Painful to listen to, excruciatingly drawn out. The "life of Henrietta Lacks" would have made a good magazine article. I am within an hour and a half of finishing this and have managed to get through it by listening to a chapter a day. I keep hoping for it to get better. It is "the story of Henrietta Lacks's children." I don't see how the story of these children who do not even remember their mother is at all relevant to (a) Henrietta's life or (b) the science of the cells. I don't care about Deborah's hives or whether her son is in jail for robbery. Most of these children most of time are caught up in their belief that they have a right to be compensated for the modern day use of Henrietta's cells. Deborah, the central family figure portrayed, is a drama queen plain and simple and it is painful to listen to "the Book of Deborah."
I can't understand all of the high ratings. When this many people differ from what I think I have to give weight to the opinion of the others in considering that I may be wrong about this book but in any case this is my opinion.
I see the narrator has considerable and well rated experience under his belt but this book is beyond his range. To be believable this book requires a range of accents and dialects and narrator just sounds like a white boy. Japanese tourists are made to sound like the Frito Bandito, to name one. This is very distracting. Overall the book is nothing to write home about and where excellent narration would help, this detracts. I would give this book a pass. Can't decide if I will struggle through and finish it.
Even prior to recent bad publicity (isn't all publicity good publicity?) I found this book to be a major disappointment. The text is a series of improbabilities stacked upon improbabilities in a repetitive "rant". I was frequently distracted by the "over dramatized" narration. I have been sober for over 18 years and I didn't see any "recovery" in this book at all. Even if the book is viewed in its entirety as a work of fiction it remains a complete disappointment to me: it is some of the worst fiction I have ever read. Every now and then a book of which much is made turns out to be "Emperor's New Clothes" and this clearly is such a book. Certainly it was a waste of my time and my money and I truly hope that others will save their time and money. How sad that yet another so-called 90-day wonder has reaped even a nickel from cashing in on the new Sobriety Chiq - if you are looking for a true view of addiction try attending some AA or Alanon meetings, something this author likely never did.
I generally refuse to read abridgements but this book would have been better as an abridgement. The topics addressed in the lengthy introduction are stated in sufficient detail to make subsequent discussion of them in the book redundant. Also, it was tiresome to hear the author read at the beginning of each chapter quotes and reviews lauding him as a brilliant expert. The second half of the book, at least what seemed like half the book, was a very lengthy and not too interesting diatribe on naming, the premise, I conclude, after listening to the whole thing and wondering "why" must be that the popular names of the future can be predicted by studying the names given today by affluant and educated parents. There, I said it. Enough said. The naming jag in the book pops up this way: The author suffered a very tragic death of his own child and in going to a grief support group he met parents whose children drowned in swimming pools which caused him to research the danger of swimming pools v. guns and speaking of names, . . . . This book to me is an example of an attempt to stretch an interesting magazine article into a book. Just not enough material and too much got in that is irrelevant/redundant.
Always strange how "one man's meat is another man's poison" - This is my favorite kind of audio book, one that follows delightful characters through a story that just goes and goes and goes. I was hooked within the first five or ten minutes. Charlotte in college brought back my own experiences and then some - not the popular Charlotte part, but the Charlotte who will stand in a line, any line, just to appear to have some purpose to be at a party when she doesn't know anyone or "what to do." For me these were the kinds of charactors that lingered in my mind long after the book was finished. For me this book was just one long great listen.
This is a "period piece' set in turn of the 20th Century England ($). Starts in 1895, a fact I could have used in making my purchasing decision. That sais, if you read the first review of this Author's work, lovers and liars, by "Wynter' from Marina, CA, USA Date: June 06, 2005, this review pretty much sums it up. A hates B, tragically separated from C, who is hated by D and loved by Z but miraculously reunited with G, who is married to C, but in love with A, who is hated by P, and everyone is reunited and married off to one another (except for the villian who pushed A into the carriage path, the only loose string in all of this. narrated very well, just not my kind of book - trite, boring, unlikely and predictable. My mistake for not adequately investigating content beyond publisher's description.
The point of this book, if any, is so totally lost on me it leaves me wondering what other people will think. But please don't buy this on my account; I couldn't stand the guilt. This book is two percent about the deprograming of a cult member and 98 percent 'older man acting in "theraputic role"takes advantage of vulnerable screwed up girl he is being paid thousands of of dollars be isolated with in a "hut" in the desert in order to 'help.' We certainly don't need to hear hours of sticky sex to grasp the not so subtle point ultimately spelled out eighty percent of the way in; something about an injured spider (hey, you figure it out; I am just the mesenger). If you do choose to subject yourself to this book, it should help to know in advance that each 'segment' of the 'story' is a shift from one character's point of view to the other. While I don't subscribe to the theory that a narrator is responsible to present dramatic reentactment of text to the point of using special voices for each character, the story makes very little sense till you figure out the perspective shift (as opposed to making very little sense thereafter in any light whatsover except possibly as a miserably prolonged case study in a psychologist's ethics textbook). But everybody does live happily ever after. Or they think they do, whatever. Save your time and money and pass this one by. Or buy it and explain to me the error of my thoughts - i don't claim to be a deep thinker. But this may well be the last "not yet reviewed" book that I select.
I am not positive when this book was written but I am guessing the post-WWII forties. The book is an excellent portrayal of the spic and span black and white era when the "good fellas" lived in neat rows of suberbia with white picket fences, 2.3 kids and a Maytag Washer and dryer. In the midst of this, Babbit, a 47-year old real estate broker, faces a mid life crisis and revilses his own values and judgments. As with many classics the similarity to the issues faced and the feelings expressed by this protagenist and people today are awesome; people's dissatifactions and problems from generation to generation are just not "new." I had a little trouble getting my teeth into this book, had to re-start the first disk a few times. This is often the case with classics, however, that is good to keep in mind. Definitely not a "cleaning the house book" - a good "while I drive" book for me. Unlike reviewers who found the narrator's (Wolfram Kandinsky) style distracting at first, I found it a particular pleasure as I have some trouble hearing when there are other sounds going on in the world, which is most of the time. The narrator's speack is clear, concise and while almost "clipped" I could hear each word with precision and clarity. I would view the fact that Wolfram Kandinsky narrated a book to be a "plus" on my view of any book's potential in the future. This is a book I would love to recommend to others, particularly people of my Parent's generation and age who were raising their own children in the post-war era of prosperity and the advent of nuclear families.
There are two kinds opf audio books in my universe. One is the kind I have to LISTEN to and rewind if I miss something, etc. The kind I might read for actual knowledge of a subject matter or literature. This is the other kind; the kind I don't need to catch EVERY word of, although I try to catch every word These are "books to sit still and do hobbies with." This is the kind of book that is to me "music to clean by" - my house is spotless after a weekend with this book because I couldn't "put it down." It is easy to keep track of things despite my comings and goings, turning it off and on going from room to room and so on. The story was engaging and the narrator fabulous. If the story is engaging and easy to follow I frankly don't care what it is about, and despite not being much of a detective/mystery follower I delighted in this book. Ear candy for the sweet tooth so to speak. The characters are very well developed and it would be easy to imagine some of the characters themselves being the subject of their own "series spinoffs." And much applause to the narrator, a GREAT job making a fun book even more fun. All in all a great little "read" which will serve to make me a Hiaasen fan from now on.
This is the kind of light "reading" that can keep me housecleaning to the sound of an audiobook the entire weekend. Not scholarly certainly, but a fun engaging story that left me sorry to reach the last disk. I am not the "girly book" sort of girl and bought this only because it was the 10 book for $99 sale,but I am delighted that I did. First thing I did Monday morning was to look for more by this author. The book was 50 percent of the pleasure; the narrator the other 50 percent. EXCELLENT narration, the narrator went above and beyond the call of duty with changes of voice and so on. Just all in all a delightful little "read."
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