I agree with many of the other low reviews, this book doesn't hold a candle to "Water for Elephants", almost seems like it was from another author. The characters cut from cardboard, the narrative predictable and trite - I could listen with "one ear" and still follow it because I knew where we were going. Gruen relies heavily on characters cut from cloth that's familiar to the reader and props them up with insipid dialogue. The story is interesting in a Michael Crichton-esque way, but doesn't even have his writing ability behind it (and that's saying something).
I really tried to get through this. I got almost 50% of the way there and just gave up. I think this got in my queue because someone (or possibly Audible) suggested it since I loved Malcolm Gladwell. While there are parallels, Gladwell's writing is far more compelling and he doesn't spend much of the book preaching in quasi self-help mode, alternated with anecdotes about famous "masters".
I also found it to be built on a logical fallacy - that you can only be happy/achieve mastery/follow your bliss if you move to your destined path, the one that is a fit for you. This is ridiculous. If I had accepted my abilities and shortcomings as they were, I never would have pursued my career; I had to become somebody slightly different than I was (or than I saw myself) in order to make this work. Greene implies that I'm in the wrong career path.
Admittedly, the biographical portions were interesting, but once he started to repeat them, it made the content seem all the more stretched and threadbare.
I tried, I really tried to like this book, but I couldn't. I found the philosophy to be too obscure and the author never got hold of my with the fictionalized narrative (maybe he should have had John Galt ride cross-country? ;). I know people who really liked this book, but I just fought it the whole way.
I love Warren's writing and his beautiful turn of phrase, but dammit, this book needed a more judicious editing. If you can stand long passages that are incredibly well-written, but ultimately do little to move the story, then this might be for you. I found myself, for the first time, longing for an abridged version (and I've made it through some very tedious audiobooks). The two-hour sequence describing Jack's unconsummated love with Ann did me in. Just too much.
I was expecting a great deal more from this book. Frankly, I found it to be a self-indulgent trip through the actual accounts of this horrible murder that developed little tension (because you know whodunnit) and, for me, little interest. The descriptions are sparse, the writing almost news-like and the changes in narration seemed to be the only use of any writing technique whatsoever. The lengthy descriptions of psychiatric disorders and irrelevant histories of other death-row inmates further distract from whatever Capote intended to convey or describe. Can't recommend this unless you are a big fan of true crime writing.
I love this reading of A Prayer for Owen Meany. The narration is excellent and it brings the book to life again for me. I struggle a little bit with Owen's voice, but then I suppose that any voice would seem insufficient given expectations. This is Irving at his best.
The narration is excellent, but there's little he can do with the material. Hour after hour on minutae of whale biology and other filler material that detracts from the narrative. I hate to say this, but I would actually suggest people download the abridged versions. 3 hours vs. 24 and you really would get all the relevant content. A shame really, but I feel like I want 21 hours of my life back....
I agree with the other reviewers, the Spanish speaker speaks too quickly. I speak poor "tourist" Spanish and had two years in school, but he lets his syllables run together (as in common with native/fluent speakers) such that I couldn't pick up one word from the next. Too hard to follow.
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