Retired former magazine editor who is working harder than ever as Mr. Dad to his 11-year-old daughter.
This was a book I was supposed to read 45 years ago as a freshman in high school. Back then I read very little of it. Forty-five years later and it was worth waiting for. I honestly believe this book is beyond the comprehension of an average ninth grader. It should have been reserved for upperclassmen. The story and characters were absolutely fascinating. I didn't want the book to end after nearly 18 hours. Yes, there were 10-20 minute pockets of indecipherable babbling (one very near the end of the book when Pumblechook got to rambling). But the story was otherwise pretty easy to follow and kept me interested. Who knows what's next? Maybe A Tale of Two Cities?
This was the third classic I have gone back to listen to after having neglected to read while I was in school. I gave Great Expectations 5 out of 5 stars while Robinson Crusoe earned 3 out of 5 stars. Jane Eyre was hovering around 3 stars midway through the listen but the second half of the book made it rise to the top. The narration was superb and readers will understand what my title for this review means when they listen to the book's final 15 minutes. This was a romance novel and probably one of the first chick books ever written. As a male, I had little trouble falling in love with Jane's character. I think the story is appealing to both genders. Some of what happens is predictable, but there are some twists that will take the listener by surprise. If, like me, guilt moves you to read/listen to some of the classics that you missed growing up, pick Jane Eyre. It's worth the time.
This classic teetered between 3 and 4 stars but feel like its conclusion pushed it to the higher rating. I think the story was hindered by a narration that approached histrionic proportions. There were also pockets of dialogue that left me alternately bored and confused. Through it all, I was able to filter the characteristics that made this novel one that has been read and studied for many generations of students and others. I was supposed to read it in ninth grade, I think, and feel like I would have been throughly baffled by it back then. Maybe that's why I gave up early. Some 45 years later it made a positive impression upon me and I'm glad I listened to it. With better narration, it would have been more enjoyable.
The first two-thirds of this book set the standard for suspense in the genre. It is SUCH good stuff. Was there ever a more extraordinary villain than the coruplent Count Fosco, with his little wire pagoda of white mice and his (self-described) "volcanic ardor" for the unfortunate Marian Halcombe? The last third, wherein matters are resolved, is a bit more rote, but still has some wonderful moments. I loved the scene where the noble drawing master finally confronts the evil Count, and in the silence can hear the chittering of the mice's teeth as they nibble the wires of their cage. The narration is simply fabulous--Bailey and Preble's appreciation and enjoyment of the material is obvious.