Book vs Movie: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

Shruti Bhutani Photography

The boy in the striped pyjamas is a story of two 9-year-old boys who move to Poland in the midst of the second world war, both under different circumstances. Bruno, son of a German commandment, moves to a new house called - 'Out-With' with his mother and sister, for his father’s outlandish job. While Shmuel, a Jewish boy from Poland is transported to a camp, being managed by Bruno’s father, separate from his family. Bruno is a self proclaimed explorer; on one of his adventures out the back of his new home, he is fascinated to find the camp where everyone (except the soldiers) gets to wear striped pyjamas all day long. The story begins when Bruno and Shmuel find each other on the opposite sides of the barbed wires; confused and eager, both the boys wind up spending their afternoons in each other’s company, and eventually find solace in their differences. Both their characters are admirable as they are unfamiliar with the war and it's repercussions on the humanity, and have ingenious thoughts about their situation. The two boys build a relationship through the wired fencing between them, escalating into an unspoken friendship despite the many differences.

The book is meant for children, however a must read for all those who enjoy this genre. The innocence and simplicity in the story speaks for itself, both in the script as well as in the acting. I saw the movie a few years ago, even before I read the book. On a friend’s recommendation, I decided to read the book and then watch the movie one more time. It can be hard to decide which is a better medium honestly, because source of entertainment can be different for each one of us. Personally, I enjoy both reading the book, as well as the creative adaptation of the stories on the screen; the whole process is creative and inspiring.

While the book narrates the characters and the tale more effectively, the movie wins’ on how it concludes and embellishes the essence of the story. There are nuances in the book, that don’t come up as well in the movie, which forms an important part in any storytelling. Many parts of the story were staged for a better screenplay, some parts were added to the story to give the viewers context, which was a great addition to the story. However, the movie misses out on portraying Bruno’s thoughts and human element as good as it’s in the book. The book is more informative and engaging, while the movie brings the story to a pinnacle so very well depicted on. For this particular story, I recommend reading the book first, and then watch the movie for a more impactful storytelling. It’s a heart breaking story, irrespective of the medium you pick for yourself.

Have you read the book or seen the movie? I would love to know your thoughts on them.

Love & Peace



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