This book's narrator tends to sap the story of its power with her repetitive, very contrived sounding style of performance. She reads each sentence in the exact same sequence of intonation, over and over again. If I was musical I could literally chart the notes for you - the same 5 or 6, again and again, sentence after sentence. Very tiring to listen to. I suppose some may find this sing-song and comforting, or compelling in some way; but for me, it just blankets the book's rich words with a monochrome, monotonous feel.
I've read this book twice before on paper, and it's one of Tanith Lee's best. I highly recommend the entire Flat Earth series from her. Definitely read it in actual book form if you can, though, to better hear the varied voices of each character: the audiobook performance may drown these out for you.
A beautiful book - so much more amazing than any description or synopsis I've read.
Ruby Dee gives a perfection narration.
Savannah Knoop (the face of JT Leroy) turns out to be a fascinating young woman. Fluent in Thai, self-sufficient, accomplished student of capoeira, grassroots fashion designer and genderqueer - in many ways, she strikes me as a lot more interesting than Laura Alpert (the literary and aural voice of JT Leroy).
Sadly, the narration is awful. The reader is clearly trying to affect a teenager's voice, but it comes off as babyish and naive, more like a 12 year old's than a 19 year old's; and Savannah Knoop's written voice is much more intelligent than that. This is definitely a book I'd recommend reading in print; but if that's not an option for you, the audiobook is still worth a listen for the content alone.
4 stars for the book
1 star for narration
I'm a huge fan of over-the-top when it's gorgeous and shocking and pays for its literary misdemeanors with raw beauty, but this book is little more than half-assed soap opera. I'd easily overlook all the implausibilities if the main character wasn't such so tiresome. Too bad too - there were decent moments and glints in the eyes of some characters. And the world absolutely needs more discussion and books written about the particular trauma he and his family went through, but it's better done elsewhere.
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