I, too, was excited to see a new book from Gruen but this book isn't in the same league as Water for Elephants.
I suppose it isn't fair to expect an author to hit it out of the park every time but this book makes me think she hired her kid sister to take her turn at bat. ::: sigh:::
Ah well, back to waiting for a third book and a seat behind home plate.
I couldn't decide whether to bond with Anne Marie Zimmer, or to laugh at her. Almost a self-parody, she went from one calamity to the next and the net effect on me was whiplash.
It's a good story, well-written, but the narration is over the top in drama and there are just too many accents. I don't read a printed book with accents, why do I need to listen to them?
It's a very different novel than "Water for Elephants" and anyone expecting something similar will be disappointed. It's an entertaining story, and compelling, but unfortunately all the loud voices and drama detract.
Hard to enjoy the story when the main character is so unlikable. Extremely predictable and unrealistic in terms of character relationships and events in the story. On the upside, most of the equestrian info was more or less correct and realistic (if far fetched at times).
Overall, after loving 'Water for Elephants' I found this book to be a total let down.
subject matter wonderful. love the author. wanted to slap main character. Horrible case of the ME ME ME's. All about how events affected her. No empathy for others. No caring about what the event meant to others. UGH!!!
The reader inserted accents that were not spot on and detracted from the performance.
I enjoyed reading about the world of horses and "eventing". The plot was too thin and unrealistic. The Main character Annemarie was not in the least bit believable or likeable.
Harriet, it disturbed me to think a daschund would be allowed to jump off a bed. Was she not concerned for the dogs sensitive spine ?
Excellently written by Ms Gruen, portrait of a family, their struggles, love, hate, love of horses, battling each other and never giving up...narration by Maggi-Meg Reed, fabulous, bringing every emotion to life.
Like others have said, this is not Water For Elephants. The main character is self-centered. Anything she does wrong or stupid, she has an excuse for. Anything anyone else does that is 1) as she asked or 2) wrong or stupid -- she shreiks about! And as much as I disliked (hugely) that part of the story, this is where the narration did its best. She screamed and ranted for Anne Marie as it would have sounded in real life, I imagine. Amazingly, for all her obnoxiousness (and this is the worst part of the story), everything ends happily ever after. She doesn't change a thing and -- poof! -- it all comes out wonderful in the end. I don't get it. I wish my life could be like that.
As I read this person's account of her traumatic and challenging adventures, I BECAME her. My reading times transported me out of myself and my own routines and problems, which I greatly enjoyed.
I usually like an unlikeable protagonist .yes Anne Marie was selfish and shallow .I didn't mind that but whining ,screeching and droning I can live without