The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

book_cover The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a haunting novel for various reasons. The story plays off during the WWII Holocaust and is told from the perspective of a 9 year old boy who strikes up a friendship with a boy in the striped pyjamas. What does it mean to wear striped pyjamas?

Bruno’s father is a Nazi commandant who gets a promotion and they have to move from Berlin to Auschwitz, Poland. Having to leave his friends behind, Bruno finds himself alone and no one to play with at their new home. He notices a “farm” close by and asks his mother if he is allowed to play with the children on the farm. He does realize that the people on the farm are a bit strange as they wear striped pyjamas. The only problem is, it’s not a farm, but the death camp Auschwitz.

Playing with his sister, Gretel isn’t an option, so he starts doing what he loves best – exploring and came across a young boy his age, Shmuel, sitting on the other side of the fence. Bruno and Shmuel develop a friendship. Bruno is ignorant about what goes on and why Shmuel has to stay on the other side of the fence. However he visits Shmuel daily and takes along food for him to eat.

The story is heart breaking and poignant as we read about the events of WWII from the perspective of innocent children who are not aware of why and what is happening. The story ends in tragedy, a big “moral of the story” which for the purpose of not giving spoilers I won’t disclose. I am however sure that many of you have seen the movie or read the book and know why I say this.

WxsjZEfTF1g.movieposterI have also seen the movie, which I absolutely LOVED! I might like the movie more than the book. I think that that the acting was great. I have to say that with the movie and the book the ending or some parts of the novel might not make full sense if you don’t have some background about what happened in the WWII Holocaust. I have seen the movie with my 11 year old nephew and I had to explain to him what the ending alluded to.

Have you read the book or seen the movie? I cried myself a river! Let me know your thoughts.

Image sources: book cover and movie