I would have selected a single narrator - one who could invest themselves in each of the characters. Alternatively, I would have had each of the multiple narrators stick to a character, so that each character could have a unique voice.
Several times in the story, the main character, Dinah Kirkham, is described as having a "Lancashire accent" - although you couldn't prove it from the narration. Each of the narrators who read Dinah's words gave her a different voice & only once or twice did that voice have anything but the narrator's own (American) accent.
Otherwise, the story was excellent. The book describes what life was like for early Mormons, but makes no attempt to proselytize. The author does a fine job of fleshing out each character. By showing the characters' struggles - physical, emotional & intellectual - the author lets us see them as real people.
Even though this book is 12 years old, the story is still completely relevant - and hilarious - satire on office life. Even the issue of "second-secondhand smoke" is currently in the news (as "thirdhand smoke"). The idea that when Management returns from a seminar, it means "a new acronym, sensitivity training & more paperwork," certainly still holds true.
I loved everything about this book, from the references to past fads, to the unfortunately-chosen acronyms, to the 42-page "simplified" forms. The narrator - Kate Reading - captures all the characters perfectly.
I simply loved this book! The narrator really nailed the character of Christopher. The author did a fabulous job of tapping in to the thought processes of a boy with high-functioning autism.
Everything is in place - except for the lack of pictures. I bought a copy of the book, so that I can read it again with the benefit of the illustrations. This is one time when a supplementary PDF file containing all of Christopher's pictures would have been much appreciated.
Nevertheless, this audiobook deserves all five stars of my rating.
Robert Heinlein is my favorite author & I've read this particular book several times. When I saw that there was finally an unabridged audio version with a female narrator (don't get me started on male narrators being chosen to read books with first-person female protagonists), I was eager to start listening.
Unfortunately, the narrator is the reason that I'm unable to give this book five stars. There was just something about her delivery that made Friday & a few other characters sound *too* contemporary (when Heinlein's writing style relies heavily on mannerisms from the last century.) To her credit, she did a good job with "the Boss."
That isn't to say the narration was bad - she just failed to capture the main character for me. Otherwise, the author's voice comes through loud and clear - and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book as a good representation of RAH's work.
I normally don't bother to write reviews on books I didn't love, but I feel compelled to make an exception in this case.
The narrative is beautifully written and I can tell that the author has a real love for the sounds of words - but there is just too much narrative and not enough story for my taste. There didn't seem to be any likable characters - or maybe it was that the narrator's performance kept them from being interesting. I found myself frequently having to go back and listen to sections again in order to tell which character was speaking. I slogged through the entire thing, but I'm not sure why I bothered.
This may just be one of those books that is better on the printed page than it is as an audio book.
I appreciate the craft of the author in creating a work of fiction that feels like a real memoir. The descriptions of life in pre- and post-war Japan have the ring of truth to them.
The narrator gives a very subtle performance. While she doesn't use an accent to portray the characters as Japanese, her cadence and inflections convey a feeling of "foreignness." It's almost as though they are speaking in Japanese and I am hearing them in English.
I only wish I had been able to identify more with the main character. Instead, by the end of the book, I couldn't help feeling that Sayuri had really turned out to be incredibly shallow - and Nobu would have made a much more interesting protagonist.
Still, the book had its moments - and overall, I didn't dislike it.
This is one of the best audiobooks I have ever had the pleasure to listen to. The characters seemed very real and the historical setting was extremely well-researched. Even though it's fiction - it has a truthfulness to it that allows for the suspension of disbelief.
I don't take it as an attack on the Christian religion - but then, I'm not religious. The philosophy, central to this book, that God is inside each of us & works through us doesn't seem (to me, at least) to be inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus.
So give this book a try. At the very least, it will make you think.
This is a novel in which all the main characters are actual historical figures. The story itself is quite good - but almost completely due to the subject matter. The time around the turn of the 16th century in Italy is rich in events, political intrigue and fascinating characters. So I almost hate to say that I wasn't captivated by this audiobook.
The story is told from the viewpoints of sisters Isabella & Beatrice d'Este - two of the most influential women of the Italian Renaissance. It focuses on their relationships with their politically powerful husbands, with each other, and (marginally) with Leonardo da Vinci.
Perhaps if I had read, rather than listened to, this book, I might have had a much different opinion. It's possible that the narrator - even though she seemed to be a good reader - lacked that certain spark that makes for a great audiobook. The characters all seemed to run together & at times, I'm afraid I lost track of which sister was "speaking."
On the plus side, this book made me want to know more about each character & their actual histories. So my overall experience with this book was a positive one.
Normally, I shy away from books read by their own authors, but after listening to the audio sample, I made an exception. Jane Harris has not only written a highly entertaining book about a sharp-witted Irish girl, working as a maid for a strange English woman in 19th century Scotland - but she also gives voice to her characters with a level of skill that few professional readers possess.
Do yourself a big favor & get this audiobook. You won't be disappointed.
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