I usually enjoy books that span a lifetime, or at least a long time, but this was the exception. Instead of the story becoming rich with history as the book went one, it just became painful. I wanted to bonk both of the main characters over the head during most of the book, but held on thinking surely they would mature. Unfortunately they didn't.
Despite the story falling short, some of the writing was quite well done and humorous. The narration was very good and is what saved the book from being put out to pasture before its completion.
Loved everything about books 1-3. Book 4 is painful. The characters and the storylines interest me very little. I painstakingly listened to details that seemed to go nowhere. When it did circle around to a few of my favorite characters Roy Dotrice managed to take the enjoyment out of that.
I really doubted it was actually Dotrice that was reading and went back to check more than once. With so many characters I can fully understanding slipping on some of the accents of the minor characters, but totally botching the major ones is unforgivable. Not only was he completely off on several of their accents, he mispronounced their names!!! Did he not review his prior work before doing this book? Was he drunk? In a hurry? Did he think no one was listening?
I almost feel bad saying these things because I can’t help but wonder if he had stroke or other brain injury that would explain the drastic change. No matter what the case I fear I cannot forgive him for Arya…. why on earth did he transform this young, feisty, girl into a 95 year old witch? I loved Arya and now listening to her is like fingers on a chalkboard.
Not my usual type of book, so I was surprised when I enjoyed it so much. Didn't want to put it down (turn it off). The narrator did a good job. Didn't like the idea that she sounded much older than main character telling the story, but she grew on me quickly.
I tried to read this book many years ago and just couldn't get into it. Since it is my fathers favorite book, I thought I would try again listening to it and see if that worked... it did! It is absurd and obnoxious at times, and I couldn't see what the appeal was at first. Once I realized it was not like anything else I had ever read and stopped trying to figure it out, it came to me. My father feels it is one of the best books that describes New Orleans French Quarter in the 1960's. He also has a satirical sense of humor that is not everyones cup of tea.
Truly the pleasure is in both the writing and the narration. I even found myself replaying parts that were even funnier the 2nd time around. I was not a fan of the ending, but really the pleasure of this book is journey, not the arrival. Some books are not that different for me if I read them or listen to them. Listening to this one makes a world of difference. Barrett Whitener painted the accent and tone of each character that I never would have achieved by reading this book.
With such advanced communications in our world today it is amazing that an entire country can remain so secretive and sheltered from the rest of the world. While I had heard that North Korea was very isolated I had no idea the extent. Barbara Demick does an excellent job of illustrating how that manifests in the daily lives of North Koreans. This is the stuff you expect to read in history books... not the stuff you think is happening in our lifetime. Fascinating from the first chapter, I couldn't wait to find out what happened with each of the characters.
The narration took a bit to get used to, but as the book went on I appreciated her slow nature, especially with many of the names I was unfamiliar with and trying to keep straight. I also felt the rather monotone narration fit well with the monotonous oppression prevalent throughout the stories in the book.
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