Review: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

A Reader's Respite is abandoning our normal review format for this book.


Because if you haven't read this soon-to-be classic yet, you're missing out. Really missing out.

Originally published in 2006, it has been said that Irish author John Boyne wrote the entire first draft of this stunner in only two and a half days.

Two and a half days. Wow.

Now if you haven't even heard of this book, a full plot synopisis would spoil the story. Suffice it to say that story is set during WWII and is told from the viewpoint of a nine-year-old boy.

Oh, and the ending?

The ending is one of those jaw-dropping, never-saw-it-coming endings. A Reader's Respite turned the last page, rested the book on our lap and simply sat there in awe and wonder for a full fifteen minutes....the ending is that amazing.

Just read it.


Then come back here and share your thoughts with A Reader's Respite.

Title: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Author: John Boyne
ISBN-13: 978-0198326762
224 pages
Publisher: OUP DUMP LIST
Date: May 31, 2007 (pbk.)

Different strokes for different folks: some more reviews

Blue Archipelago
Out of the Blue
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Melody's Reading Corner
The Sleepy Reader
Book Obsession
Reading Adventures
Wondrous Reads
Maw Books Blog


  1. Well doesn't that just about make you want to run right out and buy it? Have to see if there is an ebook version of it. I would LOVE to be in awe for fifteen minutes after reading a book. Happens so rarely. Not that the books I am reading aren't good, just that so many of them do not take me by surprise like this one did you.

  2. Wow! What an endorsement. I can't believe he wrote the first draft in two and a half days. This one is on my wish list. I guess I need to get it soon.

  3. I know exactly how you feel. I haven't read this one yet (I plan to eventually), but I've had a couple of books this year that stopped me in my tracks. I love that feeling of being left speechless by a book, even if it does make the blogging of thoughts a bit difficult. :-)


  4. Very compelling review!

  5. I had intentionally stayed away from the book because it was almost over-publicized because of the movie. So I should re-think? I remember Matt (from a Guy's Moleskin Notebook) was seriously moved by this book as well. I know the premise, as I've seen the movie trailer a few times. It's a good one. I will see if I can find it on audio, as it seems I will be reading Gone With the Wind for the rest of my life.

  6. I saw the movie (in my defense, before I knew that there was a book)...and although I did see it coming, I still bawled at the end.

  7. My daughter went to see the movie and didn't see the end coming. She called me afterwards - sitting outside the theater in the middle of the mall bawling her eyes out

  8. Ok, now I have to add this one to my wish list. I do love a book with an ending that you don't see coming. Nothing like having the book rip itself out of your hands and smack you upside the head! :)


  9. OK, you got me. I put a hold on my library's copy and I'll read it. (And then I'll go, "Which blogger told me to read this?" and hopefully come up with Reader's Respite when I google Boy In Striped Pajamas awe and wonder 'read it').

  10. Even if you do try and write a cohesive review of this one it is still very difficult to balance between giving some information about the book and not spoiling the various twists and turns, especially the ending. My own half baked attempt can be found here

    I haven't seen the film yet, because I am not sure that I can watch it, especially if it stays true to the book.

    I hadn't heard about him writing the draft in such a short time, but looking back you can definitely see that this was a story that just flowed out of him.

  11. Whoa! Ok. I'm sold. Next time I'm at the bookstore, I know what I'm getting!

  12. Moira -- I'd love to know if there is an ebook version. But I know what you mean about the's not that the others aren't good, it's just every once in a while one comes along that blows you away.

    Kathy - it's a real quick read (just over 200 pages) so it's easy to fit this one in between books.

    Lezlie - yes, you're's almost easier to have a conversation about the book than to review it.

    Rhapsody - not sure how compelling it is, but I sure did love it and would love to hear everyone else's thoughts on it, if for no other reason than to verify that I'm not crazy and it is actually that good!

    Sandy - I didn't see Matt's review, but I'll go looking for it today. How are you liking GWTW??

    Softdrink - I wasn't interested in the movie at all because I couldn't see how they'd do justice to that book. But now that you've said that, I'm quickly changing my mind.

    Daphne - wow, really? I guess I really need to see that movie now.

    Carey - I love that about a book, too. There aren't too many of them, are there?!

    Ali - I do the same thing...I can never remember what blogger recommended the book and then go on a frantic search, LOL!

    Marg - thanks for letting me know you reviewed this didn't turn it up in my search. But I've added it to the links now!!

    Beth - I especially can't wait to hear what you think....I'm pretty confident you'll love this book.

  13. This one's already on my wishlist. I'll just have to add it to my schedule or it will never get read. Great endorsement of the book! :)

  14. I absolutely love this book (and the movie, too). Great review!

  15. Maybe it didn't turn up because I spell pajamas pyjamas! ;-)

  16. I loved it. I gave it to my mom for her high school english students. I almost don't want to see the movie, because I can't believe it will be AS good.

  17. I really want to read this one, but then that is what I say about most books LOL --great blog!

  18. I have had this on my shelf for a while-I am definitely going to read it asap now!! Thanks for the post!! :)

  19. I've heard amazing things about the movie. After your review, I'm off to read the book too :)

  20. I read this one about a month ago and simply loved it! I believe that everyone MUST read this book. It was a very moving novel and I still ponder the story when I start to think about it. I think the movie comes out tomorrow so I am hoping to get that one soon through Netflix.

  21. I haven't read it yet and I've put off seeing the film until I have.

  22. From the reviews that I've read this is either a love it or hate it book. And I LOVED it. The more I think about it, the more I loved it. And the movie was amazing. Definitely see it.

  23. As a Jewish woman and a lover of all things literary I have read many Holocaust books but I can truthfully say that I've never read anything that affected me the way The Boy in the Striped Pajamas did. Very rarely do you find an ending to a book that shocks you the way this one did. It was something that I didn't see coming at all and immediately felt that I should have upon reading the last page. I thought about this book for a long time afterward.

    I did not want to see the movie AT ALL because I wasn't sure I could handle a live version of this, but I was dragged to the movie and relived to see that the director did an amazing job of sticking to the book. I've never cried so hard from a movie before.

    Everyone should read this. Even without the historical context, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is an amazing story.

  24. Ok, seems you have sold a few dozens copies with this review.
    Guess I will have to add my name to the list.

  25. Alyce - it's a real quick read. I just squeezed it in between arcs and am so glad I did!

    ProphecyGirl - thanks for letting me know you reviewed this...I added it to the list at the bottom of the post!

    Marg - good it turns out, I missed a lot of great reviews by insisting on the dumb American spelling of pyjamas, lol. I'm busy adding the links because you all wrote such great reviews.

    Elizabeth - I was thinking the same thing, but everyone is just raving about the movie so I do believe I'll make an exception in this case. I'll stock up on kleenex first.

    Lover of Life - if you read it, be sure to let me know what you thought of it!

    Diane - I'm the same way...I'll be reading till I hit the grave with all of the great blog suggestions out there. I get such great recommendations that way and it's been a long, long time since I've complained that I was out of books to read, LOL.

    PrahladP - if you pick it up, let me know. It's worth the price...every penny of it.

    Jenners - LOL...okay, that comment just cracked me up.

    MssJoss - isn't it nice to realize that you already have the book waiting for you on the shelf? ;)

    The Chic Geek - we'll have to decide whether to recommend people read the book or watch the movie first. I'm suspecting it will be the book, eh?

    Jo-Jo --- guess I'm going to have to check out pay per view and see if it's playing on there yet.

    LadyTink - probably a good idea. I just think the impact of the book (for those of us who are more literary minded) is too powerful to miss reading it first. Of course, I haven't seen the movie yet, so I may be premature on that.

    Natasha - I've added your fabulous review to my list!!

    Rachel - thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I understand what you mean...I've read some very good Holocaust literature in the past 6 months, but this one tops my list as probably the very best out there. So simple in it's premise, I can't believe how powerful it is. I intend for my children to read this someday, so I've tucked the book away on my shelves. It is shocking in it's innocence, isn't it?

    Caite - I wish I could buy copies for everyone out there. I need to find a wealthy benefactor, eh? :)

  26. I'm sold - Absolutely loved your review even though you gave nothing away except a glowing recommendation

  27. Michele, I think it helps to approach this as a YA read. Our club, which reads books with a Jewish theme, was split on it. Some members thought the main character was too naive for his age and that the plot line could not have happened in a real camp. But once we discussed the characters and plot in a YA context, folks were more comfortable with it.

  28. I’m just dropping by to let you know that I’ve given you an award!

  29. i've had this sitting on my bookshelf since Christmas and have yet to pick it up...maybe it should be one of my next reads. Thanks for the good review!

  30. I'm intrigued! And I don't remember hearing of a movie with this title. I guess I have to crawl out from under my rock more often!

  31. This is interesting. I've heard of the film but was unaware it was based on a book (but not surprised). Now I'm wondering if I should read it...I assumed it was just the typical maudlin WW II story. I'll have to take a look!

  32. I'm amazed that anyone could write a book in 2 1/2 days. That's amazing.

    I'm going to add this book to my to-read list.

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  34. Haven't read this one yet, but I've seen the movie. If the endings are the same, then I agree. Wow.

    I've posted about your review here.

    Diary of an Eccentric

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