I first listened to the Poisonwood Bible and was gripped from the beginning by the story and the wonderful narration. Then I listened to Prodigal Summer, and though it was completely different, I was engrossed from the start, though it took me a bit to get used to Ms Kingsolver's narration, once I did I found I liked her reading very much.
So I looked forward with great anticipation to listen to the Bean Trees. The first hour was pretty interesting, in spite of the narration, which I found grating and monotonous, and the accents were all wrong. After being bored for the next 3 or 4 hours, I took a look at the reviews here. I guess I didn't read them before I bought the book, and maybe a couple were posted after my purchase, but I have to agree with all the negative comments. Even with better narration, I think I would have stopped. It just stopped being interesting. As others have said, it just doesn't seem to go anywhere, and the characters are pretty boring.
The story did hold my interest to the end, but I kept thinking the scenes and characters were "over-the-top." Instead of crafting a believable story, the author uses extremes to create tension and suspense. When I finally arrived at the denouement, I was left disappointed. As another reviewer (Liz) wrote, there were subplots tossed in that were never resolved . . . and in the end, never connected to the story.
3 stars because it held my interest, but I don't think I'll buy another of Mr. Houston's works.
I got through 5 chapters before finally giving up on this one. Nothing was very amusing or indeed very interesting. The style is mundane, the vocabulary elementary, the similes unimaginative, the anecdotes unremarkable. Only the irritating narration kept me from falling asleep.
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