I really want to give this five stars. The content is funny, well written, and sharp. Tina Fey reads it and does a great job of doing so, BUT, whoever did the audio editing just doesn't seem to know what they are doing. At least in this Audible version at the end of many paragraphs the sound ramps down so her last word or two gets really quiet by the end of the word. This is annoying and distracting. I've listened to TONS of audiobooks and I've never heard one that does this, at least not so consistently. Otherwise, it's pretty great, especially if you are a Tina Fey / 30 Rock fan.
It's a great story, relevant to post-teens everywhere... esp if you were a teen in the late 80s, early 90s.
He is an amazing narrator. One of the best I've ever heard.
The main character Charlie. The character really resonated with me.
Neal is always pretty long winded and after listening to a lot of Cory Doctorow lately, without the hook of the tech from something like Snow Crash or Diamond age I wasn't nearly as entertained for the duration of this book as I should have been, and this book is LONG... I think, needlessly so. The same story could be told in have the hours, I think. Yeah, there is a lot of depth. Yeah there is a lot of interesting tech and crypto stuff here (the best part of the book). Yeah, there is a lot of character detail. Go grab Snow Crash or Diamond Age or some Cory Doctorow instead.
This book takes places in the early-ish 80's and is partially about a game programmer (ATARI, C64, PC, etc.) and his family (strong focus on problems with the 7 year old son). This was a particularily interesting topic in all aspects to me personally, this is when I started using computers and teaching myself to program, so I knew the timeframe and computer platforms and I personally and a programmer, so, for at least these reason I was interested. The story about the father son blossoms really well. When it finally comes to fruition it does a good job. It should be noted the final blossom doesn't seem as polished as with writers who are more native to the genre (I believe Card is more of a SF writer), BUT, he is clearly an excellent writer. There are things about the conclusion I might have changed, but I did, in general, like the entire book and was glad I read (listened to) it. I am a huge fan of Ender's Game and I don't think this was AS good, but it is a solid book.
My notable thoughts: The accent of the reader is kind of odd but livable. It is not bad or distracting just different from what I am used he. He does a solid job... please doen't read this as a complaint, just something that I noted.
Finally, and MAYBE importantly: there is a STRONG Mormon theme within this book, the family the book is about are devout Mormons, but, they seem genuine. If references to religion through a book turns you off don't read this book. I am not Mormon but I thought it added an interesting tone to the characters.
I listened to and really enjoyed Fast Food Nation which prompted me to get this one. Eric writes an interesting book full of facts and details. The problem with Reefer Madness is that it has a different reader (Eric reads his own book this time) -- this is a problem because his voice puts you right to sleep -- it has a soft, almost monotone reading, no dynamics in his voice whatsoever. The content is very interesting, although to me it felt like it could have been a fair bit more focused - he seems to repeat himself a lot instead of taking thigs a bit more logically, I think - it may be intentional, I suppose.
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