I listened to this in addition to reading the book in preparation for a book review. I was surprised at how sarcastic the narration came across in this audio version. It gave me a completely different view of the author and I can't help wondering what the book would have felt like if the author had preformed the audio herself and from which perspective she would present herself. As far as the writing went I appreciated the author's ability to share the diverse personalities, flaws and all, of her subjects and still present a friendly view of them. I learned a huge amount about florida, orchids, smuggling and the people attracted to all three. With so much detail to cover and many tangents to intigrate into the book Orlean's writing style is well suited to the material. The result is a very human view of a odd microcosim within our human family.
This was so off track for me I wish I could get my money back. This is the kind of ethnic trash that immigrants like my family find so very offensive. Can't relate- like my aunt has said - its such a shame someone is making money off such vulgarity. Proves we are not all alike. Very good book for people that believe ugliness in itself is profound. I would not be surprised, on top of it all, to find out someone got a grant to write this. What irony!
I have heard OSCard believes this may be his favorite child. He has great taste. Wow is this story weird and terrific! Best for adults/older teens because of the relationship stuff. Narration is perfect. Sound quality clear and beautiful. I'd give it a five star but the story ends! Such a bummer, what was he thinking ? It should keep going and going!
Sorry: ridiculous storyline, predictable, shallow trying to be profound. People with real lives will listen to this and shake their heads. Can not express how much of a waste this book was. I had to read this for a book review club, thought I might have to shoot myself, I could feel my brain cells dying with the turning of every page. I thought the characters some of the most lame and pathetic personalities ever! With so many terrific books out there !? This book is embarrassing, oh my goodness(!) don't waste your time!!
I waited soooo long for this book to be revived since it went out of print. Good book for small kids (under 10). The narration however , I'm sorry, is: hideous. Ruined the audio for me. Ridiculous voice for the phoenix and read by the author. Really! So obnoxious and over-done. Such a shame.
If you can stand the goofy voice quality of a creature that is supposed to be awe inspiring your kids will have fun with the story (think stuck-up arrogant Barney), but honestly I would suggest YOU read this book to your child or THEY read it for themselves.
Funny that as a kid I had more respect for a lead character in the book than the author shows himself. Quite a let down.
Can a book about a Saint be described as cute? This was a "nice" read, in a sweet-not-quite-syrupy tone. Simple and one dimensional. It had a quality of being a compilation of small neat church approved stories strung together in response to a class assignment. It is written (and to my tastes narrated) in rather drab style, lacking strength and any sort of literary passion.
Difficult for me to finish because after many pauses I couldn't remember if I had finished it. Perhaps we don't have much information to choose from about Francis of Assisi? That seems impossible. A man such as he was, to have had such an impact on history, lead me to imagine that a biography of St. Francis would come close to revelation. I was expecting more. I don't have a significantly enriched idea of who he was, now, after completing the book, than before I started.
I'd classify this as an overview. It wasn't a complete waste of time but got close in places.
I highly recommend you listen to the sample of this book to make up your mind about the narrater before you finalize your purchase.
This was really fun. Quick painless listen, I listened to it all the way through without a stop. Enjoyed the emotion, and point of view. Believably sincere and endearing narrator. Not overly vulgar story of teenage years. Happily not a memoir written by someone steeped in victim mode. I've recommended this many times in the month after listening to it.
Do you enjoy Jules Verne? You will like this. Tim Curry brings life to a book that without him can feel overwritten and obviously outdated. What a joy to listen to Curry, I think he could read the phone book and make it a seductive best seller. I wish we had more from him. Great pick to narrate this book!
I tried. Can't find much to dislike about it and not much to love. I didn't have any attachment, couldn't make myself keep with it. I don't see how this has made a mark, maybe it's simply on trend? I thought the zombie inserts were out of place and undeveloped in such a way they seemed like inserts. Fell flat for me. I found myself thinking, "Ho-hum , lets see what else is in my library"
The sound quality is great, the narration is clear and professional. Oddly there is a dreamy sentimental quality about the production ( I mean this in a good way), so much of the book feels friendly and informative like listening to a favorite clear minded Aunt filling you in on the missing pieces of handed down family stories. Finally, you feel like you have the whole picture given to you by one who knows, someone who was there - no more rumors! Probably not the best book to listen too if you are missed some important hours of sleep, the narrator's voice is so calm and soothing you may very well find yourself studying the undersides of your eyelids.
The prelude to the book is read by the author which, personally, I appreciate. It is surprising how much personal and reflective material has been out there simply waiting for J.Conant to collect and organize. She's done a good job of presenting information that could easily be boring. In a straight forward way she uses everyday details and reflections found in seemingly mundane sources of scientists, office workers, and their family members involved in this enormous enterprise in such a way that it's easy to feel like I would recognize 1950's Los Alamos if I stumbled on it through a time warp.
I especially enjoyed the tidbits that described what outsiders thought about this mysterious place, and descriptions of the conditions within the community. Good book. Balanced writing of a touchy subject. This is a book about people and places not of political positioning or the mechanical creation of the bomb. Easily recommendable.
First : The narrator makes this book, she is terrific. The sound quality is great. Production value is wonderful. The story though, is drawn out.
I feel the author was doing this to build suspense but the climax is not climatic, its lame, and the jumping back to the real life time of the narration is dull because I can't find any reason to care or identify with the main character. She seems almost unlikable and a unfocused personality type. Not many in the story strike me as likable or interesting let alone intriguing.
Many of the ensemble seem to be caricatures, they are not constant, or maybe the better word is integrated, they seem kind-of, well, disingenuous. The writing is ok. There are parcels of the whole that stand out. However very shortly after I finished the book, the story line was already fading into a myriad of diverse stories that might have a similar plot or sub-plot or narrative style ( Downton abbey, The Lamorna Wink, Remains of the Day, Thirteenth tale etc etc) or historic template etc. The House at Riverton can't hold it's own. It sort-of disassembled for me. Simply not unique enough for me to remember and rather too ho hum to recommend.
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