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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Narrated by: Michael Maloney
Length: 4 hrs and 55 mins
Categories: Young Adults, Ages 13 & Up
4.5 out of 5 stars (58 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

What happens when innocence is confronted by monstrous evil?

Nine-year-old Bruno knows nothing of the Final Solution and the Holocaust. He is oblivious to the appalling cruelties being inflicted on the people of Europe by his country. All he knows is that he has been moved from a comfortable home in Berlin to a house in a desolate area where there is nothing to do and no one to play with. Until he meets Shmuel, a boy who lives a strange parallel existence on the other side of the adjoining wire fence and who, like the other people there, wears a uniform of striped pyjamas.

Bruno's friendship with Shmuel will take him from innocence to revelation. And in exploring what he is unwittingly a part of, he will inevitably become subsumed by the terrible process.

©2016 John Boyce (P)2016 Random House AudioBooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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A Deeply Moving Fable

I listened to this audio book in one sitting after my grandson (age 11) had been given it to read at school and was very distressed by it.
I grew up in Germany post WWll, with my father being in the British Army and occupying there, wives and families were accommodated there too. My father had been one of the original troops who liberated Bergen-Belsen, and at age 8, I overheard his distress and anger, and observed his out-of-character anger towards the German population at the time. So this book was a poignant reminder of my own loss of innocence at that dreadful time in history.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Worthy

Absolutely loved this voice! The best I have heard so far. The story was wonderful and short enough to listen in one day.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ian R
  • Leeton
  • 16-07-2019

Well written

Although it's a fictional story, it tells a true story. I'd say it's very well written.

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A very well written story

My daughter heard about and chose to read this book for her Year 8 English class. After her positive feedback my wife and I also listened to the audiobook. I really enjoyed the story and it has prompted healthy family discussion of the holocaust. I highly recommend this book.

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Sad and poignant

An insightful work of fiction based on fact. Seen through a child's eyes...incorporating humour, innocence and perceptiveness sometimes missing in the adults in the book.

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Great Book

Very well written. Made me cry. Recommend for all ages over 12 years old. John Boyne is a great author!

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A DEFINATE 5 STAR BOOK

The book takes you on a visual journey from the eyes of a young boy. So cruel the events yet so innocent the from the child's perspective. The father the instigator yet the hero in his son's eyes. I experienced such sadness. My dad was a German child in Germany and this was his reality. I knew of the atrocities but this book took me step by step with the child as if I was there. No war has a good ending and this account, a snippet of life in war, is no different. A brilliantly written and narrated book. Have the movie set aside to watch now I have read the book. A book I will definitely read again.

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It is Amazing!

I loved this book because it had a great story line to it and was a very sad book.
I would recommend it to people 12 and above because it is probably to depressing for younger ages.

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  • Ashley
  • 23-10-2018

I could not stop thinking about this book!

Every time I pause this book, I keep thinking about it and want to play it or read it!
This book has an amazing way to make you look at things from many different perspectives!
Great read! I highly recommend it!!
Best performance too! Can't wait to watch the movie!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 31-10-2018

Innocence and Hope<br />

Enjoyed it. Very well told. Opened up the view from both sides of the fence.

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  • Jane
  • 05-12-2017

Very much enjoyed

Honest and captivating and short and sweet. I enjoyed this book. Would only have wanted the end to be more concise.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • ANIL SHAH
  • 06-04-2017

A wonderful perspective

It is a wonderful book from a 9 year old German boy who seems oblivious to what is happening and questions some the the happenings that time in a very innocent perspective. It is true that not everyone knew especially kids at that time what was going on and it is a great start to knowing more about world war 2 and read more serious books later on about the subject. The narration is excellent and overall an amazing experience. Love it.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • anne levine
  • 11-12-2016

One of the best books I have ever read.

Would you listen to The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas again? Why?

Yes. Loved the reader and characters.

What other book might you compare The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas to, and why?

Buddha in the attic and Farm and War Horse.

Which character – as performed by Michael Maloney – was your favourite?

Shmoul.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes but I don't have the time.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Simon
  • 12-07-2018

I'm Now The Man With Striped Feelings!

When I read some of the rather angry reactions to this book that have appeared on sites like Goodreads coupled with the effusive praise that the majority of readers documented for it I thought I saw the signs of intriguing literature in The Boy With Striped Pyjamas. Even though it's billed as a Young Adult book I thought that to have provoked so much strong reaction there must be a lot of interest even to us (ahem!) older sorts too.

So that's how I found myself being carried along inside the mind of nine year old Bruno who did seem to come across as younger to me. A bit too innocent and naive maybe. Then again the book is described as a fable and that's exactly what it turns out to be. It's a moving story of childish curiosity and innocence being thrown hard up against the wall of the worst sort of evil that mankind has produced.

It really does take liberties with the history though and as the author and publisher explain in a fascinating interview at the end this was deliberate and why they billed it as a fable. There are obvious question marks over the approach and whether it weakens the historical message of the holocaust and these nagged at me all the way through. However, in that final interview Boyne very eloquently talks through his reasoning and gives a largely compelling case for his approach though it won't satisfy everyone.

If you accept the nature of a fable for this story though it's a moving, almost heartbreaking tale with a very dramatic ending that juxtaposes justice and injustice into a single tragic event. If you accept this for what it is you will be rewarded with an emotional and thought-provoking story.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Gillian
  • 21-02-2019

Listened on the way to Auschwitz

My mother and sister both loved this book and I chose to listen to it on the way to and from visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau today. I understand the positive reviews at a simplistic level but I can’t reconcile what I saw and heard during my visit with this story. Today I saw the Kommandant’s house, which overlooks the gas chamber and crematorium and heard how Hoess described the view as ‘paradise’. I heard about the lives of men, women and children who would never have been allowed to sit by the [electrified] fence day after day and I just can’t put this story together with that, even as a fable. I don’t think it’s a starting point for children, especially modern ones desensitised by all that they see and hear, although I applaud the author’s efforts to start that conversation. For me, the innocence and naivety of this story are completely irreconcilable and discordant with the things that I saw and heard today but I wish it were not so.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Suswati
  • 07-01-2017

An important and terrifying fable still relevant

It's probably quite important to understand that this is a novel and so there is a lot of artistic license taken with it by the author. That being said the main protagonist, nine-year-old Bruno was brilliantly written, a great juxtaposition of unwaning innocence and extreme cruelty in a time of brutality.

Having visited Auschwitz myself, the naive descriptions of the young boy is gut churning especially as he is so unaware of his fate. The reader does a great job in performing the role of an innocent child.

The most significant chapter, however, is the last one where the author himself describes the reasoning for his decisions as many feel that it was unrealistic and a little insensitive in dealing with the subject matter. It is a moral story about complacency and how easy it is to fall into patterns, so it is essential to read with an open mind.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Angela
  • 17-10-2019

Beautifully written and read

Listened in one sitting. Poignant story based on fact. Equally relevant for children and adults.

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  • Sarah Ruffhead
  • 27-07-2019

amazing

one of the most addictive and wonderful stories I've read. told in true innocence of a child. fabulous story.

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  • J O.
  • 13-06-2019

Very moving

expertly narrated. compelling very sad story. a story of true innocence. film and book both excellent

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  • CG
  • 03-06-2019

Great story & brilliantly read

Having read this book a while ago, I revisited it in audiobook for & was so impressed.

The book is as impressive as always but the narration is really top class, brilliantly read and bought to life.

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  • Benjamin Aaron Carl Hill
  • 26-05-2019

Great Book.

Great Book

I highly recommend this book and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

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  • Chris Gerrard
  • 12-05-2019

Really interesting take on the Holocaust.

A great book, told from the perspective of a 9 year old German boy. Recommended.