This book was like "riding a bike". In the beginning, it was confusing. I kept rewinding the book and wondering "Is he talking about the past or present or just thinking?" But once I got into the rhythm of the book, it became enjoyable.
I particular enjoyed the conversations with Norma and Smithy's interaction to the people he met along his ride. It was sad to listen about himself and his family dynamics, but those sections also made him a more loveable character.
I was disappointed for this book to end and only wished there was a sequel.
This was my first audio-book and I have to say it was fantastic. The story is moving and Ron Mclarty does a great job reading his own story. He gives each character life with his voice and the pace seemed perfect. I hated that it had to end.I hope to hear more from him.
This was enjoyable. I wish more writers would read their own work. I found inspiration in what he (character in the book) did. The discussion session between writer and editor was really interesting. So much enjoyment in good narration. Thanks.
I drive two hours per day and so have become quite a recurring customer at Audible.com . I've listened to many books but this one truly captivated me, made me drive real slow so as to remain with the character as long as possible. It also really made me ponder on what binds families, people, societies and on what keeps us going in our daily lives (and what is simply pretending to keep on going)...
Smithy Ide has a simple life with maybe a bit more tragedy in it than most people have. But not that much more... How he copes with it, how he transforms himself, how he listens to others, it all renders him highly endearing. The portrayal of America, it's great beauty and it's occasional ugliness, is also very strong. Ron Mclarty has done an incredible job, first in writing this great novel and second in reading it in such masterful way. The best audiobook I ever listened to !!!!!
This book took hold of my attention early, and by the end I wanted to meet the main character, named Smithy, and befriend him. There's something about Smithy, perhaps that he's so nice or selfless or self-deprecating or self-unaware, that made me root for him. He and his experiences remind me of Forrest Gump, except that the only thing exceptional about Smithy is his ability to listen. This book evokes sadness, laughter, hopefulness, and endearment. As an added bonus, I have reintroduced bananas into my daily diet (you'll have to read it to understand that part) :).
This is one of those rare occasions when the author is also a wonderful narrator. A story about simple people going about their every day lives, this story will bring an occasional tear to your eyes between many chuckles and laughs.
The good things are solid: tender attention to relevant detail, depth of characters, believable quirks, breathable landscapes. You are there.
This is an American family story beginning in the early 1960s, lower-white-middle class, with excellent parents and two children, both damaged in their own ways. The parents stay classy. They're saints without sentimentality or religion, and they never disappear into stereotype. For their love and steadfast loyalty, they deserved better.
The story is a dirge. Despite the excellent details (scene-setters), "The Memory of Running" fails to rise to the material. If you know that one child is mentally ill and the other worn-out from caring and worrying about her, plus then clobbered by Vietnam, you have it, any story with these particulars. Good details don't save it from lacking tread on its tires.
The narrator is peripheral to his own life. While that is interesting in its own way, him standing beside himself, narrating, more his shadow than his substance, it ultimately wore me out. While I liked this story and rooted hard for the writer, I wouldn't have bought the book had I understood it better. A downer like this has to wake you up rather than lull you to depressed sleep, wishing it were over.
The narrator, of course, was fabulous.
I listen to books when I'm at work or doing chores. I prefer history and fantasy. My favorite audio book is Going Postal by Terry Pratchett.
I had a feeling I was in for trouble when someone decided this book needed to begin with a summary telling you how good it is because you might not notice for yourself. Stephen King wrote an entire book on what makes a good novel and yet his book recommendations always run counter to his own very good advice. McLarty needs to get himself a copy and take note of some key passages:
1): "I'm not particularly keen on writing which exhaustively describes the physical characteristics of the people in the story and what they're wearing (I find wardrobe inventory particularly irritating; if I want to read descriptions of clothes, I can always jet a J. Crew catalogue.)"
2) "It's also important to remember it's not about the setting, anyway - it's about the story, it's always about the story...In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it "got boring" the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling."
3) "In medias res necessitates flashbacks, which strike me as boring and sort of corny...As a reader I'm much more interested in what's going to happen than what all ready did."
4) "The most important things to remember about back story are that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn't very interesting. Stick to the parts that are, and don't get carried away with the rest. Long life stories are best received in bars, and only then an hour before closing time, and if you are buying."
Where's my beer McLarty? You owe me after this mess.
Love his voice and his ability to give each character their own sound, engaging story, I felt it was a little abrupt at the end but overall I'm glad I bought it.
I listen while I drive and I love to drive
I really enjoyed all of the characters Smithson meets in his quest. The book made me want to get of my old fat butt and put some miles on my bike.