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“The boy in the striped pyjamas” by John Boyne

24 Jun

The story of two boys and their friendship is the subject topic in this novel, their friedndship is against all predicitions and for sure it would have been inconvenient if it had been known by Bruno’s parents, the German boy, or Shmuel, the Jewish boy.

Bruno and his family live in Berlin, at home everything seems to be perfect for him who has a nice house, can go to school, and has friends to play with. His father, an important military main, is in charge of a new post in a concentration camp (out with in Brunos’ words, Auschwitz in real life) and then he has to go to live to a house he hates since the beginning.

The atmosphere there is so suffocating that he needs going out to explore, then  he discovers some “farms” and “farmers” who wear strange pyjamas and feels the necessity to go further in his explorations. One day by a fence he meets Shmuel, the farmer boy who lives in one of those farms. In fact he is a jewish boy who is in a extermination camp and who tries to explain his new friend how life is inside the camp.

Bruno and Shmuel become good friends and for both this new friendship is the only reason to go on living in a place like that. One day Shmuel tells Bruno that his father has disappeared and asks him to help. Bruno and Shmuel design a plan for Bruno to go into the camp with a pyjamas. Once in the camp Bruno realizes the terrible life inside the farms and both of them are taken by soldiers to a gas chamber where they die.

Bruno’s family can’t believe what they imagine has happened, in the end the story breaks out at the colonel’s face who was in charge of exterminate all those jewish people, including Shmuel, Bruno’s friend .

We talked about the book and could share differect points of view, although on the whole we really like it and considered the story of a nice friendship, we wondered if the facts written in the book may contain a believable story as there were too many coincidences and the narration was too naïve.  We used some videos about Auschwitz and of the pre war Berlin to try to recreate the two different places Bruno’s childhood took place, we also supported our comments with pieces of the film which helped us to set all the atmosphere.

Pilar Martínez-Sapiña

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