The monotone of the narrator's voice quickly drove me nuts, and the nasal quality of her tenor isn't one I find relaxing. She slurs some phrases, and I didn't catch some of the words spoken softly. Because I kept thinking about the voice, I had a very hard time focusing on the story itself.
Caroline, the main character, lives in San Francisco with "her girls," the three of them friends since their college days at Berkeley. At a housewarming party, they meet guys who went to Stanford. Imagine their surprise when they realize that Simon is the "wallbanger" who lives next door to Caroline, literally shaking the walls as he has raunchy sex with not one but three different women on successive nights. When she couldn't stand it anymore, she'd pounded on his door in the wee hours of the morning, telling him to quiet down... and he tells her that it's his right to do whatever he wants in the privacy of his house. He starts calling her "cockblocker" for interrupting his sex with woman number three. And, because he's a class act, he tells his two buddies all about the episode, referring to Caroline as "pink nightie girl."
I am not looking for deep philosophy when shopping for escapist reading. But Berkeley, Stanford... and really? Caroline's fabulous career is to make things pretty. She admires her boss because she's soooooo beautiful, and her super successful boss spends time prying for the latest gossip about "wallbanger."
Because, wouldn't you know, that Simon is a sweet guy.
And knowing that he's banging the hell out of three other women is obviously no obstacle to obsessing about his body parts and screaming his name in her wet dreams, which he of course hears and smirks about.
Doesn't this sound like an empowered, happily ever after scenario?
The bar is set pretty low when the book is about giggling, twirling a strand of hair on your finger, looking down at your pretty bubble-gum pink toenail polish. Using slang that's outdated, and --ooo! texting!
Seriously, high school romances have more substance than this. I figured by Chapter Seven something would develop in terms of a plot line, but the story is about prude with a cat lusting helplessly for a womanizer. A formulaic reform of the rake isn't enough dramatic tension to me interested. I wish I could get a refund the four hours I spent listening before giving up. Grade: F.
The actor works mostly with American voices in this novel, and it's easy enough listening to Howard and Elsa. However, as with the other novels by Sparks, the Scottish vampires appear in the narrative from time to time. This is when I gritted my teeth and became annoyed that the producers chose Zanzarella. She speaks their voices in an Irish accent, which is also Celtic and should be close enough, right? But if you've spent time in the countries, you can hear the differences pretty easily. It'd be like saying that an accent from the deep South is close enough to pass for Australian. There's some similarity, maybe, but the cadence is definitely different. Whenever Zanzarella switched to a Scottish vampire, I kept telling myself, "Imagine that they're Irish. That's no big deal. Irish vampires." It was distracting. The surfer dude voices of Howard's teenage nephews were so hammy (I thought) that it was hard to connect with them... a little more subtlety would go a long way.
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