I have not disliked a narrator and book as much as I did this one in a long time. The author/narrator's voice grated on my nerves the second she started speaking. Her sarcastic negative comments were not amusing. This book did not flow smoothly nor did it hold my interest and I finally gave up about half way through. Waste of time when there are so many more interesting good books out there. Wish I could get my credit back. Possibly having a really great narrator might have saved this book to some degree, but that being said, don't waste your time.
Yes, the first listen-through it would have been better if performed by a professional voice actor. And I don't care. I love the book, and I love the author. I'm glad for the additional intimacy of hearing her words in her own voice. Think of her as an aural political cartoonist; a kinder, gentler Molly Ivins.
First of all the reader is not that great. Her reading style is somewhat of a monotone. The the way the author writes about history is distracting and uninteresting to me. For example she'll be talking about walking around modern day Hawaii in a boring manner one second and the next she tells some of the past in more of a lecture fashion. I will probably avoid the reader and author in the future. Carl
I was really excited to read this book - the subject matter and all-star list of narrators really drew me to it.
I feel that the long list of great actors narrating this book is nothing more then a marketing scheme. The author reads in a monotone voice, and although I feel cruel mentioning it, has a minor speech impediment. Every 20 minutes or so, one of the actors will read a short quote that just winds up being a really jerky transition from the author's narration.
The book may get better later on, but I don't think I can make it. I keep zoning out due to the monotoned narration. There is just no substitute for the life an actor gives to an audio book.
In all fairness; I did not finish this 'read'. Not that the material was bad; in fact, I think it could have been very entertaining as well as informative. The narration of this material was the problem; in this case the author read the book. She might possibly be a fantastic lady; but I have never heard a more whiney, nasally, self righteous sounding voice in my life. The rythm of her speech is painful to listen to; and passages that even I could tell should have been amusing; just fell flat. Another issue I couldn't understand was the brief interjection of the other narrators during her reading. I guess I thought each narrator would read sections of the book where their voices might be best applied. Not so. For example, the author would introduce the diary of one of the characters and then one of the narrators would jump in for a very brief reading of one or two lines; and then the author would continue reading. I hate to suggest not listening to something on this website; but I think you will be better off just reading this particular book instead of trying to listen to it.
I live in Hawaii and thought that this would be an enjoyable listen. The authors voice and gross mispronunciations makes it very difficult to continue.
This is the second Vowell book that i may not finish. Reminds me of the saying, "insanity is when you do the same thing and expect different results".
Save your money (or points).
Sarah Vowell is a smart woman and a wonderful writer. However, she really should not have narrated this book. I believe she has some sort of speech impediment, which makes her difficult to listen to for long stretches. She starts and stops abruptly. I hate to say it, but her reading ruins a wonderful book. Skip the audiobook, but read the real thing.
Aside from the fact that the narration is so poor, I was dismayed to find that I had paid money for a book that portrays all American involvement in the world as evil and imperialistic.
If I wanted to hear the America-hating rants of a typical angry miserable lib I'd watch a Michael Moore movie, or I'd attend a union hall where Obama is speaking. I bought this book because I was interested in the subject matter, but every single sentence reeked of the tone characteristic of every art student I remember from college. The conclusion is we are terrible people (yet again) this time for what we did to Hawaii. However if you hate yourself you will probably enjoy this book.