This one was not my typical audiobook choice. Given the high ratings I gave it a go. Pleasantly surprised. Truly looked forward each day to my morning commute so I could follow the characters lives. This is a book about interesting characters and their trials and tribulations. The narration made the book. Could not have been narrated better. There is enough action with ups and downs to keep the pace going. No big slow points in the book. Always a good sign. I have to admit, this was not the most uplifting book but it does have a bigger message that brings perspective towards one's life. Well worth the credit in my mind. Most people should enjoy this book.
I really enjoyed listening to this book. It really kept me entertained, but the ending left me hanging. I couldn't believe that it was the end, when I heard, "The end"...
I got this book based on your reviews and I wasn't disappointed- really enjoyed this story and the characters...I wish there had been more, but I understand why it ended like it did...
Added Audible to my 2 hour commute, consuming books at rapid pace, and rating books based on keeping me engaged and making time fly!
Loneliness has never seemed so appealing, if being lonely means finding family in unexpected ways. I was pleasantly surprised to pick this title then recognize the narration of Kel's portion is Kirby Heyborne, whose narration brought something special to Gone Girl. All in all an unexpectedly compelling combination of plot and examination of self esteem and family.
This is a great book with characters that struggle with fears & addictions that at times get the best of them. I only wish that greater time had been spent on Arthur Opp rather than Kel Keller because he was a more deeply intriguing character to me. I also agree with another Audible reviewer that the narrator for the character Kel sounded too old and somewhat one dimensional. The narrator for Arthur was fantastic. I am very glad I listened to this book. It is definitely worth a credit.
First let me say that I ordinarily do not like audiobooks read by more than one reader. Just as I am really beginning to become absorbed by the timbre, tone and cadence of one reader, another voice comes in and I find it jarring. This was NOT the case with this book. I fell in love with the first reader and became absorbed almost instantly, and when the other reader came in a while later I was able to remain without effort in the flow of the story. Their two voices complement one another's perfectly, and the transitions are seamless.
The story is beautiful. Two lonely people who have had, and lost, family find the courage to accept new and different kinds of family. That's basically the gist of the overarching plot. The details are what makes it so vibrant, and it is done believably and with an honesty that takes your breath away. The author NAILS the stream-of-consciousness of a teenager without ever rendering him whiny or annoying, and the sophisticated flow of the hermit's narration is entirely in keeping with the character's secluded, academic past. At no point do you think "really?" when they do something.
Arthur's consciousness of his obesity is enough to make anyone rethink their opinion about the subject. He is calmly detached from it, aware of everything it means about him, and everything it means to others who see him. When he begins planning his eating around Yolanda's presence you get the full picture of a man who must maintain his sense of self calorically. His naked perspective of his body and his health is heartbreaking and deeply moving.
Kell is entirely lovable. He's a more stereotypical character, poor kid from Yonkers whose mom gets him a spot at a rich prep school, no other family or friends, struggling to make good on an exceptional talent in the face of adversity. But being inside his mind as he goes through the 6 months or so over which the story takes place is unbelievably real. You want so badly for things to go his way, and whether they do or don't you will find yourself filled with respect for the grace with which he takes it all.
I was not paying attention to how much time was left to this book, and when it ended I was so furious I had to laugh at myself for getting angry at my iPod, like it was the iPod's fault I couldn't listen for another hour. There has been some negative feedback about the book's conclusion, and I'll address that without including any spoilers, since I hope you will want to read this book: it does end at what seems like a rather crucial final scene, but after considering it I think that reaction was wrong - or rather, correct but intentional on the part of the author. The book ends just as what you've been waiting for is about to happen, but really if the author had gone ahead with that scene you wouldn't be at the end of a book - you'd be at the start of a brand new one.
Bottom line, there is no one part of this book that makes it excellent - story, narration, character development, believability, etc. It's ALL there, and the components fit together perfectly. Kudos to the author and to the production team - this is one which I will recommend to anyone and everyone.
Liz Moore makes this story come alive with her vivid descriptions, she made me understand how Arthur Opp felt as my empathy for his life grew. What an engaging read!
I couldn't stop listening!
The narrator paused, sighed, and gave such a performance!! I thoroughly enjoyed every minute! My only regret was that there was an end to the story!
Arthur and Kell are two characters I want in my life. I am richer for having met them in this novel and want more of them. I want to listen to more of their lives unfolding.
The raw truth of who they are, so beautifully scripted by Liz Moore and so deeply felt in the voices of Kirby Heyborne and Keth Szarabajka bought tears to my eyes as this sad and melancholy tale of love, loneliness, tragedy and devotion made its way into my heart.
Arthur's weight is palpable from the beginning and his unabashed ownership of it, his love and hate and shame of it allowed me to know what it feels like to be covered with so many layers of excess weight.
Kell's love for his mother and the tragedy he endures because of it, is so moving, so honest, it brings my tears to the surface again.
Say something about yourself!
I love this book!
I have not read a book quite like this - until now. This is a different kind of character driven story. The damaged and not so damaged main characters are captivating. Arthur could be real, we have all heard about the person who a crane and demolition crew was needed to get them out of the house (Arthur was not there yet). How does that happen? He is in need of being needed and wanted; to care for someone and to be cared for. The narrator for Arthur provided a distinguished and compassionate voice that helps you want to know him. (There are two narrators and I’m not certain who is who.) His life is revealed little by little - painful - and not so painful – making him the recluse he becomes.
Kel is a nearly grown boy/man who has much too much responsibility foist upon him. He makes decisions and has reactions that are surprising and not so surprising. His journey to fit in (poor kid in a wealthy neighborhood’s high school) was admirable, strong, and filled with insecurity and want. He is a stand out athlete which helped a lot, but the underlying insecurities can be identified by most of us (most of us were not ‘it’ people in high school).
Mostly this is a story about how people find and make family. For Arthur it was usually people who wandered into his life by accident, for Kel it was from people he knew in his past, present, and hopefully future who know him, want to know him, and know how to help and can see a future for him.
It is about the need to be a loved son, the need to be needed, the burden of being needed too much, and the need to care and be cared for.
I highly recommend this book – it is worth a credit and I will listen again. I wanted at least one more chapter.