Knowledge is knowing the way. Wisdom is looking for an alternative, more interesting road to get there. Audiobooks are that road.
Centered around the protagonist Mary Frances Nolan who is 11 years old at the onset of the novel, ATGIB tell the story of a poor family, struggling in Brooklyn in the early 1900s. Mother Katie is a proud, hard-working, practical, woman who tries to make ends meet by working as a cleaning woman, while her husband Johnny escapes reality through alcohol. It depicts the hard road traveled by their two children Francie and Neeley, her younger brother, as they go to school and work while learning about life and how to survive its cruelty. It also depicts the strong love of family. How in difficult circumstances they stick together and even though their situation whittles away at their endurance, they still manage to stick together as their love, devotion and loyalty to one another triumph. Katie’s sisters Evy and Sissy are strong women who also struggle through life’s challenges, but never back away as they persevere and face adversity head on. ATGIB is story telling on a whole new level. Moving and inspirational, it reaches in to your heart and pulls you into its time, place and circumstance. A true classic.
Kate Burton did a fine job with the narration.
My husband and I listened to this book on our long drive down to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, where there is an exhibit called "Daniel's Story" to go with this book. I was a little disappointed by the exhibit, but not by the book. Daniel's Story is an excellent account of what it was like living through the horrors of the holocaust through the eyes of a young boy. He witnesses unspeakable tortures and fears for his own life and that of his entire family including his young sister. He is forced to stand by and watch those he loves suffer and he can do nothing to help. Seeing and feeling this kind of inhuman unspeakable behavior from one human being to another, through the eyes of an innocent child, really hammers home the evil people are capable of. I am very experienced with the holocaust, having grown up as a child of two survivors and having read countless books on the subject. I am now in the midst of writing my own novel. Daniel's Story in an excellent way to introduce this shameful time in our history to young people everywhere. It's appropriate for adults and young adults alike. The reader did a decent job as well. For a short book it really packs a punch. Even though it's only 3.5 hours long, it's worth every bit of the credit it cost me. I have listened to books that were over 24 hours long that did not affect me like this short novel did.
Shakespeare, Dickens, Homer, Mark Twain, Walt Disney, History.
I avoided this book for a long time: who wants to read a book about a person who's so good everyone around him thinks he's an idiot?
Boy, was I wrong. This is an intense and brooding novel, filled with Dostoevsky's usual array of deeply conflicted characters and blistering monologues. The idiot himself, Prince Myshkin, is no pushover: maybe he's a bit naive at times, but he insists on treating people as equals and assuming their good intentions until contrary evidence is overwhelming. He suffers from epilepsy, and in the course of the novel has a couple of seizures that dramatically alter the direction of the story.
Superficially, the novel is about Myshkin's conflicted relationships with two women: Aglaya, the youngest daughter of a distant relative, with whom he is in love; and Anastassya Filippovna, a "fallen woman" who's been fobbed off by her former lover and who seems to be drifting from one self-destructive relationship to another. Myshkin may have loved her once, but now he mainly pities her. Aglaya, who at one point seems willing to marry Myshkin, ultimately breaks off because of his obsession with Anastassya.
But that's only one small facet of this complex, teeming book. The characters are captivating, the scenes at times almost hypnotic in their intensity. I've only read a few of Dostoevsky's novels, but so far I'm inclined to say this is probably my favorite.
Robert Whitfield (=Simon Vance) gives a stellar reading. Of particular note is his ability to distinguish the voices of the many women in the book: sometimes the shading is subtle, but I always knew instantly who was talking. Well done, highly recommended.