I enjoy Bill Bryson's work. He is really a travel writer who always surprises with side trips full of interesting information. He is witty and self-deprecating. His travels aren't effortless. He gets lost, hot and out of sorts but instead of complaining, he makes us laugh. He isn't a purist, he bumbles along but still manages to be entertaining and makes us feel like he'd be a great traveling companion and best of all, he's such a nice guy he'd probably enjoy our company, as well.
We listened to this book while driving from California to Montana, eastern Washington and Idaho on the trail of the great ice age floods followed by an impromptu excursion through the Canadian Rockies. It was great fun and set us up for a trip through Appalachia. So no, not all at once.
Bryson has a great book "In a Sunburnt Land" about Australia, one about a trip to see the northern lights, living in England and taking a walking tour. All are delightful
Set in the early sixties, behavior is fueled by alcohol, no doze, and stupidity. Even the environmentalists are dumb. Too bad.
so if your son died at 17 in a motorcycle accident, you might not get past the first 20 minutes. The narrator wasn't good either. so no clue how the story developed. They should have warnings: Motorcycle accident: brain and body damage central to story. Or Rape victims may find plot distressing. Or Caution! Gruesome Home Invasion detailed. Beware! Explicit Torture scenes. You get the picture.
The continuing story of Jamie, Claire, their daughter Bree, Roger, Fergus, Marsallie, et al. I really do not like the romance genre but this is a story of generations, historical fiction and great writing and an outstanding narrator.
Mom is a recluse, famous architect whose only building is no longer standing, dad works for Microsoft, daughter is brilliant, it is set in Seattle. Daughter wants to go to Antarctica when she graduates from junior high before going off to boarding school. This is a challenge for mom, the recluse. So interesting characters, interesting background and the conflicts are set up. My only problem with the book was the emoting of the narrator. When a character was upset she had to put that emotion in the voice where the writing should suffice. Daughter upset; upset voice. Neighbor crazy angry unreasonable; weird breathless voice with tension. Really, you are meant to read the text and do it well. You aren't meant to act it out.
I was hungry for more Hunger Games so I bought this but it did not satisfy.
I like books set in Montana where place plays a prominent role. I thought the kidnapped girls might develop into detailed gross gore. That didn't happen. It must be part of a series but I'm not inspired to read the one that came before, nor do I want to read the next one.
Authenticity demerits: the detour described over Beartooth Pass in the third week in November is highly improbably. That pass closes in mid October and to the best of my knowledge, has never been open in November. Global warming may change that sometime in the future but it has not yet happened. IF the pass were open, it has an elevation of almost 11,000 feet and has hair raising hairpin turns that would either scare the bejesus out of a high school driver or send her over the edge when she hit black ice. Even a teenage driver can't text and stay alive on that road.
No native Montanan would route anyone over that pass in October much less November. I've seen it closed (for days) by snow in July.
No trucker would detour over Beartooth Pass because, not only is it closed in November, I don't think large semi trucks are allowed.
Authenticity points: the road through Yellowstone Park from Cooke City to Gardiner IS kept open all winter. There is a religious group that bought a lot of land near Gardiner.
I am from Tennessee. We have different accents than Atlanta, Mississippi or along the southeastern coast. Most people have to use the overdone accents from Clampets of Beverly Hills fame. It is sooo annoying. The narrators for this story have Atlanta and Florida accents wrong but that's okay cause they don't over do it. How they think the Blue Ridge mountain native caretaker can have a Scottish accent (because her ancestors were from Scotland?) is kind of nuts but I just let that one go. The story was pleasant, the characters were a mixed lot, just like in life, full of quirks and contradictions. There was a bad person but it was well hidden and revealed in a series of believable encounters.
This was an enjoyable listen. While I didn't find it as engrossing as other reviewers, it was a pleasant story set in the south that was modern and showed admirable self restraint by depicting the southern characters as modern people living in contemporary United States while giving the usual trite southern woman stereotype a welcome rest.
Plop, plop, fizz fizz oh what a relief it is when we are not caricatures.
I was pretty sure I'd enjoy a mystery with a dog-cop partnership but it followed the formula of damaged goods struggling with ghosts of that which damaged them but Yeah! it all turns out okay. Boring.
The story seemed to be going somewhere but **SPOILER ALERT** the protagonist ends up feeling used and discarded by her more talented "friend". It was disappointing because, with all the navel gazing, it was kind of what the reader suspects from the get go.
Ivan Doig never fails to satisfy with excellent writing, a good tale while weaving together life in a small Montana and a backstory about the depression and the building of the Fort Peck dam. It's a fine and satisfying story.
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