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The first few weeks of Adrian's diary may start out a little slowly. Don't stop reading, because soon you won't stop laughing. This is one of those rare books that made me laugh so hard, people kept asking me what I was listening to.
Adrian Mole writes himself an impressive list of New Year's resolutions, and he tries painfully hard to keep them. Unfortunately, his parents' marriage is crumbling, his best friend has gone punk, his dog keeps getting sick, and the BBC won't publish his poems. Then a distractingly pretty girl comes to school...
When I read Bridget Jones's Diary, I kept thinking how much it reminded me of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole. Both characters are desperately trying to be better people, to be taken seriously by the people around them, yet they continually land themselves in the most outrageous and ridiculous situations. Both are plagued by embarrassing parents, overly dramatic friends, money problems, and personal disappointments. Still, both Adrian and Bridget make us laugh over and over again. They say and do and think all the same things we do, but are too embarrassed to admit. If we don't recognize ourselves in Adrian, we certainly want him for a friend.
I particularly enjoyed Nicholas Barnes' narration. It takes a careful balance to portray how seriously Adrian takes himself and still show how hilarious the situations around him are.
About a Boy is a warm and witty story about what people do when faced with a life they find unacceptable. Will has charm, money, and cool, but his life has begun to feel meaningless. Fiona struggles with the loneliness of being a single mother. Fiona's son Marcus just wants the bullies to leave him alone and for his mother to stop crying. When a summer outing ends in near tragedy, Will and Marcus begin to forge bonds that will reshape all of their lives for the better, through some of the most embarrassing and awkward ways imaginable. This book is NOT a romance, and it is all the better for it. Painful and delicate topics are handled with warmth and humor. The characters are flawed, but not irredeemable. It is a joy to see them stretch and grow to become the people they want to be, and I whole-heartedly support the premise that we all need a community of caring friends to thrive.
At the age of nineteen, Anne fell in love with the handsome and dashing Captain Wentworth. She was young, beautiful, and aristocratic. He had no money, no position, and no family of consequence. After she is persuaded to reject his proposal, their fortunes change. Eight years later Captain Wentworth returns, as handsome and charming as ever, with a great fortune earned from a glorious military career. Anne, now considered a spinster, must watch as every marriageable woman competes for Captain Wentworth's attention and affection.
I love this book for so many reasons, but I'll restrict myself to two. Jane Austen, with her quick wit and keen observations, depicts with excruciating detail "the death of a thousand cuts." The supporting characters, whether well-meaning or completely self-absorbed, can't seem to act or speak without inflicting pain and mortification on our heroine. It seems like Anne cannot walk across a room without being insulted, overlooked, or injured in a dozen petty ways. But don't get the idea that Anne is one of those over-sensitive, weepy, self-pitying types. Quite the reverse! Her intelligence, fortitude, grace, considerateness, practicality, and exceptional character make the commonplace follies of everyone else seem all the more ridiculous.
Another reason I love this book is that by today's standards it is so delicate and subtle, and it's main characters have integrity. If you are like me, and can't abide the lurid, self-aggrandizing behavior that passes as entertainment these days, then this book will be food for your soul.
I've never read a book that more persuasively showed that we are never too old, settled, broken, or drained to start a new chapter in life, that we can always become better versions of ourselves, or reinvent ourselves entirely. This book very gently handles some controversial topics, and shows how a warm heart, an open mind, and determination can nearly always find a solution, or become the solution. One of the most clear-eyed books about human frailty I've ever encountered, yet, by far, the most hopeful.
When faced with trauma and disillusionment, these characters find ways to rise, almost phoenix-like, from the ashes of their former selves. Because of this, there were multiple times when I thought, "This would make a good ending here." And the story continued... Then another seemingly good ending came, and the story continued... And on it went. Every reinvention is a marvelous story in itself, but strung together, they are breathtaking.
As long as we are breathing, we are not done yet.
It's really wonderful to see Georgie's mind and character filling out. One of the few drawbacks to this delightful series has been that Georgie has always had plenty of ideas, but never seems to piece it together. She's much more confident now, stands her ground far better, and doesn't need rescuing quite as often. She's developing a keener sense of observation, and shrewder insight into the people around her.
That said, this is still all good fun. All the charm, wit, and sweetness that make us like Georgie so well are still there, and the "eccentricities" of the royals still make us ordinary folk roll our eyes. If I put the series in order by my favorites, this would fall in the middle. But it is by far one of my favorite series, especially when I want a light escape from more serious topics. Georgie always makes me smile.
Sideways ranks far better than average. For a book that focuses on such wanton abandon, it is remarkably thought provoking. I found myself regularly pausing to meditate on the characters and their moral quagmires.
I was most interested in the unshakeable bond of friendship between Jack and Miles. Whenever I would begin to think that one was just using the other, some jaw-dropping act of kinship would pass between them. I was also intrigued by Miles' need to self-destruct whenever he felt he was becoming too amoral. I could have passed on all the wine-tasting jargon, but it was a great vehicle for the story. What better metaphor for the book than raising the enjoyment of intoxication to an art form?
He breathes real life into Jack and Miles making their desperation palpable.
I really can't explain why I bought the book, since I did not like the movie. However, I'm glad I did listen to it. I found the character development and ending supremely satisfying. I ended up really loving these louts. Not to mention how crazy funny they are.
Surprising, original, side-splitting.
I'd say this falls somewhere between the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series and the Naked Gun movies, but there's a far more successful plot to hang the outrageous satire on in The Android's Dream.
I've listened to Agent to the Stars, also by Scalzi, and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Wil Wheaton did a fabulous job narrating each of them. He voices numerous characters believably, and has great comic timing. I've started downloading books he's narrated by other authors simply because I enjoyed his performances so much.
Wow, did this book make me laugh! I'd been reading some serious topics, and this book was medicine for my soul. I've listened to it twice in the last month.
I can't give any better praise than the book was so enjoyable, I went on to buy more books from both the author and narrator. More please!
Caring, idealistic, and clueless
It reminds me a lot of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Age 13 3/4. Both characters are struggling to have a decent love relationship, and are constantly caught in outrageous situations brought on by their friends, family, and own poor judgement. They both long to be taken seriously, but are absolutely clueless. Since both have good hearts we keep hoping for their happiness, even while laughing at their misadventures.
Bridget is definitely my favorite character.
The book did make me laugh a lot. Some of the situations Bridget gets herself in are way over the top, but it still is very entertaining.
Because some of the situations are so far fetched, it makes this book just a little less enjoyable than the first. Still I've listened to it more than once, and will undoubtedly do so again.
I've read a number of the Monsieur Pamplemousse mysteries, and have found them to be fun, witty, and farcical. But I felt like this one never really took off. The characters are the same lovable creatures. Once again, Pamplemousse must rescue his boss from a disaster of his own making. All of the elements are there, but the story never really gels this time. If you are a first-time reader of this series, I'd suggest starting with a different book. Bill Wallis did a fine job of narration as he has done on the previous books.
I sincerely hope that Audible is able to add some of the earlier books in this series. They are highly entertaining. I worry that this one might put listeners off of an otherwise entertaining series.
I've listened to hundreds of audiobooks, and lean heavily toward classic literature and fantasy epics. I got this book almost by accident, and have discovered a series I will enjoy for a long time to come. This book is over the top. Way over the top. I don't know how it will stand up over time, but it is one of the most fun and entertaining stories I've encountered in a very long time.
Atticus, who is over 2000 years old but looks like a college student, has acquired a lot of knowledge over the centuries, and the mix of references to mythology, ancient culture, Shakespeare, more recent history, and arena rock is a little mind-bending. But by far the best story element is Oberon. Atticus owns an Irish wolfhound named Oberon. He shares a mental link with Atticus, and is simultaneously a profoundly innocent, wise-cracking, and cunningly mischievous character. His running comments provide more than comic relief. They may be the best part of the book. Perhaps he should have been named Puck rather than Oberon.
Author Kevin Hearne engaged my curiosity so much, that I've gone looking for his other work, and will dive right in to his other books. As to the narration, Luke Daniels is simply amazing. He adds another wonderful level of enjoyment to the audiobook experience. And I will be exploring other books he has narrated as well.
Adrian's parents have reconciled, but he is still obsessed with Pandora and writing for the BBC. Adrian's life is about to turn upside down, but he sails on naively unaware of major events happening around him. Much of the book concerns his mother's pregnancy and delivery, and the settling in of Adrian's new sister. This made me laugh so hard, I had to stop listening while driving. I couldn't see through the tears.
Maybe it's because the characters are more familiar, but I thought this book was funnier than the first. Adrian's diary entries present huge warning flags of trouble ahead, and much of the fun is seeing it come crashing in. I can't wait to get to the next book.
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