ISBN-13: 9780385751896
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Published: October 2008
Edition Description: Media Tie-in
216 pgs

With the movie scheduled to be released here next week, I figure this is a good time for me to pick up this book before watching it.

Told from a nine-year-old's perspective, this is a story about the Holocaust. Then again, it is also a story about misunderstandings and misconceptions.

Bruno's world is turned upside down when he knew he has to move out of Berlin together with his family one day. Bruno has no idea what his father is actually doing, except that he wear a uniform and that he looked very handsome and smart in it. Bruno is sad about leaving Berlin, but mostly importantly he misses his three good friends and his grandparents. After all, he stayed in Berlin all his life and to him a comfort zone. His elder sister, Gretel, who is twelve, is not thrilled about the move either but it seems it is not a choice for all of them.

When they arrived at their new house, Bruno is dismayed to find that there is absolutely nothing there as compared to their house in Berlin. Already feeling sad without any friends in the new place, he is also not pleased to find that the house is smaller and there is nothing except a fence surrounding the area if he walk a little further away.

He did not think about the fence until boredom and curiosity probe him into doing so. He met a boy named Shmuel who is his age and coincidentally, they shared the same birthday. They became friends quickly. Bruno never understand the story behind Shmuel whenever he told him so (as well as why he and the others are wearing the striped pajamas), but he continues to be a good friend and bring Shmuel food almost everyday without fail. To him, companionship and friendship is enough for him but of course he could never understand Shmuel's situation until a harmless decision lead to a drastic end.

Now where shall I begin? There are so many things I want to say about this book. I am sure how I felt about this book may have already been said by many readers/reviewers.

As a start, I totally believed in Bruno's naivety and innocence for someone his age. After all, he has been living a sheltered life and he has no idea what the world is going on out there. He is overly protective by his parents, and in his eyes the world is a comfort place to live in, with good food and a happy life with his family and friends. He could not understand the harshness and the cruelty of war because he has never encountered them before.

I think Bruno has found true friendship through Shmuel. They may live in a completely different world, but one could tell their friendship is genuine through their acts and conversations. Whenever I read about Shmuel's unfortunate situations, they made me want to cry.

I simply could not describe my feelings towards the ending. It is so powerful and this leads me into thinking how the younger readers will feel and whether or not if they understand the meaning behind this story. Nevertheless, it is a good story; one that will remain in my mind for some time. I can not wait to watch the movie.

Other blog reviews:
A Guy's Moleskin Notebook
(Let me know if I've missed yours.)
27 Responses
  1. Julia Says:

    I had no idea that this book will be made into a movie. But then I'll be afraid to read the book and then movie...only to find it wasn't good as the book. I hope I'm wrong with that

    Interesting review, Melody! Always like reading your reviews! I might pick this book up :)

  2. Melody Says:

    Julia - IMO, the books are always better than the movie adaptation. ;)

    Thank you! I hope you'll read this book. It's really a good read!

  3. Julia Says:

    I agree with you, that books are always better then the movies - IMO.

    This book sorta remind me of when I read Ann Frank Diary. That one was emotional read for me. I know it not the same, but the feeling and emotion was there.

    Is this book in trade paperback?

  4. Melody Says:

    Julia - Ah, yes! There's some similarity here on the emotional level.

    The book is in paperback.

  5. Julia Says:

    Really?! Than that mean the cost won't be too bad :) Thanks!

  6. Melody Says:

    Julia - Yeah. I hope you'll get it. :)

  7. Sandy Nawrot Says:

    I've not read the book or seen the movie. The book has been fairly well received...I specifically remember Matt reviewing it not long ago. (I cannot see the movie before reading the book, otherwise it ruins it for me!) The movie reviews have been confusing...not very high marks but I didn't understand by the comments what the problem was. If you see the movie, come back and let us know what you think!

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Looks like recently I am seing books on holocaust everywhere :)
    this one looks good though. Let us know how you find the movie...

  9. Ana S. Says:

    I've been meaning to read this one for a while. It sounds so good, but also so sad.

  10. Jeane Says:

    Sounds like one I really need to read. So many books are being made into films now, I can't keep up with them all!

  11. mariel Says:

    I've heard the film is just as good!

  12. Anonymous Says:

    I had no idea the movie was based on a book. I should have guessed that was the case. Oh well, I'm really interested in seeing this film and now I guess I have another book to add to the TBR pile.

  13. Darlene Says:

    I had this out from the library a few weeks back but never got around to reading it. Even though it may be sad, it still seems as though it's a good one to read. I'll have to get it at the library again.

  14. trish Says:

    I'm so glad you liked it! I really enjoyed it, too. I didn't realize the movie's about to come out...I'll have to look for it in theaters.

  15. Ladytink_534 Says:

    I'd like to read this one ever since I saw the movie trailer.

  16. Marg Says:

    THis was a really moving book. I do want to see the movie, although I must confess that I am worried about seeing what they have done to the book, particularly the ending!

  17. Josette Says:

    I can't wait to watch the movie too! I wonder when it'll come out in Malaysia.

    It's a powerful book, isn't it? Friendship is indeed a touching issue but Bruno's ignorance is really something. My heart totally went out to Shmuel too.

    Thanks for linking to my review. I'll link back to yours too. :)

  18. Thank you for your great review, Melody. This sounds like a touching and powerful story. I haven't yet read the book or seen the movie, but I do plan to do both. I look forward to reading your thoughts on the movie when you are able to see it.

  19. The Bookworm Says:

    sounds very good, I didnt know a movie was coming out.
    how wonderful that it has such a powerful ending.
    great review.

  20. Alice Says:

    Great review, Melody! I like the cover. Mine's the one at the bottom. :)

  21. Kathy Says:

    Hey, Melody! I'm reading this book right now!!! I can't believe you did a review; I'm about half-way thru the book, but am enjoying it. We missed the movie because it was in limited release here in the States. Hope you get a chance to see it -- I'll have to wait until its out on DVD now.
    Nice pics of Australia; looks like you had a nice trip and saw everything!!!!

  22. Iliana Says:

    This is one of those books that's been on my radar for a while. I'm so glad to hear you liked it and I had no idea a movie was made! Didn't this book come out around the same time as The Book Thief? At least I sort of remember I heard about it around that time which is probably why I put off reading it for so long. The Book Thief just left me so gutted I couldn't take another book with children and the holocaust.

  23. Melody Says:

    Sandy - I can't watch a movie before reading the book either! I've not read the movie reviews, but I don't think it'll have any effects on me. ;)

    Violet - I'm not sure when I'll watch the movie though but I'll try to write my thoughts on it once I've seen it. :)

    Nymeth - It's indeed a sad story. I hope you'll read this book soon!

    Jeane - I hope you'll enjoy this one. You're right that there're so many books are made into films... I can't keep up with them either, LOL.

    Mariel - I'm glad to hear the film is just as good! Now I can't wait! ;)

  24. Melody Says:

    Aaron - Glad to hear you're adding this book to your pile! I'm hoping the movie will be as good as the book though.

    Dar - Yes, you'll have to get this book from the library again! ;) I really enjoyed this one! Do let me know if you've read it.

    Trish - I'm not sure about the theatres over your side, but ours said it'll be released on 12 Feb. Let's hope it doesn't get delayed!!

    Jen - Lucky you! I haven't even watched the trailer yet, then again I haven't been to the cinemas for quite some time, LOL.

    Marg - The books are always better in most cases! I wonder about the ending too... I hope the movie will follow as much as the book though!

    Josette - Thanks for linking, Josette! Indeed Bruno's innocence can be astonishing to some but he's such a well-protected boy.

    Wendy - It's indeed a touching and powerful story! I'm also looking forward to reading more books by this author in future.

    Naida - I've to say the ending is the real climax of the story!

    Alice - I love both covers, but I've to say the other one in strip is very interesting though! :)

    Kathy - I'm so glad to hear you're reading this book now! How do you find it so far? I didn't know that this movie is in limited release over there! What a bummer!

    The Perth trip was fun! We're looking forward to visiting Sydney or Melbourne next (although we've no idea when!! LOL).

    Iliana - Honestly, I've no idea when this book was first released, but I'd also love to read The Book Thief! I've this book in my pile like for ages and I'm looking forward to read it one day soon.

  25. Debi Says:

    Wonderful review, Melody! Another of those books that's been on my TBR pile for far too long.

  26. Melody Says:

    Debi - Thanks! You should move this book up from your pile! It's good! ;)

  27. Anna Says:

    The movie made me cry. I haven't read the book though. I just wonder how the two were able to talk to each other at the fence without anyone seeing? From what I read, those camps were heavily guarded.

    I hope it's okay that I linked to your review on War Through the Generations.

    Diary of an Eccentric

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