I don't know what to say about this book. It's different from any I ever remember reading. It's as unique as its author ... and even tho I know you can't qualify the word "unique," that means it's very, very unique. It's got the "I-must-not-tell-lies" ring of truth, yet it sounds as fantastical as a fairytale (or a nightmare). And it's very well written. It's also very well narrated--in a feminine voice that's almost too lilting --too lilting because the voice doesnt fit the second half of the book as well as it does the first half.
It's the author's personal tale, but I believe it's more a love letter from a parent to his lost child. Yes, the author was a father at the time his wife, one of the higher-ups in Scientology, went to live on the other side of the country without informing him that she didnt intend to come back, only informing him after arranging for him to send their daughter to her for a visit and, instead of sending the daughter back at the arranged time, sent instead Mexican divorce papers. The wife was only able to pull off this betrayal because they were all "trapped" in the Scientology hierarchy and her rank was higher than his.
The second half of the book is the author's life after Scientology. This entire book seems to me to be an entreaty for his daughter, "Jessica" to contact him before he dies. Of course, "he" is now a "she," and that's the story of the second half of the book. Here, the narrator's light and laffy tone is, IMO, not the best tone for some of the serious incidents portrayed. Pathos, I suppose, the word is. Personally, it's sad to me that such an obviously loving and giving person as the author should have met up with so many destructive people, but it's a tribute to Kate Bornstein's character that she has been able to maintain a positive and embracing attitude toward the stage of life and all the characters strutting there.
Stark. It may not be entertaining, per se, but there's a compelling power in the starkness of a previously hidden truth. This story of Brent W. Jeffs' is just that: Compelling. Talk about speaking truth to power! And the power Brent Jeffs challenges is that which British historian Lord Acton famously described as, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." This book reveals the absolute power of one man (Brent's uncle Warren) over the very personal lives of thousands and how that power corrupts not only his chosen "henchmen" who live privileged lives, but also corrupts the lives of his rank- and-file loyal followers, whose children are the most pathetic of their helpless victims.
When "law enforcement" in the town are members of the same religion/cult as "the prophet" (ruler) of the compound in that town and his mind controlled followers, then escape becomes nearly impossible ... that is, unless you're a boy who would otherwise grow up to challenge the older men the older men for privileges ... men who are required by their religion (FLDS) to have a minimum of three wives in order to attain salvation via populating their own personal universes. It's as you may have seen on National Geographic ... the whole lion pride type of social structure, where the juvenile males are forced to abandon the pride and live on its outskirts, rather than face the consequences of challenging the "king" for survival via either food or reproduction ..... Thank Goodness that Brent had the strength of character to write (in restrained and nonlurid style) about his personal experiences, including seeking legal redress for the crimes that absolute power inevitably fostered.
Harrowing chronicle of modern day control freakism and violation of child labor laws that would make Upton Sinclair blush in rage.
We've all met someone to whom the label "control freak" applies, but thank God that most of us have never come into contact with someone who's control freakishness extends to the writing of reams of rules to cover every waking moment of a person's life from the cradle to the grave, not to mention the perversity of a mind twisted from birth by those same mind-numbing, soul-sapping trivialities that then becomes one of the wardens or trustees, replacing those who move on up to the higher echelons of privilege.
Tellingly, I've never heard of one of these types of hellish utopias that doesnt enrich the few at the top with the spoils of backbreaking labor by those at the bottom. The riches derived in this manner are truly obscene, extending to the creation of world-wide properties and monies. It's "beyond belief" the types of social systems that can be constructed and maintained by self-isolating groups in these USA. I've thus far avoided reading about those Warren-Jeffs types of polygamous groups, but after hearing what was dreamed up and put into practice by "LRH" and his minions, I assume those polygamists can't be much worse, so I plan to audioread about them next.
Perverse. Abusive. Nightmarish. These are the words that come to mind while listening to this brave woman's tale of self-discovery in captivity and the strength of spirit with which she freed herself and her loved ones.
K so ... the sample sounded interesting, and I was already an admirer of Raudman's narration ... but Raudman's natural voice is somewhere in the soprano range, I assume ... add to that multiple characters with piercing, high, whiney vocals that can shriek on and on, and you've got a story that's at least one-quarter very, very annoying to listen to. I did finish the story, but I doubt that I'll listen to any more in the series. Also contains way too many of those boring product placements sprinkled too liberally throughout. Like too much salt it spoils the taste ... everything from brand names of sheets and shoes to closet organizers, ad nauseum ... just a plain turn-off, in my opinion.
This is a 7+ hour book, and I'm guessing that 4-5 hours of it is narrated in thick foreign accents ... a very grating experience after the first hour ..... the story is pretty well told, but for some unknown reason, it doesn't tell the tale of all the agents of america and great britain whose lives were ended as a result of the double dealing of harold kim philby. too bad he was so good at fooling people, including the cia head of counterintelligence, jim angleton ..... and too bad this book, even though it encompasses 1928, does not mention the creation of the muslim brotherhood in that year and its use as nazis welcomed by hitler and how philby and his "sainted father" (a convert to islam) persuaded america and great britain to take in the muslim brotherhood after they had been exiled from egypt by nasser ..... that philby legacy still has america in its thrall despite the MB's barbaric treatment of girls and women ..... yes, kim philby was a nasty piece of work, and this book soft pedals his story in a way that Littel's earlier book, "The Company" does not. In fact, The Company is a much better book with a much, much better narration.
It's hard to check for these types of things on audio, and I'm not enamored enough of this story to buy the paperback or take a trek to the library, so I hope some later reviewer will reveal the facts to be found in the actual pages of this work of Tana French fiction, not to mention the ?laziness/failure? of her editors to catch it. If I'm right about the big bad blooper, then my good opinion of this story is reduced by a full one-third. My initial rating would have been a 4.3, but if the blooper is true, that reduces it from 4.3 to 2.87. Don't know whether you'll think this arithmetic harsh, but I admit to resenting threads left dangling after having been started in the beginning of a tale for the obvious purpose of luring the reader to spend his/her precious free time and not so free money to find out the answer to the mystery that particular thread baits. To me, it amounts to false advertising and should not have been used in the official review of the tale on book covers and web pages. Of course, it's only false advertising if the beginning and ending of the tale reveal "information" that's contradicted somewhere in its middle.
I'm not going to create a spoiler by detailing a blooper that might possibly exist only in my mind, so let these two sentences, quoted from the official review, suffice to reveal the lure: "When the police arrive, they find only one of the children. He is gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours." That leads the reader to believe that the mystery of the missing children will be "solved" during the course of the story, but let the interview of one of the children's mothers (somewhere around the middle of the tale) suffice to elucidate my suspected author's/editor's blooper ..... I was planning to immediately read book two in the Dublin Murder Squad series, but this blooper almost caused me to change those plans due to the carnival barker nature of the unfulfilled promise; however, I'll place hope over scepticism and go on to read "The Likeness" in the hope that the rather major (in my opinion) blooper will prove to be a one off attributable to author immaturity. If it turns out I've been fooled twice, then that would seem to reveal a character flaw of either the author or her editors, a flaw that would convince me to avoid her fiction as too flawed for future bother.
Sometimes Scott Brick sounds too sing-song. Not this time. This time, Littell's prose provides the perfect stage for Brick's performance talents. Pleasant. Very pleasant. I'll probably listen to this one again!
This thing is just plain ugly. I know that human beings are often hypocritical, maybe even more often than not, but I really, really hope that the Swedish police are not the unethical thugs that some of them are portrayed in Misterioso. I hope that they are, instead, much closer to the portrayal by Henning Mankel in the Kurt Wallander series. There are several bloopers that indicate sloppy editing, but that's not the reason I'll never purchase another book by Arne Dahl, who is oddly preachy on a variety of controversial political issues, given the illegal and cruel activities that some of his police get up to, after which they are rehabilitated and welcomed back to their group of fellow officers as if their transgressions were all in the spirit of the "ends justifies the means" excuse, which I personally find repulsive, especially in "police procedurals."
The narrator isnt bad and does make the ordeal of listening to Misterioso (a romantic name for a dirty back alley experience) barely bearable. Still, the verbal constructs recorded for our listening displeasure are, as I said before, just plain ugly. I hesitate advising anyone to avoid this one like the plague and warning against wasting your credits. I can only say that I wish I had never wasted a credit on such an unpleasant experience and personally plan to avoid this author like the plague in the future. His world view is offensive and the opposite of entertaining. I truly appreciate Henning Mankel just that much more now and will read more of his episodes about the basic, underlying Swedish integrity that guides his main character, Wallander, instead.
This is the kind of detailed story that's almost impossible to make sense of in audio (as opposed to visual) format. By one hour into it, we've heard a minimum of 100 nouns: name after name of people, projects, geographic locations, publications, etc., etc., etc. Imagine how many names you'll hear by the end of the book! It's really not possible to visualize and keep distinct those multiple identities for the purpose of making sense in wider context. When you're reading, you can refer back to previous pages when contextual questions arise, but that's not feasible in the audio format. If you hope to come to any conclusion about this controversial topic, my recommendation would be to purchase the hard copy, instead. Otherwise, it's pretty much a jumble.
I've read enough about Henry VIII to know that one of the wives who ended up dead at his behest was Katherine Howard, but I didnt remember knowing why, so I was struck by the possibility of reading what it was to which she had confessed. Call me crazy, but for some reason I somehow expected to have that expectation gratified. But no. All I remember hearing was that another character in the story reads a piece of paper on which Howard's version of events had been written and that the person who reads it responded (at least to herself) that what was written there was simply not true. However, the contents of the confession (if that's what the paper contained) were not revealed so far as I can remember, having just finished the book. Maybe if I read the ending a second time . . .
Overall, it's a relatively lightweight story, relatively engagingly told, and very nicely narrated by Jane McDowell.
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