I presently live in Central TX after spending 35 years in S FL. I was born and grew up in NW LA. I have been a reader my entire life.
I have thoroughly enjoyed every book written by Ms Roach...up to now. I have trouble figuring out which is worse: the book or the narrator. I can be engrossed by the most mundane information in a given book, but this one beat me. A lot of very old, very boring information, projections, and anecdotes; this was so, so terribly disappointing. The narrator appears at times to be trying to get some sort of interest stirred up, but even she can't seem to get past a fake , "Isn't this neat!?" Inflection; somewhat like an advanced class of students having to sit through an algebra one class just because the syllabus says that they have to.
I have not finished the book; one of only three in my life, and I am going to return it.
I am so, so disappointed.....
I love Mary Roach and was looking forward to this book. The story is great but the performance was distracting at times. I understand a desire for differentiation when telling a story but this was too much. Also, I found some of the accents borderline offensive. Especially the Indian and "cockney" readings. I found them to be very stereotypical and grating.
Buy the actual book, I would not recommend listening to this one. It's very hard to turn me off to a book because of the narration. I'm usually able to listen to narrators who aren't exactly my favorite. This one was bad.. Cringe worthy. I hate writing reviews, but this audiobook made me feel obligated to write one.
Mary Roach is fantastic, I love her work. However, a good chunk of this book is reused material from her earlier book Stiff. I still got a lot of new information from Spook, so generally it was worth the credit. I just feel a little cheated for spending a credit on a book, with a near-identical chapter or two, from a book I already purchased. I understand why this happened, just not thrilled about it.
I absolutely loved Stiff. I REALLY wish they had hired Shelly Frasier for this audiobook. Frasier was able to keep you engaged with the story, without sacrificing an unbiased tone and respect for the REAL people quoted in the book. I never had trouble following who was speaking in her narrations. She never resorted to goofy impressions of people.That's mainly what I couldn't get over and what made the book painful to listen to. Every time a new PERSON (not character, because this isn't FICTION!) was being interviewed, all I could hear was "this is my racist impression of an Indian accent," or "this is my cartoon caricature impression of a butchered British accent!" Also, the "I'm an eccentric weirdo/wacko" or "Because I'm a scientist, I sound like a dorky/nasally/socially awkward/outdated version of a high school nerd." The list goes on and on... If, somehow, Quigley had actually met these people being interviewed in the book, this might be PARTLY excusable. But I'm willing to bet she didn't. If this was a work of fiction, there would be room to make creative choices with a characters accent and personality... but it isn't.I'm not sure who is more at fault, the studio who might have insisted on certain performance choices or the narrator herself.. We really don't know. I don't want to assume full blame on Quigley. For all I know, there could have been someone telling her "it would be better if you did a more pronounced accent, so the listeners won't get lost or confused." or "Let's make this scientist REALLY nasally and annoying," or "lets make this person sound REALLY crazy."Somehow, the narration added a predominant biased, even though Mary Roach really tries to remain unbiased in her books.Mary Roach is also funny and clever in her books, but the Narration gives it this wacky sitcom-like delivery in every joke.. This causes every joke fall flat.
Overall, I'm still going to devour anything Mary Roach writes. I like her writing style, her curiosity and her sense of humor.
Please please don't download this book. The narrator is by far the worst I have ever encountered. Her "one woman show" ranges from terrible to downright terrible with each new scientific impersonation of what she thinks professionals sound like. I love Mary Roach and I loved this book. Do yourself a favor and never listen to it. Did nobody give this a once over before they sent it out?
Nimble and fun and perceptive, brought especially alive by an excellent narrator. Covers lots of ground in a satisfying way.
Mary Roach has outdone herself again blending copious amounts of science with her unique outlook and humor which keeps even the most daydreaming readers engaged with the subject matter. Her skepticism sneaks in between the lines, and the frustration of lack of evidence annoys, but she teaches wonderfully, and with vivid description so that the reader feels he has seen the afterlife with his own eyes. Thank you Mary, I couldn't put it down, finished in less than a day; its that good
None, all Mary Roach did was call out science facts and getting totally off the point. The whole book isn't actually about anything.
I like to read or listen whichever the case may be.
I'm afraid this was not as good as stiff, but still quite informative.
I believe the subject matter wasn't as interesting as one might think.
Mary Roach is excellent
The narrator who performed on stiff was excellent.