Having grown up in California in the 50's and 60's this was a wonderful walk down memory lane. Joan style and content was totally engaging and true to the time. Highly recommend!
I haven't heard any other audio books narrated by Diane Keaton, but I must say, I would listen again and again, just because she did a wonderful job. Her speach was clear and, unlike some narrators, she wasn't overly dramatic. Her tone is clear and easy to listen to.
Hearing Diane Keaton pronounce tule fog as "tool" fog and Merced as "mers-ed" (emphasis on the first syllable rather than on the last) was a little jarring. Aren't there editors involved to help the readers pronounce the words correctly? Keaton is a good reader for Didion's slightly smug tone here, but those errors were disappointing.
i've always found 'personal journalism' something of a contradiction...hunter thompson, joan didion, tom wolfe, etc., and often can't find the bright line between it and fiction... that being said, a few of the 'stories' in this collection are golden reflections of our time, but most are simply the personal insights into how this writer receives the world...ms keaton's reading is entirely sympathetic and a pleasure to listen to...what puzzles me is whether she's ever met a foreign word (non-English) that has been adopted by our vernacular that she can pronounce with something that resembles its source language.
Mom of one 27 year old, PhD in Rhetoric, Retired AF Captain, Avid Kayaker, Hiker, Biker, Sailor, & Dog Lover
Didion, yes. Keaton, no.
Unlike any of my other Audible books, I had to stop listening to Keaton butchering this narration. I can't fathom how she won an award for this work. Mispronunciation, uneven intonation, poor enunciation, it was a train wreck. I mean, I thought she might just cough and sputter in the middle of it. It was painful enough that I got irritated and just stopped. I had high expectations, too, because I thoroughly enjoyed Keaton's narration of her own two memoirs. But Didion...you don't mess with good Didion....unless you practice, train, educate yourself about the context, purpose, value of such amazing storytelling...stay away! Arrggh...it was such a shame.
Another reader with more narrative talent and better reading skills would improve this Audible offering.
I'd touch not a drop.
Disappointing.... I shudder to think that just because this is our otherwise beloved Diane Keaton she'd be rewarded for slaughtering the work of our more beloved author. That makes me question the judgment of the committee who made that choice. A shame, truly. Keaton should apologize publically.
I LOVE Diane Keaton, but a reader of prose she is not. Like, for realsies. I'm also fond of Joan Didion, but I wish I had read this 40 years ago. The thing I enjoyed the most about this book is her love of California and Los Angeles. If you're a Californian, you too may enjoy that-- but maybe buy a hard copy, unless you like trying to ferret out where the verb is in each sentence.
This is one of the worst Audible recordings I have heard. I could not abide the mispronunciation throughout of common words and the semi-quixotic, sing-song reading that sounded as though Keaton were reading everything for the first time and didn't know how the sentences should end. It was really trying to catch any coherence and I wish I'd just read the book myself.
Diane Keaton's slow, monotonous narration robbed Didion's stories of their marvelous verbal play and sardonic wit. I ended up increasing the playback speed so Keaton wouldn't ramble on, sounding like a bored and boring girlfriend in a Woody Allen movie. Didion deserved a narrator who actually understood what she was reading. Clearly, Keaton did not.
Keaton's mispronunciation of words was so annoying and distracting. Every time I heard "San Ber-dino," I wanted to scream. How did this book make it to Audible with that kind of narration?
I have long been a fan of Joan Didion and it was _Slouching Toward Bethlehem_ and _The White Album_ that won me over. It had been some time since I read these books, though, so I was looking forward hearing them. I found the experience quite disappointing.
Though I certainly was not impressed by the narrator, I can't actually blame her. It's just that some things are far more suited to reading than listening to, and this is one of them. You just don't focus on an audio book the same way you focus on a "printed" (electronic or dead tree format) page.
It's also true that some of the essays have aged very badly, most especially the title essay. Or maybe my perspective has changed. Perhaps society isn't less atomized in 2013 then it was in 1979 when I first encountered these books; perhaps I'm just used to it and unimpressed, thought it certainly seems less atomized.
What's aged well? "Goodbye to All That" (AKA: Farewell to the Enchanted City) is worth the price of admission for its poignant tale of staying to long at the fair. "Los Angelas Notebook" still holds up. "Comrade Laski, P.P.U.S.A. (M.-L.)" seems quite a familiar charactor, anymore. "On Morality" is still worth listening to. In general, the second half of the book retains it's interest far better than the first.
I'm sorry to have to give this audiobook a low rating. I would still buy a Kindle (printed) version.