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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 (453 ratings)

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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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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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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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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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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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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Very moving

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

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  • CG
  • Yorkshire
  • 03-06-19

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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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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Really interesting take on the Holocaust.

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

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A well written & well narrated, enjoyable book

We bought this to be one step ahead for when kids go to secondary school. I always though the books in "English" lessons were (not very good). This completely changed our minds, so well written, so well narrated and a very unique viewpoint. I can see why they chose it for secondary schools.

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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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 31-10-18

Innocence and Hope<br />

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

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  • Jane
  • 05-12-17

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 of 2 people found this review 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 of 3 people found this review helpful