The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Narrated by: Michael Maloney
Length: 4 hrs and 57 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2,147 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The story of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is very difficult to describe. Usually we give some information about the audiobook, but in this case we think that would spoil the listening. We think it's important that you start to listen without knowing what it is about.

If you do start to listen, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy named Bruno. (Though this isn't a story for nine-year-olds.) And sooner or later, you will arrive with Bruno at the fence.

Fences like this exist all over the world. We hope that you never have to encounter such a fence.

©2006 John Boyne (P)2006 Random House Inc. Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group

Critic Reviews

"His combination of strong characterization and simple, honest narrative make this powerful and memorable tale a unique addition to Holocaust literature." (School Library Journal

What listeners say about The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Phenomenal! 5 stars is nowhere near enough.

This was one of the BEST stories I have ever read!

It was so poignant. Bruno’s extreme innocence and naivety coupled with what we know today about the Holocaust (and perhaps our jaded outlook on life) combined into a haunting, gripping, sometimes funny and ultimately tragic tale. I was riveted from start to finish, hanging off every word.

If you are looking for some good literature to teach kids about the Holocaust, this is an excellent place to start. It opens up so many discussions on a difficult subject; I would have no qualms about seeing this book in schools.

The last line in the book just blew me away with its still-relevant warning: "Nothing like that could happen again. Not in this day and age". Except, then it does… over and over and over again.

I would give it ten thousand stars if I could; I can’t recommend it strongly enough.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely Phenomenal!!!

I literally just finished this book and had to write a review. It was in one word, Phenomenal!!! During a time where the text books of children are starting to hint that the Holocaust didn't even occur (which I was beyond shocked to hear) books like this are needed. Some of the questions raised are only possible by a 9 year old which makes him a fabulous protagonist. I do have two suggestions though: the first is that this is subject matter which deserves more reverence and due attention than listening to during the 20 minutes to work. Take some time and really let yourself listen to it. The second is that at the end is an interview with the author, and although it too is fabulous, I suggest pausing before listening to it as it may put you in too much of an analytical mind to really absorb the story.

27 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

great narration

it is a very emotional book, I bought it to listen to it with my 11year old son as an introduction to Holocaust related books and because we were going to listen to a German citizen who lived in Germany during WWII, it was a bit and an easy way to introduce the subject, the book is fantastic, the narration is excellent and there's an interview with the writer at the end which was a bonus!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Great book, terrible narration

The book itself deserves 5 stars. Michael Maloney, the narrator, I'd give 1. He has this very distracting way of fading quickly at the end of sentences making you think you are getting a call. If you listen on an iPhone you know how audio fades right before the ring begins. Even without thinking you are receiving a call, his fadding, breathy voice is very annoying. The story is wonderful, touching and sad - but I would not buy another audio book with Michael Maloney as narrator.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very powerful

This short little book packs quite the punch, and though it's geared towards teens, I highly recommend it for adults as well. Bruno's innocence is heartbreakingly conveyed in a powerful performance by Maloney, and the book's ending left me quite emotional. I had to see the movie after hearing the book, but much preferred this performance.

16 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Auschwitz: A Boys perspective - Eh...No.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No, I don't think I would. I didn't much appreciate the characterization of the young Nazi boy. I feel that some things require reverence and fictionalizing a piece of history in such a way that was presented here, in a way, diminishes the truth. I suppose there was some karmic value in the irony of the plot but I think it falls flat considering that fact is much more awful than fiction.

Would you ever listen to anything by John Boyne again?

Yes, I have not discarded Mr. Boyne as an author even if I'm not want to recommend this title.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The performance was just fine and perhaps even provided some added value. The different portrayal of the young boys felt mostly genuine and in the spirit of the novel.

Could you see The Boy in the Striped Pajamas being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Yes, definitely....it may be already, I'm not sure. I don't know enough stars names to answer the second question.

Any additional comments?

I felt the story to be compelling and served a good purpose. Bruno never accepted his father's viewpoint that the people in striped pajamas weren't human. In fact, Bruno saw his friend Shmuel as his best human contact in this terrible new home even though he couldn't touch or play with him. And from this perspective, perhaps the character of Bruno had to be so behind-the-curve naive.

There are some critics who challenge that the story is not honest about the cruel conditions of Nazi concentration camps and I think that is certainly valid. Any descriptions are censored by Bruno's untainted child's mind - a technique that I thought was cute in the first few weeks at Auschwitz but felt needed to be undraped as Bruno who surely have experienced. Bruno was there for over a year with a bedroom 50 feet from the fence where men would fall to the ground suddenly and need soldiers to carry them away. Even so, I don't think the purpose of the book was to bring the audience into Auschwitz, but for the audience to accept that there are fences, however small, that separate us from one another, and are we looking at the people on the other side of the fence with the same humanism that Bruno did with Shmuel? I suppose that's my greatest criticism of this book. The purpose is great, but to use a place like Auschwitz as the vehicle for the message doesn't feel particularly right to me.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

I listen to a lot of books and enjoy the majority of them. Every once in awhile I run across a book that really touches my heart. This is truly one of the best books I’ve listened to in awhile. I just recently discovered this author and this is the third book of his I’ve listened to. The first two were excellent but this one really knocked my socks off! I highly recommend it as well as other books by John Boyne.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A quiet but WOW book.

This was amazing and you could see it happening. So beautifully written and the narration brought the story to life. I want more John Boyne.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Jaw still dropped

The Boy in the Striped pajamas takes you on an amazing journey which will have you finally pulling your hair out at the end wondering how it all led to the shocking twist. To really enjoy the book you must simply accept the boys innocence and not try to understand or read to much into the ignorance which is seen as he misinterprets his surroundings. I was quickly swept into this tale and found it hard to stop until it was unfortunately over...I almost wish it was longer...

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding story and author imagination!

I thought this was one of the best books that I have read or listened to in quiet some time. Sometimes really good novels come from horrible circumstances.

3 people found this helpful