The Boy In The Striped Pajamas – SPOILER PAGE

This is a SPOILER PAGE for The book and movie The Boy In The Striped Pajamas.  If you have not read this book – DO NOT READ THIS PAGE.  IT WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS…. that is what it is here for.

SO as you know -the spoiler page is fair game to talk about whatever happened in the book/movie and your thoughts about it. 

I have not used the spoiler page for many months, but after reading this book this afternoon – even though I seen the movie a couple of months ago… I felt this one needed to be discussed more.

First of all I think my review says this clearly but I found this to be such a  powerful read.  I guess what I really want to talk about here is the ending…. it just floored me…. I thought for sure at the last-minute they would be saved…. it just


and as I said I seen the movie first so what you seen above was “the ending” for me.  pretty close tot he book ending except there is a couple of lines in the book that are not in the movie at the end and should be because even though I knew what was to come… it still brought me to tears….

“They are not my best friends anymore anyway.  Bruno looked down at Shmaul and did something quite out of character for him, he took hold of Shmaul’s tiny hand and squeezed it tightly.  “You’re my best friend Shmaul.  My best friend for life.”

I know there is so much more to discuss in this book…. the innocence of Bruno, and even of Shmaul.  A friendship through a fence…. boundaries and lack there of….. but unfortunately my head is all tied up in the ending again that has left me a sobbing mess.  Feel free to get this conversation going…..

what did you think of this book, this movie?  Did you prefer one over the other?  If so – why?  Is Bruno a realistic character?  Have you read other books about the Holocaust? 

50 thoughts on “The Boy In The Striped Pajamas – SPOILER PAGE

  1. i have the book sitting on my shelf…..
    saw the movie and remembered thinking near the end that there was no way it would end the way it did…and when it did i was too shocked to cry…i couldn’t even discuss it with anyone because i was just so…..upset, mad, saddened,,,wanting desperatlyfor there to be an alternate ending because it couldn’t have ended that way!!!!
    i have since read a lot of books about the holocaust, a lot of ones with pictures, and i get that same sick, disbelieving feeling.
    sarah’s key and motherland are 2 of the books that stand out the most
    +i could go on forever about this…..and it was less than 70 years ago!!!!!!

    1. Exactly Diana, I did the same thing… the movie got to the end and I thought no way…. the dad will save him….. and he did not.

      On the flip of that – I think how wonderful it was that Shmaul did not die alone, that he had a friend at such terrible times. It still breaks my heart.

        1. But it does not have hands to touch ur heart. I am sarcastic, right? I was laughing as I watched it. Mwahahahah

        2. I attend school still and we watched this for an assessment, the novel was sad but when we watched the movie, most of my class mates and myself were in tears.😭 I didnt think that it would end like that, the novel sounded so calm and not at all dramatic

  2. I read this book months ago and it has stuck with me. I remember turning the last few pages and crying so hard that the words blurred on the page and I had to actually put it down until I could see the words again. Many books have moved me, but nothing like this.

    There is something to be said about the innocence of children but this almost angered me in some ways. For a father, who was so actively involved in what was happening on the other side of the fence, you would have thought that his children would have been tainted with same feelings and beliefs that he held about the jews and people who were not included in the “perfect race.” I found it hard to believe that they were clueless as to what was going on and I blamed the father for his death.

    I have not watched the movie, but have read the book several times just because I was in such shock the first time around I thought that I had missed something somewhere. I will have to check out the movie.

    On the other hand I commended the parents for not exposing them to those views. It was just really hard to swallow for me, someone who is very accepting of other people, other faiths, and differing view points from my own. I still can’t grasp that it wasn’t that long ago in our own country here where hate and racism was abundant and people thought nothing of uttering hate-filled words to one another or causing each other harm. Although we have come a long way as a society we still have work to do. I can only hope that I raise my children to be as accepting and open-minded as I raised to be.

    This novel is a testament to a terrible time in history but also to how children view the world and each other. If only “adults” could have the same point of view and be more accepting of others, the world really would be a better place.

    1. Beautiful comment here Sarah…. I think the author used Brunos innocence to show what we are like before prejudices eat away that virtue.

      The book works for me with Bruno not knowing a thing about what was happening because his dad really had little to do with him or his family and his mother sheltered him so.

      I recommend the movie – it is very well done 🙂

      1. the movie made me cry so hard I couldn’t breath, I’ve watched it 4 times in the last 5 day

  3. I read and reviewed this one in 2009 and each time I see a review for it I have to comment

    “the powerful ending of this story affected me deeply, I think I actually gasped in disbelief. This will not be a book I forget in a hurry ~ I believe it is one of those reading experiences that enriches you in a profound way.”

    So glad you felt the same way Sheila

  4. When I read this book, I actually literally threw it across the room. I then had to stop sobbing, crawl over and re-read the end. As a teacher of primary (elementary) children, I would love to do this with a class. However, it would need to be an upper primary (11/ 12 year olds) towards the end of the year when we knew each other very well and with the parents knowledge. A powerful book.

    1. I can understand tossing the book… I liked the ending in the movie better – while the same… it was, quicker… in the book they said they could not find him for weeks… in the movie they know right away and miss their chance to save him by minutes.

    1. At the end – while we watched most of the last part in complete silence, I was crying and it was Easter night. Justin looked at me as the credits rolled and said “What is wrong with you?” (in a kidding tone….) and through my tears i said, “Happy Easter!”

  5. Schmaul was not innocent; he had an understanding of the world. He knew exactly what was happening at the end, and by taking Bruno into the gas chamber, he committed the perfect revenge, the ultimate payback to Bruno’s father.

    Morbid? Yes, I know!

    1. Ima, I am going to have to disagree, I did not get that out of the book at all. I don’t believe Schmaul intentionally took Bruno to his death. That’s my opinion any way – I did not read any vengence at all into the book.

      1. Schmaul didn’t take Bruno to his death it was quiet obvious that Schmaul was only looking for his Father. Anyway that is just my opinion on that but, yea. I don’t think that Schmual would do that to Bruno after all he game him. It is still a very sad ending. Not going to spoil it… because it has already been spoiled XD. Have fun reading!

      2. U r wrong , im a middle schooler reading the book with my 6th period , I think that u know absolutely nothing about the Natzis & u dont get how Bruno & Shmuel feel so u just jump online and say all this different crap , the author did great with this book , @JohnBoyne u did great dont let ANYONE pull u down , especially not about this book , im not saying u r trying to pull him down , its just its okay not to like the book although there is no reason not to , however anyone should understand this book , dont mean to sound rude , i was raised to respect my elders , if u took it as me being rude im sorry ma’am , thanks Ms(or Mrs.)Sheila.

  6. well I think that well, I never finished it and that is why I am on this website. So thats it 😀 thank you everybody

  7. I just saw the movie yesterday, mid-day, and I have been “bothered” by it ever since (next day, end of my 9 – 5 work day)…so much so that I am googling it now and came across this site, and thought I would comment, even though the last comment was from November, 2013!

    I kept seeing the movie offered on Netflix, and knew it would affect me, and yesterday I finally had the “courage” to watch. Glad I did, and yet I am so deeply disturbed by it at the same time. I am trying to weigh if it was a good idea to watch….

    On another site, I saw someone noted (and I will paraphrase) that Bruno symbolizes many of the German civilians at that time who had no idea of the atrocities that were occurring right under their noses. I feel that’s pretty accurate and gave me a sense of “why did sweet Bruno have to die??” (not to mention Shmael and EVERYONE else). His innocence right to the end is heartwrenching. I keep picturing the desperate hand-holding of the adults at the end… eyes are getting blurry just thinking about it.

    Well, obviously it moved me. Was it a good idea to watch? For selfish reasons, probably not….in another sense, I felt like I “owed” it to all of those people that endured that type of evil, rather than look the other way, if that makes sense. I tend to do that with other Holocaust movies/books as well, because while all those lives went through the unimaginable, I feel like they deserve the attention. How dare I look the other way, as much as I want to, just because it makes ME feel more comfortable. Hope that makes sense.

    It’s interesting to read how the book ends as opposed to the movie.

    1. I am so glad you found this post – even two years later I still remember both book and movie well. I am glad I seen it – I am glad that I was able to feel pain watching it and as you said, really understand what living at that time in that place was like.

    2. First of all, I think that Bruno was a LITTLE too innoccent. For example, German civilians at least knew that there was a war going on! Secondly, am I the only one who thought this described WW2 in a bad way? Perhaps its just me…
      But I have to agree with you about the endings of both the book and the movie. The movie ends in a more dramatic, abrupt and saddening end, whilst the book ends with a sarcastic comment. Interesting.

  8. I have not read the book. I just watched the movie a few hours ago. And now I have had a real bad mood these past hours… I have a real new perspective about the Jews!!

  9. The ending keeps replaying over and over again in my head, who to blame , how could it have been prevented, what happened afterwards ….. The ending left me speechless

    1. Just watched this for the first time on Netflix last night. What a movie. The actors playing the roles of Bruno and Schmual were amazing. I agree with the majority of comments about Bruno’s innocence. The ending was sad, yet incredibly powerful. This will definitely be a book that I read in the near future.

  10. I had to read this as part of a class, and I personally think that this book is not the best. Firstly, the representation of Hitler- careless! Do you really think that the leader of a country, would go to the house of a high-ranking soldier and behave so rudely to him and his children? Secondly- the style of writing is bland and boring, and I didn’t gain a vocabulary from this book. Lastly, the plot and moral- very unorigional plot, but that’s not always bad. But I just feel like I’ve read a book like this way too many times. I think that there should be a book that does just the opposite – instead of you feeling sorry for a poor little Jew, what about feeling sorry for the Nazis’ lost? After all, they were killed too, by the Allies. And the moral; it’s all about identity and how the Germans and Jews weren’t different…. blah..blah…
    Overall I did NOT enjoy this book

    1. I have to agree with you, the book was enjoyable yet disheartening. The writing style was bland and repetitive. Perhaps it was done so because it was written from a child’s perspective? And the role of Hilter seemed like rude guest rather than an intimidating man who is ruthless. I liked the book sinced it moved me something most books don’t do. I loved and hated the fact how Bruno was somehow always clueless and couldnt empathise with the Shmuel when they talked. Or connect the dots. It made be frustrated how no one told him anything and there was no resolution. But that also made the book great because instead of a disney ending it a realistic one.

    2. I agree with the fact that it was bland, but, it was an eye opener and this book was the only NOT cheesy book about friendship that I can find!

  11. I have to say it is hard to believe the comment I have just read!! ” feeling sorry for the Nazi’s after all they were killed by the allies”?? After all the atrocities they commited, all the lives they destroyed , how can anyone in his right mind be sorry for them?? I am sorry that human beings could have been so primitive only a generation ago but apparently the bad seed is still around…..

  12. I could not believe the ending because Bruno was just beautiful big minded little boy who had no idea about the world other than friends and play. He didn’t know what disaster his father was creating and he didn’t know what was keeping his mother so secure about him!! he figured what it was but there were probably 4-5 seconds of him breathing before he can tell Shmuel

  13. well this book was very powerful it made me cry throughout. john boyne is such a powerful writer the way he writes as if your behind Bruno and u learn things new when he learns them fantastic

    1. Im in 7th grade and we just start reading the book and bruno wanted to stay home and if they did he would still be alive but probably not cause the bombing in Berlin but really sad ending

      Plus what is tyre and centre

  14. I am about to flip, I hated the way he writes, he wrote with little detail like a toddler was writing the “book”. And then the book ends with the kid going into the gas chamber and little after I am most likely never going to read another book by john Boyne considering he couldn’t figure out how to describe a surprised face without saying it made the shape of and O. I can’t believe this incredibly bad written book got a movie, and the false prince didn’t.

  15. How could that have happened? OMG!! Bruno died.It would have been a perfect ending execpt that bruno shouldn’t have died! It’s so not fair, he can’t die! No he can’t!

  16. If you liked this book you should read Making Bombs for Hitler, Stolen Child, and Underground Soldier by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. In this order they make much more sense as Stolen was written first but Making Bombs is a prequel. They are fictitious but were written with some of her mother’s experiences as a child in WW2.
    Really great reads even though they are Jr books.
    I don’t read much but couldn’t put them down. Same with the Boy in Striped Pajamas… just couldn’t put it down then watched the movie. Cried and cried.

  17. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is read in middle school here. Both of my kids read it then they watched the movie in class and did a comparative analysis with respect to the differences between the two.
    Little did I know they were going to read the book but I found the subject matter interesting and had checked the movie out from the library prior to reading the book.

  18. … I fricken cried during the movie / book , i just watched the movie today at my middle school and finished the book yesterday, R.I.P Bruno, the feelz ;_;

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