I'm from Iowa and I really wanted to like this one. Interesting subject(s) but it's not a riveting read. I struggled to find a beginning a middle and and end. When it was over I felt I had only read a first draft, I think the editor failed on this one. Instead of a book, I heard several essays, about a small town, about meth, about the drug trade but in the end, they were not tied together in a meaningful way. To make matters worse the essays were not well realized either. Each one had a few interesting pages but there is not enough to each to be compelling. What was the point about writing a whole book about methland? There's a book there but this wasn't quite it.
The writing in this book is superlatively bad. Was there an editor who read this? I don't think so. An English teacher would have rejected this by the first chapter. Words like trite, and every synonym you can use for trite will dance through your head as you read this thing: cliche' commonplace, hack, tired, stale, stereotyped, boilerplate. In the end just plain lazy and unimaginative descriptions. Several characters are described as shy but well dressed. When I read, "He shot him to death several times." I wondered how bad can this thing get?
Turns out pretty bad.
The narration is just ok. I lost faith in the narrator. He should have stopped at several points and said "Are you kidding me?" and then continued. But he plodded through it with a deadpan resolve. I plodded through all it the way to the end too. I suppose the story is interesting, it's just done very awkwardly. Bring your mental highlighter so you can remember the low points - amazing.
Sip swirl and breath. Repeat. Recharge your soul with this as from a glass dark and deep with all the beautiful truths and failures of being human.
You won't be told what this book is about until the last hour. And then when you are told, it is definitely not the spine tingling revelation, a la Sixth Sense, you expect but rather a big let down. It turns out to be a very long tedious way to go for a very unsatisfying end. The plot device of the long ominous undertone leading up to a 'great reveal' simply does not work. Implausible, tedious and unsatisfying. Pass.
This book is waiting for you as the last of the Revelation Space series. Worth the wait to get to this one - it ties the series together nicely. Again, well written and well narrated.
I wish I had read this one before his others. It explains the references from his other books and would have made the whole series much easier to enjoy.
I'm 56. My teen decade was the 70's. So this book to me was a very long list of 1980's references I did not recognize. Unending and unfamiliar lists of video games, TV shows and characters that just aren't part of the lexicon of my memory from that time.
There is a lot of fantasy in the book that I'm not a fan of. I prefer more plausibility and reason to fiction. Additionally, there were some clumsy plot devices that spoiled the dramatic tension in the story. Like the late introduction of a hermit benefactor who has private jets, (yes plural), to come whisk away the four protagonists to his Secret Enclave away from the Bad Guys. Ok.....
Wil Wheaton does a great job.
I savored every moment of this book. Yes, it's long, but you are listening to the work a master craftsman and it's read to you by Joe Barrett who absolutely nails it. It is also about religion and predestination and I am not at all a religious person. But the story is a great examination on religion or what makes us religious. I was at first put off by the opening chapter and the narrator's easy familiarity with his religion. But while the story at first sounds like an endorsement on religion it reveals itself otherwise as the many elements of the characters and the story unfold. There is a great undercurrent of humor and irony though out this religious examination that made the story compelling to me.
In listening to John Irving's interview at the end, he says his premise for writing the book was to ask, "What would it take to believe in God? What would you have to witness before you could be a believer?" The character of Owen Meany and his story challenge us with that premise. Enjoy the ride.
You've been warned. This is idiot fiction for unsophisticated readers. I am baffled at all the good reviews. Yes, there are a lot of Audible listeners who liked this book but there are also a lot of people who think Rossane Bar and Larry the Cable guy are great entertainment. If you exercise any level of taste or discretion in fiction than you deserve much better for your credit.
This is a book with an alternate universe premise. That premise is a wild, suspend all reasonable disbelief, diversion in an otherwise B level young adult fiction novel. I finished it wondering what universe I'm living in where there are so many people who've rated this drek so highly.
The last review I had of our solar system was in grade school in the 1960's so this lesson was way overdue for me. This simple review of our neighborhood is what we know about our solar system today, and it's a lot more than we knew 50 years ago. So I was left thinking how exciting it will be to see what's revealed in the next 50 years. Well worth the credit to listen to this one.
You'll need patience for this one. It's a very long read and a difficult plot to follow. I kept asking, "So who's doing what to whom and why, and who are the good guys or the bad guys?" It wasn't until the end of last chapter of the novel that I finally understood the motivation to what had gone on previously. That didn't seem fair to me.
So is this a bad book? It is bad in that the story is not compelling at any point until the end. It's a loooong time waiting for it all to come together. If I were the editor I would have said, "Alistair, you've got a great story here, but you need to let the reader know more of what it is before the end of the book!". The last chapter finally reveals what the book was all about, but it left me feeling like I'd read an awful lot of exposition that had not enough to do with the most intriguing story elements.
John Lee: excellent. I question the criticism of him in other reviews. Most of the book is dialogue between at least four characters or more at once with cut scenes to four other characters at once and then back again. Crazy. Yet he pulls it off. The flaw is in the over complexity of the writing.
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