Middletown, MD, United States
Upon reflection, it is easy to understand why this book was written about Oprah -- everyone knows her. If someone wrote a book on, say, my roots, I'm sure it wouldn't go very far. But what used to make Oprah interesting now makes her ordinary. She's just another rich person who has traded the God she so loved for the "spiritual," read: money. It's sad really, because what an opportunity she was given.
Dr. Gates, the author, is wonderful, and I can't get enough of him. A smart, compassionate, fair man and I wish him much success with this, and other, titles.
First, if anyone has read some of my reviews, I have a real "thing" about narrators. As I've said before, a great narrator can save a mediocre book, but a mediocre narrator cannot save a great book. Cassandra Campell has narrated dozens of books, (probably hundreds) and her voice is so clear and unaffected that one finds oneself completely immersed in the story, not the reader. (Scott Brick is another such narrator.) So, five stars for the narrator.
On to the story. Abigail Adams is an oft discussed First Lady. One reason is because she left copious letters by which to remember her. The other reason is that she apparently had a little something to say. She was wise, and she was smart. She very often chafed at the role in which society placed her and other women during her time in history. "Remember the ladies," is a quote she's remembered for and the fact that her husband, John Adams, made light of the request reinforces that women had a long, long way to go.
There is a distinct feeling that as time went on, both Adams were cognizant that others may read their correspondence on a world stage. There are some who believe that John Adams' tendency towards envy and jealousy mellowed in time. I disagree, and feel that he because more aware of the impression these traits would leave on generations to come.
It's a good story, really. Personally, I think if one has a true interest in the Adams "machine," one ought to read and/or listen to "John Adams," "The First Family," then "Abigail Adams," and then "John Adams" again.
I happen to be a real James Herriott fan and I suppose I thought, unfairly, that I was going to hear a modern day version of his writing. But, of course, times have changed and it could not be quite the same endearing and folksy writing. That said, Dr Trout's work is fascinating and he is a very kind man. A real animal lover, he clearly favors dogs, which makes him top notch in my book!
Narrator Simon Vance is one of my favorites -- one of his most excellent narrations is Charles Dickens' David Copperfield! And as any audiobook aficionado knows, the narrator quite literally makes or breaks the reading. A terrific narrator can save a mediocre book, but a mediocre narrator cannot save a terrific book.
First things first: Max McLean is the first and only person I've ever thought could hold me rapt with attention simply by reading a phone book. What a talent and what a wonderful way he shares it.
A classic is never a class by accident. The Pilgrim's Progress is a classic, of course, and for good reason. It is difficult to explain the beauty of its context and ethereal flow. A beautiful story whose complexity seems almost impossible to have truly been written without Divine intervention. (Before anyone rolls their eyes, please, listen to it and then, if you still can, roll your eyes.)
I am profoundly grateful to have found this book and profoundly ashamed that it took me nearly 54 years to do so.
May I also suggest that anyone reading this review also acquire Max McLean's reading of the Holy Bible. It changes everything.
On the one hand, I needed no convincing as I have always believed there to be a consciousness of spirit after the death of one's body/shell. On the other hand, though, there were enough "holes" in the narrative to allow some of my conviction to leak out.
In the end, I am convinced of Dr Alexander's Proof of Heaven and that he experienced what he says he did. The cause of that, though, is a little more murky to me than it was before.
I envy Dr Alexander his after-death experience, as harrowing as his illness was. And coming out to the medical community about it could not have been an easy thing to do. This alone leads me to believe him all the more.
Interesting to listen to, and hopeful too.
I'm glad I heard the book before seeing the movie. Had it been the other way round, I doubt I would have bothered. I left the theatre saying," yeah, but what about..."
The performances by several readers could be a bit confusing at first but it became easier to stay with it as the book progressed. All involved did a great job.
Overall, I enjoyed it. The book is way better than the movie.
I thought I would "enjoy" this book more, thinking it was more along the lines of "Journey Into Darkness," but this one lacked the punch. The examples used were rather thinly spread. Heck, I could give more examples just from my in-laws' side of the family!
I always enjoy the compelling reads of Shelly Frasier, who is my favorite female narrator.
Overall, I kinda wish I'd saved my credit for something with a bit more bite. I was bored and that almost never happens.
My own personal pet peeve, I guess, is when someone says "Calvary" when speaking militarily. Calvary is where Christ died. Cavalry is the troops.
The narrator used the word erroneously through the entire book, which about drove me nuts! Surprising, too, that this wasn't caught on edit.
Otherwise, I liked it. It was fine -- easy to listen to and kinda fun. No real earthshaking revealations but that was fine. It was especially fun because it was written before the engagement so we knew how things would work out somewhat.
The narrator seemed to be striving for a bit of sn "upper crust" accent which didn't particularly work, nor was it necessary. Her voice was perfectly fine.
I absolutely adored A Girl Named Zippy. And the author as narrator perfectly matched the girl. Unfortunately, this book just kind of drops off the cliff. It just never quite... delivers. It was almost as if the author had something to say but either couldn't, or wouldn't. Whatever it was, it was a very unsatisfying read. The whole point of a memoir is to bare one's soul, such as it is -- anything less is just another story. A real shame, but she is such a talented author, I cannot wait until her next book -- which I will surely "read."
What comes through most in this lengthy and well-researched book, is that the author really doesn't like Mrs. Lincoln very much. Apparently, few did. I had no idea the trials and embarrassments that this kind man endured as he led his country into war.
Very, very interesting and compelling. Well worth your time.
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