being very simplistic and from a child's point of view) but of course it's a kids' book too. It did have me in tears towards the end.

 

At first I though the same as what a couple of people have said here, that Bruno was nine and that it was unrealistic for him to be so completely oblivious to what was going on. That I would have asked or found out, when I was nine. But then I changed my mind, because really, truly, if I had asked a question and nobody answered me correctly or truthfully, there wouldn't really be any other way to find out. That would have left him completely in the dark - they didn't have the internet and I doubt books or encylopoedias would have said anything... The only other source of information besides adults on the situation would be the newspaper. And I don't think many 9 year olds care to take an in depth look at the newspaper. So Bruno's information was patchy, and it did reinforce the emotion in the book. It was heart-wrenching that they didn't know what they were walking into.

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