I wanted to love this, but despite many efforts over at least 15 hours I can't even like it. There is absolutely no emotional involvement in any of the characters nor the story. It would be like reading the driest newspaper article summing up the events, which isn't what I would expect of a novel, if it weren't for the laboured construction that made it much more inaccessible and frankly uninteresting.
And I tried. I read the first third on my Kindle, but kept falling asleep (has only ever happened with the ridiculously bad Fifty shades of Grey). Switched to the audio book hoping that a lively narration would bring the characters to life and thus start to matter, in any way, to me. It didn't.
As I read it for a book club I persisted, but a little over half way through I gave up. I just couldn't bring myself to give it another eleven hours of my life. Out of the six serious book nerds in my book club I was the one who got the farthest, by far. One, who is extremely interested in Henry VIII, had finished and thought it dry and uninvolving, but we soon realised she had unwittingly listened to an abridged version of eight hours. That's one third of the original book's length. She said she'd never ever spend over 24 hours of reading time on the full version. The book club even reads quite a bit of award winning lit, many of my favourites are Pulitzer winners for instance, so it's not a question of that.
I even tried reading it just to explore the construction, but that didn't grab my interest either. To me, this is simply a boring book.
The story is so original it's impossible not to like it. I adore the beginning of the book as Pi and his back story is introduced. He is a highly interesting character and his musings on religion, the existence of zoos etc are entertaining.
Later on, in the boat, this part of Pi is lost in the struggle to survive. It surfaces every now and then, but mainly it becomes a Robinson Crusoesque account of staying alive under dire circumstances. Not my cup of tea, but it does have moments that are a bit more fantastical and fascinating.
Then there's the ending, which I won't spoil of course, but I can say it's good and fitting. It's different from the movie if you've already seen it, and I much prefer the book's ending.
If the middle part had been skimmed down to a much shorter passage this book could have been a favourite. As is, it's a fairly pleasant read but only the beginning and the ending affects me as a reader.
Nicely narrated, I think it is quite true to the character.
I figure it's unnecessary to introduce the storyline so let's just say it is quite a modern love story though set in a different pace (with more parallel stories) than the standard today. For instance, Anna Karenina doesn't make her entrance into the story until around page 70.
Nice narration and I'd highly recommend listening to this book rather than reading it as this recording brings it to life.
Imagine the movie character Juno had a sister, her name would be Hazel. She is a smart, witty, observant and idealistic yet cynical young girl - who has cancer. She has normal teenage worries, like will she ever fall in love, and then there's the lonely and heavy reality of her disease that sets her apart from, almost, everyone else her age.
It had me laughing out loud, crying hard, awwing at the sweetness and smartness - and just wishing I could step into this story and live there. Really, I would. It's never too rich, nor too careful about the darker parts of Hazel's reality. The sad parts are beautiful, the sweet parts incredibly moving without becoming sticky. It is simply perfect.
I also have a Kindle edition of this book and had to put the audio book on pause so, so many times to underline sentences, even whole conversations, that were so smart, moving or philosophically brilliant. As a writer I am in awe of John Green's tremendous characterisation and dialogue.
It is brilliantly narrated by Kate Rudd. Unlike a few other narrations of YA, this narration is convincing in this being is a teenager telling her very own story, from a unique perspective.
I want everyone to read this book, from teenagers to adults: it doesn't matter what age you are, this story is universal and the novel extremely well written. It is, by far, the most moving story I have come across for a long, long time. It is a precious story that I am so happy to have read and long to read again.
I rarely fall head over heels for a book, but this story I will love for life.
Just read it and love it.
I loved the beginning of this book. As a long time book geek, the strange bookstore and its mysterious owner is a nerdilicious concept that really got me hooked. But then the story goes to too strange places for me and I lost the feel for it completely. The characters were also quite lost on me as none of them really touched me in the slightest. They're quite flat, bordering on boring, really.
The last third I listened to purely to have finished the book and not quit, just in case it would turn around again. But it didn't.
Great start, but the last half to third really isn't worth the effort. The beginning deserved a better ending.
This is a feel good story, but with an indie not-everything-is-perfect touch to it which gives it more depth. It is as much a story on healing and dealing with life as it is about loneliness, friendship and all kinds of love (family, friendship and romantic). Two people more or less dented by life meet and become quite original friends. It's a lot like what Dr Seuss says:
"We are all a little weird and
Life’s a little weird,
And when we find someone whose
Weirdness is compatible with ours,
We join up with them and fall in
Mutual weirdness and call it love."
A nice gallery of characters, all humanly flawed in their own personal way. I love the quirk. The first person perspective of a main character who's quite messed up himself could have become disastrous in the hands of the wrong narrator, but it is spot on.
You get a big chunk of story, without unneccessary and flat plot, for the feel good genre and such a quick listen. If you're in the mood for an indie feel good, go for it!
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