Not a bad book - but not a great book - just an okay book. I listened to this book on a whim because of the whimsical title. It started out strong - in spite of the fact that you need to get used to hearing everything introduced as a letter - and the multiple narrators do an outstanding job of making the story interesting. Over time, however, I grew tired of listening to one letter after another, and I also grew tired of the story. It is predictable and not that interesting. If you have time - its okay.
I will never think of blacks, the South, or race relations between whites and blacks in the same way. Wilkerson has done an outstanding job of bringing to life what it was like for blacks living in the South and what motivated millions of blacks to leave the South for the North, Northeast, and West over a period of decades starting around the time of WWI.
Her story closely follows three individuals, along with short stories of other people and her family, mixed in with a lot of sociological research. Although not a page turner, I was never bored and I learned so much about American History that I never knew well or understood at all. At its heart, this is a story about the impact of 400 years of slavery, abuse, oppression, and discrimination on a group of people. Wilkerson goes way beyond the sorrow, however, to focus on the strength, determination, and grit it took for blacks to survive and to make it out of the South. She is an excellent writer and she never sensationalizes the story nor does she lecture or sermonize.
This is the first time I have listened to Robin Miles narrate a story. She did a top notch job. Her Southern accents for men and women seemed spot on.
Young, in love, and sick with cancer. This is the story of Hazel and Gus - two adolescents with different types of cancer who meet in a support group. I was so ready to not like this book and I did not think I would have any trouble fending off the strong emotion and sentimentality that can accompany stories about young people dying. I was wrong on both accounts - I really liked this story and there were times when the story earned the strong emotions I felt.
But this isn't a story about dying - it is a story about being young and in love - and sick with cancer. The story doesn't focus on the cancer or dying, but doesn't hide these issues either. Equal parts thoughtful, touching, and funny, Green has created very credible characters going through extraordinary life circumstances.
Rudd does an excellent job. Her voice for Hazel is spot on - edgy, defensive, self-conscious, scared, sarcastic, and funny.
This book is very much worth the listen.
Benacquista can write! This is a well written story that introduces us to the "Blake" family living in Normandy, France. The Blakes are ordinary in every sense but one - they are in the witness protection program because Fred Blake was a Mafioso king pin who ratted out his peers and now must hide because the entire Cosa Nostra is looking for him.
The book seems like it is in three parts. Part one introduces us to each of the four Blakes and the FBI agents who must watch them. This section is interesting and funny as we get to know the characters and learn what life is like in France for a bunch of Newark, NJ, transplants. The Blake children, in particular, are well developed, quirky, and interesting. Part two is a closer look at life in the Cosa Nostra and the life that Fred lived before he testified. This part might be interesting to you if you like stories about the Mafia. The third part looks at the disintegration of the Blake family and how the past catches up with them. Considering how well developed and plausible everything had been before this section, it is very disappointing to have an ending that is not as carefully developed and that never has a credible ring.
Ballerini is an outstanding narrator. This is the second book I have listened to that he narrated (cf: The Beautiful Ruins). He is one of the best and reason alone to listen to this book.
Not a great story, but a good story set in pre-WWII Moscow. Although not a page turner, I never lost interest and I enjoyed the novel setting and cast - a police detective investigating a murder caught between warring factions of the secret police. Ryan does a good job of portraying life in pre-WWII Moscow and he creates a sense of tension while helping to illuminate what it was like to fear the state and its informers.
I was captivated by the picture on the cover and the brief blurb I read. Without any other info, I set about listening. Gaiman is a very good writer and an even better narrator - so it was easy to be captivated by the story telling - at least early on. I kept waiting for the story to become more interesting and to take some unexpected twist to keep me interested. It never did. Instead, by the end of the story, I developed a new appreciation for what it meant to write for a young audience and decided that it was no coincidence that the opening of the book was a quote was from Maurice Sendak. So - if you are interested in a contemporary children's story with magic, good, and evil, try this one. If you are looking for a more substantive story and you are not inclined to listen to children's stories, try something else.
NoViolet has created a distinctive voice for Darling - the child protagonist of this story who grows up over the course of the book. Her early life is spent in Africa - in a land never named - amid incredible desperation and poverty. There is no sermonizing, sentimentalizing, or editorializing about her predicament, however, and Darling is allowed to describe what is of interest to her in her own words. Meaning that when she is very young she focuses on things that a very young child would be interested in. At times, I was not so interested in what a child was seeing - but it was important to persevere because these early childhood experiences help to make sense of how she sees America after immigrating.
After moving to America, Darling becomes a thoughtful interpreter of what it means to be an African trying to grow up in America. Some of it is insightful, some of it funny, and some of it a sad indictment of life in America.
Robin Miles - the narrator - is reason enough to listen to this book. She is OUTSTANDING. She moves easily from child to adult, male to female, and African inflected to American street slang. Simply riveting narration!
I was attracted to this book because I have always loved perfume and fragrances and once thought of becoming a professional in the field. I had hoped that this book would allow me to vicariously enjoy the profession by learning more about the creation of a new scent.
While this book accomplishes some of these goals, it is important to know what you are getting into before trying to listen to this book. This is certainly a "behind the scenes look" at the profession, but the narrative is about the business of creating a new perfume and the personalities that drive that process - rather than celebrating fragrances, why people are so driven to use fragrances, and how fragrances have been used throughout history by people around the world.
My title says it all - if you are interested in contemporary China - this is worth a listen. Although the author is young, she is intelligent, insightful, and a good writer.
The book starts strong by helping the listener to understand the unprecedented changes sweeping China as millions move from the country to the city looking for work. In the process, everything changes: the villages are empty (especially of young girls), the city folk are not happy to be inundated by uncultured country folk, the immigrants have to create new lives and identities, and huge factory operations have to be maintained against a backdrop of untrained workers who are constantly leaving and returning to work.
Along the way, the reader learns more about what has happened in China over the last 150 years (think Boxer Rebellion and colonization; think warring factions within China; think of the brutal, self-inflicted wounds of Mao's rule) and how the latest migration is but one of many migrations over thousands of years for Chinese people - including the migration of the author's family to the US.
My biggest gripe about this book is that it is too long and repeatedly bogs down in the details of some of the characters it follows. She does best when she is looking at the big picture and helping to sort out trends.
An unexpected delight! A thoughtful story about a young housekeeper who goes to work for a medically retired mathematics professor whose short-term memory only lasts 80 minutes. Everyday she comes to work is the first time her employer has met her. Intelligent and sensitive, but not highly educated, the housekeeper comes to learn about his quirks and shortcomings, and develops a great appreciation for his intelligence and love of prime numbers. Her esteem for him only increases when he lovingly showers attention on her 10 year old son.
Along the way, the listener learns about number theory, baseball in Japan, the struggles of a single mother, and how one man's remarkable intelligence and sensitivity have survived a terrible accident. Told from the first person perspective of the housekeeper, this book is warm, honest, and interesting, with no sentimentality. The narration is perfect and Campbell does a great job of giving voice to the young housekeeper.
If you like David Sedaris, you won't be disappointed by his latest work. Quirky, funny, and self-effacing as always, Sedaris is more focused on the world around him than he is focused on himself or his family. There is still some of his trademark self-absorption and family analysis, but he seems to be slowly sorting out all of his self-loathing and lingering family resentment, and he now has energy and attention to devote to other topics. Interestingly, in terms of family analysis, he has turned his attention on his father and away from his mother.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.