I would not try another book by either McLain or MacDuffie. The narrator definitely ruined the story for me and I wasn't very impressed in the first place with the strength of the writing.
The narrator's style was very much like a parent reading a fairy tale to a toddler. It was horrible. She made the character's dialogue sound like high school drama students. This was especially disappointing considering one of the main characters is Ernest Hemingway!
I don't review every book--only books I feel strongly about--hence the many 4-5 star vs 1-2 star reviews. Just my opinions--hope they help.
I really wanted to love this story of fiction about real people and at first I thought that it was going to be a great. Then, very quickly, I started to notice that the forceful, over the top narration was distracting me from the writing. I was overpowered by the voices and my mind wandered from what the narrator was saying to how she was saying it. I could not follow and enjoy the story. It was so strange. I think the only way I will be able to get past chapter three is if I read the book in print. In a way the book felt like it was for the young adult audience. Maybe that was just because the narration sounded so juvenile. Giving up.
Say something about yourself!
Is this a good book? I'm struggling to decide if I liked it or not. The reader really ruined it for me. She made the characters sound like cartoon characters in a goofy sitcom. Her attempts to sound masculine made me cringe. Perhaps she would be more suited to reading humor or juvenile fiction. I found myself trying to imagine the words read differently...more what I think the author intended, so that I could enjoy the story more. And this was very distracting. I really enjoy reading historical fiction, but I'm not sure if this is one to recommend. Was it as empty and flat as it seemed? Maybe. It kept going through my mind that I was reading fluff, but it could have been the reader that gave me that impression.
So boring and poorly written. I think it made it worse that it was an audible. It somehow made it even more clear to me how poorly written it was. Waste of time.
As a fan of Ernest Hemingway, I was really looking forward to this book. Several chapters in, I realized that I was not enjoying it. I soon realized that it was not the book itself, but the reader that was getting in my way. Carrington MacDuffie reads this book with a cultured tone that softens the edges of Ernest and his macho friends, and gives a simpering, whiney tone to Hadley. I wish I had chosen to read the book instead.
Addicted to Audible!
I first tried the book version of Paris Wife and could not get into it. Since I had to "read" it for my bookclub I decided to try audible. I saw the negative reviews on the narrator but forged ahead anyway. I agree that she was hard to listen to, but I couldn't read the hard copy either, so it wasnt the reader that made it intolerable for me. What is it that has made this book so popular? I guess it is just the fascination with Hemingway and the time period. I enjoyed the movie, Midnight in Paris, so I thought I would enjoy this. Instead I found it boring, boring and more boring. I couldn't listen past the first 4 hrs. I tried but it was a waste of time. I just couldn't like or empathize with any of the characters, they were all self-indulgent elitist snobs who acted like spoiled children. I am sure most people will not agree with me, but I really disliked this book.
Like others have noted, I was distracted from narrative by the prissy and juvenile tone that MacDuffie imparted. I found myself rethinking the lines as she spoke them with how I might have actually read the lines myself. It was like listening to two books simultaneously. I'll stay away from this narrator in the future but not the author.
I really enjoyed this book and find it hard to understand why so many reviewers criticize the reader. I think she does an excellent job and her voice for Hadley and others in the book fits the time period perfectly. The story is fiction but appears to be very much based on fact. It's a fascinating look at an era and many famous characters, such as F Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein etc.
Excellent fictional insight - terrible reader. I went out and bought the book in lieu of listening past Chapter 4. A wasted credit.
Alpaca farmer, gardener, poet. Loves reading & listening to books, music, writing, and learning. Life is good!
I loved this book. It gave the other side of the story to Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast." I would recommend reading (or listening) to Hemingway's book first, then listen to this one. It fills in a lot of blanks and gives more detail to what their life might have been like during the Paris years. .This story gave a life-like depiction of Hemingway (warts and all) and the writer he was through the eyes of the woman closest to him.
I wasn't sure about the narrator at first, but I quckly got used to her voice, and before long, it seemed as if I were listening to Hadley herself tell her story, and the narration of the other characters being as Hadley would have heard and imitated them. I just may listen to this one again someday.