Books set in Europe, Boyne-John, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Jackson-Angus, Social Commentary, WWII

#595 The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne and adapted by Angus Jackson

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne and adapted by Angus JacksonThe Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne and adapted by Angus Jackson

In Germany during WWII Bruno realizes there is a disturbance in his family. The Fury came to dinner and everything seemed to change. Bruno’s father is a soldier, but Bruno’s mother tells Bruno that he, his sister Gretel, and herself are moving out into the country for father’s job, but grandmother is not coming. Grandmother tells Bruno they will be still be friends when he gets back.

The house in the country is not at all as nice as their house in Berlin. There is no one to play with. Bruno does spy a fence and he sees children beyond the fence, but there is no one else around beside his family and the soldiers. Bruno soon learns that the people on the other side of the fence are Jews.

He comes upon a boy one day sitting on the other side of the fence. The boy cannot come over to his side, but the two speak and talk. They become friends. The boy’s name is Shmuel. One day Shmuel tells Bruno is father is missing and Bruno scurries under the fence to help Shmuel find his father.

What I liked

I liked having a little more insight into this story. I haven’t read the full book yet, but I have seen the movie. It’s quite sad.

What I didn’t like

I’m going to go ahead and admit right now that I am not very fond of reading plays. The action and story seems chopped up in a play. Instead of just saying, “George is a boy and he went into the forest,” there are directions for George to go into the forest and it’s dictated what George might say. I’m just not fond of it.

This is a sad story. I can’t imagine having something like this happen to my child, but at the same time, I kind of feel that Bruno’s father was asking for it because of the way he treated Jewish people. If you treat people like junk, don’t expect your life to be roses and gumdrops. Bad things are bound to happen to you, whether it’s by some karmic force, or other people decide that bad things need to happen to you because you’re a jerk.


Poor Bruno. Poor Shmuel. Poor everybody involved in this story.

Weigh In

Do you think people who treat other people bad are deserving of bad things that may happen to them?

Do you think anyone suspected that Bruno did not belong on the other side of the fence?


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