Tuesday, 13 July 2010
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
I'm not going to give an outline of this book as I think most people by now have at least a vague idea of what its about.
I had to have the right frame of mind reading this book, I had read about the naivety of Bruno and yes, I agree that a boy living in Berlin at that time with a Nazi father would of course know the word Jew and of course he would know what the Star of David and Hitler looked like. So with this in mind I read the book as I might a fable as intended rather than historical fiction. Aside from a few times when I did think “Oh come on, as if he would say that”, the story as a fable I think works rather well.
I am not a great fan of children/YA books but I did like the voice of Bruno and for the most part I think he spoke very much as a nine year old boy would speak. I liked Bruno's observations about his sister and his new surroundings and the friendship between the two boys somehow worked. But I found some of his repetitions and mis-pronunciations of words a little tiresome after a while.
That said I did not see the ending coming and when it did I was really shocked, for this reason this is not a book I am likely to forget in a hurry.
The film I preferred. The script took out Bruno's mispronunciations and unusually for a book- to-film adaptation, there are a lot of elements added to the overall story. Bruno is not as naïve as he is in the book as some of the horrors are added to the story and they also made his tutor a frothing Nazi who tries his best to indoctrinate Bruno and his sister into Hitler's way of thinking.
The best addition to the film though was Bruno's mother and father. The script allowed for both characters to be more rounded and you get to watch a breakdown of a marriage as Bruno's mother becomes more and more appalled with what she can see happening just over the fence and the effects of this on her children. This was achieved by taking some of the story away from Bruno's point of view, something which could not be done in the book.
Overall I liked the story but didn't love it.
Verdict – both book and film 3/5
Posted by Jess
This also qualifys for the read the book watch the movie challenge hosted over at C.B James