What a pleasure it was to listen to this old story again. When I was a kid, I read it at least once a year, till I was in high school and "put away childish things." Dietz's easy-going story-telling style is perfectly suited to this book: you might just as easily be listening to tales of Lake Wobegon. He never quite loses the sense of innocence and child-like wonder that surrounds the story, but he captures the darker moments as well.
And dark moments there are. The plot, such as it is, hinges on a murder in the graveyard, guilt, courage, and fear. Later, the man who committed the murder is overheard planning to kill the Widow Douglas as well - committing other outrages in the process. Tom and Becky are lost in the cave, facing a very real possibility of starving to death in the darkness.
But Twain somehow manages to keep things in the realm of fairy tale; he was apparently storing up his harshest satire for the sequel.
There are many wonderful readers of Twain on Audible - I'm not sure you can really go wrong with any of them. But Dietz's rendition of this story is one of the best.
I've listened to Ralph Cosham with pleasure doing nonfiction, but this was my first venture with him as a reader of classic fiction. His narration takes a little getting used to. I'm not quite sure how to describe the distinctive quality of his voice; his reading is a little faster and a little more formal than I've experienced with other readers. Yet he is, as one person described him here, "quietly effective." A particular pleasure here is the wonderful Scots dialogue. Of the three versions of "Kidnapped" I tried (the others being Frederick Davidson and Michael Page), this is definitely my favorite.
Moving further from work extended my daily commute... thank God for Audible.
Eeh! I mun say th’ little book be a right s’prise. Aye, true capt.
I think the word “delightful” is overused, but it’s deserved in this case. I — and my three kids aged from five to nine-years-old — really, REALLY enjoyed The Secret Garden and every character in it.
Mistress Mary (in all her contrariness) and Master Colin (in all his despicable tantrumness) are somehow exactly what the other needed, and able to bring transformational healing and hope where no other could. Some elements (especially in the beginning) are a bit politically incorrect for 2014, but the heart of this story is pure.
This particular narration by Vanessa Maroney is incredible. There is a lot of Yorkshire dialect in this book, and choosing the right narrator is very important. Maroney does a great job bringing all the characters to life, and switching back-and-forth between the incredibly broad and common Martha and the uppity Mary.
I know this is not a film review, but I can’t help mention the 1993 film adaptation directed by Agnieszka Holland. It is almost as wonderful as the book. Apart from a few pointless-but-forgivable plot changes (and the total absence of my favourite character, Mrs. Sowerby) it’s delightful — that word again — to see the stunning secret garden come to life. And the incomparably gorgeous Yorkshire moor feels less like a locale and more like an important character.