This is a hard book for me to review, I would say the writing and that story are mediocre at best.
However, and I guess this is what matters, I did enjoy listening to the book. I think that if the story was condensed and the endless analogies and metaphors spoken by Odd Thomas were reduced, that the book would read much better.
While the material is fascinating and, in my opinion, very believable, I unfortunately have to fault the way the book was written and the person reading the book.
First, let me start with the reader... the book was read very fast and in what I perceived as an angry mono-tone (almost Dennis Leary like). To me, this greatly distracted from the material in the book. Being that this is an audio book, this needs to be considered before you buy it.
As for the content of the book, I can easily find most of it believable. Unfortunately, I do have to fault the way it is presented. The book comes out more like an ongoing rambling of world events. Making it, in my mind, difficult to follow. It does not provide enough historical background, factual references, and build-up to the events it describes.
The concept of this book is very good. Is it possible to live on a minimum wage salary? This book raises some very interesting social and political issues.
The problem I have with the book is the editorializing, and even more so, the incessant whining of the author. Also, much of the writing has an "elitest" tone to it. If you are going to try your hand making a living as a maid, you should not be surprised about having to clean toilets or carrying a vaccuum. If you are going to work at WallMart, don't be shocked about having to return clothes to the a rack.
Sometimes it seems that the author never held a real job in her life. Employees complaining about managment, drug testing, ineffectual and demoralizing management is as much a "white collar" (and high pay) issue as it is a "blue collar" (minimum wage) issue. Of course, the white collar employees have a home to return to at the end of the day.
Hence, my main complaint about the book is that the author should have spent more time analyzing the housing issues, aide for the poor issues, job market issues, rather than whine about her minimum wage jobs.
In summary, I believe the book is raising some serious issues about "the working poor", it is unfortunate that it is too painful to listen to the authors complaints to get the the heart of the book.
If, like me, you've always wanted to read the Illiad, this is your chance. It's an excellent story and it is hard to believe it was written thousands of years ago. So much did I enjoy listening to The Illiad, that I am now listening to The Odyssey (which unfortunately is not nearly as good a translation and recording).
I found the recording and reading to be very good. It was easy to comprehend, and I believe the translation to be good.
If you do decide to listen to the book, it may be a little difficult in the beginning to follow the names, but stick with it!
When I was first listening to this book I was thinking, "This isn't very useful for everyday life situations." It seemed more geared to "diplomatic" or "big business" negotiations.
Since then, I have used the technique of principled negotiation a couple of times in "every day life" situations. I was so happy by the results, that I took the time to re-listen to the book.
This is not a "quick gimmick" book, but a well thought out and fair approach to negotiations. Much of it may be common sense, but often "common sense" is the first thing to go in negotiations.
I thought this was a financial advice book, instead it is a phony get-rich motivational book.
I would best sum up the financial advice given in this book with the following analogy:
"If it hurts when you bang your head on the wall, stop banging your head on the wall".
In other words, the basic advice given in the book is that if you want to become rich, you need to buy things that will make you money. Du'h. Oh yeah, and while you're at it, don't bury yourself in debt. Simply genius.
Don't waste your time or money.
Like others have said this is a fantastic book. I enjoyed everything in it: the premise, the characters, the writing style, and the way it was read.
For those looking for an "action adventure shoot'em up" time traveler story, this is not it. This is first and foremost a love story.
This book has two aspects to it: the story and the history. The story itself is a typical fast paced interesting mystery, complete with some twists and turns. I found the story to be average.
What makes this book stand out in my mind is the history it presents. DaVinci's painting of the last supper will never look the same after you read this book.
To me, this book was a pseudo-history book hidden in a mystery book. Bearing in mind that much of the history discussed in the book deals with Catholic religion, having an open mind is a must to enjoy the book.
My biggest complaint is that the book read more like a "college textbook" stating brief facts and stories, rather than a story of which I became a part of.
Too many interesting topics, people, and stories received barely a passing mention. Too many references to a person or story as being "well known" were made. I would have preferred a much deeper delving into fewer topics.
Also worth mentioning is that I thought the narrator read too fast (making it difficult to keep the ancient names and places straight) and that he read as if though to a British audience (making analogies to British government or history).
In all, if you are a history novice (like me) I would not recommend this book as a starting point.
I have mixed feelings on this book. On the one hand, I found it very interesting (being an engineer, I enjoyed the technical details). Much of the book seemed very factual, including a behind the scenes look at the making of weekly "news shows".
On the other hand, I guessed at the ending early on... this didn't bother me too much since I had to keep listening to see if I was right. What I most disliked was the unbelievable (at least to me)underlying conspiracy story (including murder attempts).
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