Having read all of the Tales of the City books 3 or 4 times each, I couldn't wait to tear into the further adventures of Mouse. I fully expected to love the book. Maybe my expectations were too high.
While Michael Tolliver Lives was funny and entertaining, it just didn't have the sweetness and charm of the original 6 books. I know Maupin says that it's not a sequel (though clearly it is), and shouldn't be compared to the other books, but obviously that's what everyone is going to do. And this one left me a bit unsatisfied.
This book seemed more a justification of Maupin's life than a novel. Frankly, I don't care how old Maupin's boyfriend is. I'm thrilled that he's happy, but I don't care to be preached to about the joys and trials of a May/December romance.
You'd be better off going back and reading the original Tales books. Now THERE lies magic.
This is the book that hooked me on Christopher Moore. And while I'm enjoying getting caught up on all that I've missed, I still think this is his best work. It's funny, charming, dark, witty, and outrageous.
What really put it over the top for me was the narration. Fisher Stevens is amazing, and really brought the text to life. I'm sorry that he doesn't have more audio available on Audible than he does (Lamb is also wonderfully narrated).
It seems from the other reviews that you either love this book or your hate it. Put me firmly in the "love it" camp.
While the temporal and geographic shifts, along with the sheer number of characters, made this novel more difficult to follow than Glass' Three Junes, it had a similar sweet, lyrical feeling, perhaps mixed with a bit of Anne Tyleresque oddity. I found myself caring about all the characters immensely, even when I didn't agree with their choices.
However, I must say that I agree with other reviewers' reaction to the narration. I found it distracting and just irritating. The voices for Greeny (too Romper Room, as another reviewer pointed out), George (if this were my child...), and, especially Walter (as a gay man, I found this voice actually offensive, which I've never encountered before) were particularly bothersome, but the entire narrative style detracted from the book.
You might be better off reading this book yourself. I give the book itself 5 stars, but took off one for the narration.
The narration really brings this book alive. The story is engrossing and compelling. One of my favorites to date.
This audiobook is simply amazing in its ability to bring history to vivid, compelling life. The narrators do an excellent job, and the writing is Doctorow's best since Ragtime. I highly recommend this audiobook.
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