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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 listeners say about The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

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    5 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

4 people found this helpful

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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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.

7 people found this helpful

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Wonderful

Don’t look up anything about this book before you listen as you may hit some spoilers as I did! Was a great and moving story

1 person found this helpful

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A child and their complete innocence

If you ever want a book to make you grab your children and never stop hugging them, then this is it.

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Highly recommended

Incredibly moving story which is very well written and read. I would highly recommend this book.

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A must read!

What a beautiful book about innocence and friendship. A great read and a great interview with the author.

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brilliant

A great listen, saw the film a few years ago but had never read/listened to the book.. glad I did, incredible story and well read. highly recommend!

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All I thought it would be and more

Not a book to read if you don't want to feel sad. I didn't see the end coming in this book. Its a book I think everyone should read.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 29-02-20

thought provoking story that stirs up emotions :"/

Love how John took on the perspective of a little German boy who tries to make sense of the world on the other side of the fence. It humanizes the historical perpertrators of the holocaust and therefore gave us the opportunity to reflect on our why and how the holocaust could have happened. Apart from Bruno, the other characters such as the maid, bruno's sister and mother also made me think about how we would respond as witnesses of atrocities and whether any of us would really get out of the way to try to right a wrong that is seems so beyond our power to change. Also loved how he concluded the story w the father.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ashley
  • 23-10-18

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 person found this helpful

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  • Hlynur Finnbogason
  • 13-10-20

Great Book

Great book, a story about two little boys on a horrible time in history. Great noval.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 31-10-18

Innocence and Hope

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

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  • Jane
  • 05-12-17

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 person found this helpful

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  • ANIL SHAH
  • 06-04-17

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 person found this helpful