Saturday, 25 June 2011

Books to Movies Challenge #1 - The boy in the stripped pajamas

Last weekend I finally got around to starting the Books to Movies Challenge I'm doing. The challenge is hosted by Two Bibliomaniacs.The book and movie I chose was The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne.

GoodReads Summary: Berlin 1942
When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

Well first off, the blurb doesn't give much away about the content of this book. The story is told in the 3rd person, depicting the Holocaust through the eyes of a 9 year old boy. In his innocence Bruno refers to The Fuhrer as 'The Fury' and Auschwitz as 'Out-With'. But as an adult reading this book, you can see past what Bruno hears and sees and can understand the true horror of what is going on around him. Something that really bothered me through out the book was that Bruno read like a 6 year old, not a 9 year old German boy who was old enough to join the Hitler Youth.This really brought the book down for me.

However, Boyne does a beautiful job of conveying the horror and violence of the holocaust without actually describing it on the page. The story picked up at the end when Bruno's ignorance and his loyalty to his new friend Shmuel sends him on a quest that has a devastating outcome which left me in tears. Boyne handled it sensitively and showed us that it was not just millions of Innocent Jews that suffered in Nazi Germany, but naive people like Bruno, who just wanted to help his friend find his father. I'm giving this one 3 out 5 stars.

The Movie

I have similar thoughts about the movie; wasn't that impressed but it picked up at the ending with some very moving final scenes. To be honest, I wouldn't watch the movie again. I cannot understand why all the German Soldiers and German people spoke with British accents? There wasn't a hint of a German accent. The movie also lacked a lot of content from the book, such as Bruno referring to The Fury and Out-With. Overall the movie is OK, the book was better but I wasn't hugely impressed with either. I guess I had heard such good things about them, my expectations got too high. I'd only give the movie 2 out of 5 Stars.

Would love to hear people's thoughts?


  1. I liked but didn't love the book and like you thought that the book was better than the film. I teach 10 year olds and read them the book and they absolutely loved it, I think it does work well with it's target audience.

  2. Interesting commentary. I've had this one on my radar for a while, but I think it's going to move down a few spaces in line... British accents on the German soldiers, really??? Yikes!