First, let me admit a real, but unintended, mistake on my part. I listened to this immediately after True Grit, thinking they would be good companions. True Grit is such a great listen that I now know it would be difficult for anything that follows to meet the standard it sets. Thus, my reaction to this book may be as much about when I listened to it as it is about the book itself.
This woman lived a very interesting life, and accomplished and survived a lot. I think her character is very much captured in the book -- but that same person, who takes everything straight on, just gets it done, no emotion, doesn't provide enough "story" for us. There are no details. There's no suspense. There's no joy or sadness. Things just happen. Not enough rain? I decided we should build a dam. So we got a bulldozer and built a dam. Done. Enough said. What's amazing is that she has so many of these stories that they can be linked together to give us an entire book.
Jeannette Walls' narration doesn't help. I wasn't bothered as much by her accent, or lack thereof, as I was by her overall reading style. She is a "down" reader (who reads without diphthongs, I might add). Inflection at the end of every phrase and every sentence is down. This makes the narration very matter-of-fact, with no anticipation at all, even in the structure of a single sentence. So everything is flat, a statement rather than a story. Combine that with a book that has no emotion and it's a rather dull experience.
When I read this book I was told it was rich in verbal visuals. What I didn't know was that I came home. Living 33 years in Flagstaff I felt like I came home. Beautifully written and I'm amazed at what most now consider hardship as being basic necessities. It was the time of my grandparents. A world we could only read about now. Wonderful book!
This book is a great book on it's own and is a wonderful compliment to her previous book. I listened while driving through this Northern Arizona area on my way to Northern Nevada. The old towns came alive with history and her life - as many of the pioneers to this area - was bigger than life. They don't make & seldom write about great characters like that today. I feel this book was very accurate to all the history and ranch life stories that I grew up hearing about.
I really enjoyed listening to this book. The story caused me to laugh, cry and inspired. Over all, a great story.
The story is somewhat interesting, though it did seem to drag on for too long. The real problem is with the audio version: the narration does not flow and is difficult to follow. The narrator inserts hard stops at commas, semi-colons, periods, and everywhere in between, so much so that it's difficult to keep track of where one sentence ends and another begins.
I enjoyed the first half of the story, but didn't want to finish it at the time because my book club meeting was several weeks away. I then made the mistake of switching to "The Help," which is a masterpiece in its own right and against which this narration doesn't even begin to compare. The best way I can describe listening to the second half of the book is that it was painful. The lead character became annoying and one dimensional and the narration only made matters worse.
Skip the audio version and read the book. Save your audio credits for something worthwhile.
We've been listening for a while. This rates up among our favorites....we like the first person narrative and Jeannette Walls' voice is right on target, as is her soul in this history of her grandmother and mother. We loved the book and have purchased and downloaded The Glass Castle also.
I enjoyed this as much as the Glass Castle. An interesting story that was well written. I think having it read by the author who knew her grandmother certainly lends value to the voice of Lilly. This is one book I'l be recommending to others without hesitation.
An interesting book describing ranching life in early Arizona, before air conditioning. Having previously read Glass Castle, I found this was an interesting look at the lives that shaped the author's mother, and gave a more sympathetic view of Rosemary. An interesting read or listen.
Having read THE GLASS CASTLE first...which was great ...I got lost in the family genealogy and felt confused until the end when it was reveled by Jeannette's birth. The rich details really took me to the West and I DID learn alot of history I had not known.