I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The narrative changes from one character to another fairly quickly, so I had to pay attention at the beginning to figure out who was speaking, but it got easier as I got used to it. In the meantime, the dialogue, perspective and commentary of each character were so entertaining that paying attention was easy. The story develops in a circular fashion rather than a linear one, so people who are looking for a straightforward, easy-to-read ordinary book won't find it here. Those who want a well-written, clever, literary novel will enjoy it.
The author seems to be very young, and her work lacks the reflective maturity demanded by such a title. Three-quarters of the poems are about falling in love or losing a love, and most of the rest are shallow (but pretty) metaphysics passing as religion. From the reading it is hard to tell whether the pieces are poetry or prose; while there are some intriguing phrases, there are no evocative images or metaphors. The "music" is just background accompaniment -- pleasant but possessing little character of its own. I prefer to be encouraging to young writers, but there really is very little to recommend this work.
This is the story of a woman with Alzheimer's. The focus is on the progression of the disease and the reactions of the family and friends. It is very good for helping people understand what this process is about.
It is not a typical story. Alice has early onset dementia, which occurs fairly young and progresses quite rapidly. Since she and her family are scientists, they are aware of what is happening and what to expect. There is little of the confusion, fear, denial and frustration (including violence) that are common. The family has resources, and they do not face the agonizing financial decisions of many.
The author/narrator sounds quite young, and her voice lacks the maturity needed to bring this story to life. Conversations that should be difficult and poignant sound chipper and trite -- giving the impression that while she may have witnessed this story, but she has not lived deeply into it.
That said, it is what it is: the story of a woman with Alzheimer's, and it presents many excellent insights into the lives of those who have this disease.
I knew nothing of this poem when I began listening, and at first I found it somewhat confusing. There is no introduction or lead-in, it just begins, with full dramatic force. I spent half the recording trying to figure out what I was listening to and half getting swept up in the experience. The music is beautiful and the acting superb. I will seek out the written text and listen again with more literary understanding.
This book is a listing of foods, with discussion of their economic, health and ecological advantages and drawbacks. There is a lot of good and interesting information, but I wish I had gotten the print version instead of audio. Also, since the book was published in the UK, much of the information is more applicable to that context than to the US. However, it did inspire me to do more research to find comparable information about the area where I live.
The narrator did an amazing job of sounding enthusiastic about organic produce. Many entries had identical information (for example, the entries for beef, pork, lamb, eggs, and butter contained identical information about changes in attitudes toward saturated fats), but she managed to sound as if it was all new and exciting. I also really enjoyed her accent and the British pronunciations of words like VIT-amins and regu-LA-try.
This is an excellent compendium of useful information. I hope someone translates it into American.
As a resident of New Orleans, I was truly offended by this book. It sounded like Barr wrote her story first, and then spent a week in the French Quarter to gather some color. Some of her descriptions sounded like they came right out of the introduction to a guide book. Other than Anna's friend Geneva, no New Orleanians were presented in a sympathetic light -- they were all hookers, swindlers, muggers, on the take, corrupt, and, of course, pedophiles. Nor does she explore the character of the city itself, except for some facile comments about how Katrina cleaned up the streets. She sounded like she really hates the place. While supposedly connected to the National Jazz Historic Site and Museum, nothing about the story is even remotely about jazz -- even Anna's friend was a BLUES singer.
As for the story, she kept interrupting the action to philosophize on self-deception or to emote about how disgusting child sex abuse is. I got the feeling that not even Barr herself could really stomach the subject, so she had to keep distancing herself from it. The plot itself was decent, but it could have been set in any major city, a whole bunch of small cities, and even an isolated town or two.
Narration was okay. Frequent mispronunciations were jarring, but par for the course.
I've been a fan of Nevada Barr for a long time, but she lost her way with this one, and she may have lost a loyal fan.
I picked up this book to help understand my wheat sensitivity. He did do a good job of explaining why wheat makes me stomach hurt, what other damage it may be doing, and how to rearrange my food planning to eliminate the discomfort. It was good support for my decision to eliminate wheat, though I'm not yet convinced I need to go completely gluten-free as I have not had problems with spelt, oats, barley or rye.
The science was a bit too technical for me. If I decide to go back through the material again, I will probably buy the book so I can review it more carefully.
My disappoint came as Davis turned from "wheat" to "gluten" to "all foods that raise blood sugar" to "soy is suspect because it might be genetically modified." I have simply read too many books that pick a single ingredient and blame all the troubles of the world on it: sugar, red meat, all animal products, cow's milk, saturated fat, processed food, out-of-season food, cooked food, uncooked food, etc. Each of them presents scientific studies to support their claims, stories of their own patients who showed dramatic improvement by following their advice, and dramatic warnings of the imminent demise of the civilized world. They all have some truth to them, they are all over-blown, and by overstating their case, they all undermine their own credibility.
People are not all exactly alike. Our differing chemistry shows in our allergies and sensitivities, our susceptibility to different conditions, our tastes and our physical appearance. What one person could eat for every meal makes a different person deathly ill, and what causes chronic inflammation in one can be the mainstay of another's daily consumption. Why is it so hard for dietary professionals to understand that a one-size diet does not fit all? The "Wheat Belly Diet" is a modification of Atkins, which was very successful for some people and caused gall bladder, liver and kidney problems for others.
I think that Davis has made an important contribution. I just wish he had been content with that instead of trying to reform the whole world.
Since using this recording, I have been sleeping better and awaking with more energy. I have addressed a long-standing problem and am on the way to resolving it. I have also begun a new exercise program, and I am feeling relaxed and confident about it.
Hypnosis works by distracting the conscious mind and making suggestions to the sub-conscious mind. On recordings, the suggestions are covered by the sound of surf, music, or other spoken material. Your sub-conscious hears what your conscious can't, and either accepts or rejects the suggestions, depending on your readiness to incorporate them into your life. It isn't magic, it's just support for changes that you are ready to make.
This recording contains one track of general introduction to hypnosis, one track of relaxation exercises, three tracks of surf and subliminal suggestions, and one track of fully audible review of the subliminal material. My only criticism is that the instructions suggest listening to the "title track" once a day for 21 days, but there is no way to know which is the "title track." Possibly this information was included on the packaging of the retail version, but it is not available on Audible. I contacted Brown's organization through their website to try to get this info, but I never received a reply.
I enjoyed the book, and I appreciated the complexity of the characters. However, the author writes with a subtle and very funny irony, but the narrator played it as a broad farce. It made the book seem juvenile rather than literary. He really missed the point, and I had to keep compensating for his dumbing-down of a lovely and touching story.
A beautiful and charming book, incredibly well-written and narrated with style and finesse. Much to say about life and faith, especially the role of love and belief. But in the last fascinating hour, all pretense is dropped and the story takes a chilling and devastating turn that can be neither rejected nor accepted. It will continue to haunt me, in the best sense of the word, for a long time to come.
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