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Melissa

MELlSSA

COLUMBIA, SC, United States | Member Since 2010

3
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 4 reviews
  • 4 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2014
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  • The Sense of an Ending: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Julian Barnes
    • Narrated By Richard Morant
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (754)
    Performance
    (637)
    Story
    (640)

    Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumor, and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life. Now Tony is retired. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove.

    Chris Reich says: "Stunning. I'm Guilty. Are You?"
    "Great reading and excellent book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, I'll say this review is chock full of spoilers, so if you haven't read the book yet, don't read this. Part of the beauty of the book is letting it unfold as it happens, so don't ruin that for yourself.

    When I first started this book, it feel pretentious and trite to me because of the predictable feeling, very Tobias Wolff's Old -School, of the (perhaps unrealistic) uber-literate school boys who compete to see who can be the smartest. But then, Barnes presents the boys as they grow up and we see the rest of Tony's (oh, how he'd hate that bit of familiarity, wouldn't he?) story.

    Story is so important to this book. It seems the living (almost breathing) embodiment of Joan Didion's idea that "we tell ourselves stories in order to live." How true that statement is for Tony, who lives his life based on how he sees and how he presents his story, complete with his visions and revisions (can great reviewers steal too, Eliot?). What's most interesting about Tony's story is that we really only know HIS story. There are no magical devices or unrealistic events that unfold so that we can know it all; we only know what Tony would know, even as unsatisfying as that may feel at first.

    We don't really have an ending, just a sense of an ending, as the title tells us. But, isn't that life? We ourselves do not find it all out. There are stories that exist that we'll never know, yet we carry on. And, isn't that Margaret's point, when she tells the story about the nanny and the diary? Sometimes we seek to know it all, to find out the ending, we end up learning things that we'd be better off not knowing. Yet, from Adrienne's choices, we see that trying to create your own perfect ending, with his philosophically justified suicide(which seemed by the end to be as silly as the boys saying things are "philosophically self-evident"). Adrienne's choice to commit suicide and create this ending is undermined by his actions with Veronica's mother (Veronica who ended up quite damaged after all, almost all because of her interaction with Tony). Through his son, Adrienne's life and story continue on, just as our lives never really end, but live on in some way, however indirect.

    The other interesting part of the book is the way history is presented. We often think of history as the BIG events where "something happens" either before, during, after, or because of times of "great unrest." Barnes shows history as personal. And, in this personal account, we see how fragmented, revised, changeable and malleable history can be, even at a personal and perhaps somewhat insignificant level. If this is what happens to our own histories, then how much more complex and complicated is our presentation of larger and more influential historical events?

    I loved almost all of the 4 hours and 38 minutes of this book, except for a bit of the masturbation stuff. Maybe I'm just being a prude, but other than showing just how "sex hungry" (a quote from the book's description) Tony was as a young man, some of it just felt well, masturbatory, with no real significance to the book.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Flame Alphabet

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Ben Marcus
    • Narrated By Andy Paris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (44)

    In The Flame Alphabet, language is toxic to everyone but children. For adults this means no speaking, no reading, no writing, no listening—at least not without severe allergic reaction, depression or crippling pain.

    Nate says: "A Brilliant Concept, Executed to Perfection"
    "Great, if confusing, story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't mean that this story was confusing, just for the sake of confusion. It's rather the novel kept me in a constant state of confusion about how I felt about the narrator, the mother, the daughter, and the situation itself. I spent most of the book wondering how the narrator was going to survive and make it through the spread of the language virus, while also hoping that perhaps he'd die and I'd finally be able to hear the daughter or the mother's side of things. Given the theme of the book, I think this response is the exact one that Marcus intended for us.

    I've read other reviews that didn't like the beauty of the language. I did. And, I enjoyed the dark, sick humor that would occur at the most unexpected of places.

    Overall, I'm glad that I read this book and it makes me want to know more of Marcus and his work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Wrinkle in Time

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Madeleine L'Engle
    • Narrated By Hope Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (462)
    Performance
    (407)
    Story
    (408)

    Meg Murray, her little brother Charles Wallace, and their mother are having a midnight snack on a dark and stormy night when an unearthly stranger appears at their door. He claims to have been blown off course, and goes on to tell them that there is such a thing as a "tesseract," which, if you didn't know, is a wrinkle in time. Meg's father had been experimenting with time-travel when he suddenly disappeared. Will Meg, Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin outwit the forces of evil as they search through space for their father?

    Patricia says: "Thank You for a New Narrator"
    "One of my favorite books of all time; great readin"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've loved A Wrinkle in Time since I was a child. This narration of the book is quite refreshing. While there was a certain charm to listening to L'Engle narrate her own story, Hope Davis breathes a certain nuance and understanding to the story that only a talented narrator can add. Davis's interpretation of Mrs. Which (the hardest character to narrate, I think) was quite good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Gregory Maguire
    • Narrated By John McDonough
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4231)
    Performance
    (1922)
    Story
    (1946)

    Heralded as an instant classic of fantasy literature, Maguire has written a wonderfully imaginative retelling of The Wizard of Oz told from the Wicked Witch's point of view. More than just a fairy tale for adults, Wicked is a meditation on the nature of good and evil.

    Suzn F says: "I was not sure for a while then......."
    "Great Reading!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read this book many times before and it was a pleasure hearing it read aloud to me. I heard many details that I had missed in earlier readings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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