This book was stunningly good. The reader was excellent; don't let the negative reviews fool you. Text should be able to speak for itself. Readers don't have to over-dramatize good writing. I listened to the whole thing and have now gone back through and listened to various chunks at a time. I continue to be deeply impressed. Probably the best book I have read in several years.
Beniff's engrossing story and Ron Perlman's narration make for a 5-star audiobook. I have just listened to this for the second time on a road trip - this time so my boyfriend could hear. We barely spoke for 7 hours! The history of this time and place was something with which I was unfamiliar. It's also terribly funny, haunting and poignant. A classic coming of age tale that should be on high school reading lists -- and yes, even with the cursing and crudeness. It's beautiful.
This author knows how to tell a tale and the narration is very good too. The story takes place in Leningrad or St. Petersburg. They still called it Peter in the book even though it had been re- named for Lenin. I think the German siege of the city is one of the more interesting parts of WW11. Hunger and cold are constant in this book and life is cheap. Most good books are about a journey to somewhere and even though it is a siege story the author manages to take you on a journey to get some eggs. I really enjoyed this book and I know I will think of it often. Worth the credit to me, and I think you will agree.
I enjoyed this book although I felt the writing was only better than average, not fantastic. I feel like this book is aimed at young adult boys and would be a great read for a boy in junior high or early high school. As an adult, I enjoyed the humor of the situation but also was able to feel the desperation of the people in Leningrad during the siege of the city.
Some of the reviews have mentioned that the language was crass and I can see their point. However, this is about boys try to survive starvation, Nazis, and execution by their own people so I think the bawdy humor balanced that out. The crude, sexual jokes seemed believable based on my conversations and a young man when I was that age.
Oh, and I enjoyed Ron Perlman's narration.
I have not read a book that has kept me so fully engrossed in the story since Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. The story is compelling, humorous at times, and above all, entertaining. As soon as I finished the book, I told my wife she needed to read it, just so I had someone to talk to about it. Ron Pearlman does an excellent job with the narration. His subtle command of the different accents made the dialog of various characters very easy to follow.
This book was a pleasant surprise. Enjoyed all the way thru and Ron Pearlman did a great job with Russian voices.