I told everyone who would stop and listen about this book. I loved it. I cherished every word. I can't wait to listen to it again.
The performances were perfection. Staci Snell was exceptional.
I would recommend that before you listen to it, you go search for Trujillo and read about who he really was. I did that half way through the book and it cleared a lot of things up for me. I would have enjoyed the first third of the book more if I had learned about Trujillo first.
A review from me can't do this book justice. It's perfect. It's heart wrenching and feels so true. I loved and hated all of the characters and cheered for every victory.
I wanted to love this book. I treasured Glass Castles and have recommended it to a dozen people. I was very excited that she came out with a fictional story.
All the characters, landscape, and situations were set up for this to be a great book. I kept waiting for it to get started. With each new situation, or each new person met, I thought "oh,ok, this is going to be the meat of the story," yet it never happened. Then I thought, "that's ok, this is just a 'slice-of-life' story," but for a successful story like that, you need to know the character enough to care what they had for breakfast, and the depth just wasn't there in this book.
There were so many really great characters in this story that Walls gave glimpses of. The older sister, the uncle, the cousin, and her black girlfriend were all promising, and interesting, and I wanted to know more about them, but Walls just scratches the surface and leaves you wanting more. Unfortunately, I was left wanting on all of the characters and possible story lines, which makes this story feel like an empty shell.
I still gave it three stars because it is promising and because I did love the characters even from a distance. The complexity of the older sister and the way she dealt with heartache made me want to read an entire novel just about her. Because the book is overall so shallow it ends up being a story with dark tendencies told with a light touch, which isn't a completely terrible thing.
Swan Peak was a refreshing twist to this series and I really enjoyed it. Burke's rich descriptions make you feel like you are there, you can hear the Clark Fork Creek as he describes it. I loved this particular cast of characters and I loved the ending. It was fun to have other "good guys" in this story to mix it up with Clete and Dave.
Everyone is up to their old tricks and charms. The descriptions are beautiful, the characters well-rounded and like-able or perfectly hate-able. I read each of these faithfully because of all of these things. The stories and writing are rich and full and make other stories seem lacking. This particular book had a couple of moments where Dave is "saved" just a little to easily and a little to coincidentally. A couple of moments almost had a "Scooby-Doo, whew, that was close" feel to them. I hope Burke doesn't continue in that direct and instead keeps the flawed, human, reluctantly heroic heroes in tact.
I enjoy listening to memoirs occasionally because I expect them to bring a level of honesty that isn't found in other genres. Unfortunately though, that is often not the case. What makes this book so good is it's level of honesty. Joel's essays are funny, but also honest, almost raw, which is what makes them interesting. The fact that he reads it allows for moments where it really feels like he is sharing something very deep with the listener. Joel also does a nice job of mixing and matching the length, theme, and rhythm of the essays which makes this collection more enjoyable to listen to than most short story collections.
I enjoyed the stories about his children the most. Though at the end, I wondered about Cindy (I think it's Cindy), the twin girl that is rarely talked about. Will she be offended or thrilled that she wasn't represented as she gets older.
I love this series for the same reason the other reviewers have listed. The imagery, the unending depth of the characters, and the story lines that are complex without losing you. But one of my favorite parts of this story was the FBI agent who was charmingly bumbling. I laughed outloud (in public) a few times during this story, mostly when she was involved. In the end, it was a little odd, because she didn't end up playing a key role in the story--I hope he brings her back in future books.
I love Burke, I respect his views, I love his themes. This series gets better and better.
The smells, the poetic descriptions, the names of the characters, the colloquialisms, the flaws of the characters make this book perfection. This series, Burke and Patton, are beloved to me. They take my expectations of any other book to a level that is unfair. Crusader's Cross is a great story. You get to know Dave even better and join him in a major life event. Clete is on fire and adds the right amount of color and an "oh my gosh how are they going to get out of this" feeling. The mystery is complex and believable and personal. Just a work of art.
I liked the first book in this series, but thought it had some flaws. I loved this book and am excited to listen to #3. This book made me realize that with this genre, there is almost always a specific rhythm. I didn't really notice that until this book did NOT follow that rhythm. I'm not going to say how it was so different because I don't want to spoil anything. It's different, which takes it to a "great" level instead of just "good." I'm loving Virgil. He's flawed and colorful and predictable and not predictable. I can't wait to hear what he does next.
Oh, this narrator was better too than the first book. He becomes invisible, which is often what a great narrator should do.
I liked this story a lot. I loved the mystery and the way it kept me guessing right up until the very end, and in this book, I was guessing literally until the last couple of sentences which was a nice twist. I liked getting to know Virgil, I have started listening to the next book.
My experience with any series (books or television) is that the first book or first episode aren't as good as the rest of the series. I've learned to give it time for the character to develop. This series shows a lot of promise.
The narrator was a little too monotone for me. After listening to 17 books read by Dick Hill, I'm a tough critic there.
There were just a couple things that were annoying in the story--I didn't love the part where he is writing a mystery book on the side. I got a little confused each time that happened.
I also didn't find his womanizing charming. I get that for a detective's character to be developed that it needs some flaws, but there were a couple of comments about women that made me go "ewww." Hopefully that part of his character gets down played in future books, or made sexy or something instead.
Really liked it overall.
I recommend this book often. I've listened to it twice and it really did help change my habits. I was a vegetarian of 20 years who lived on Mac & Cheese. I keep a lot of the wisdom from this book with me. I think Robbins makes this advice practical and accessible to everyone. My favorite thing though is the background research he did and the examples of people from other cultures.
I love Tom Robbins. I had read Villa Incognito years ago and was excited to listen to it. I've enjoyed all the other Robbins books in audio format. This narrator is terrible. His Thai accent and "cowboy" accents are terrible to the point of distraction. Robbins books are naughty and glib and don't take themselves seriously, that's the beauty of his story-telling. They need a subtle touch. Robbins books, as most great stories, need the narrator to become invisible and let the story shine through. This performance was so disappointing.
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