This was remarkable in several ways. It is truly expansive in the extraordinary scope of the topic given the length of Springsteen's career and how prolific he is. It provides a very intimate portrait of what being around one of the most instrumental figures in modern music is. The time frame is also interested running from his birth to practically yesterday and I enjoyed listening to the progression of his sound from before I was born to events I witnessed personally or saw on TV. Additionally, although it is clear the author is a fan and likes his subject it avoid excess of adulation and hyperbole seen in some bios and likewise avoids the antagonism toward the subject some biographers get after spending years with their target and learning their flaws. Bruce is shown flaws and all and it appears quite honest. Carlin's access was quite extensive and I love the personally narrated afterword as he explains how he slowly got Bruce to agree to interview and contribute to the book.
There is some material missing. Details about his current marriage to Patti Scialfa is quite limited, affording more of a sketch or an afterthought than the more fleshed out understanding that a marriage of 18 years to such an intense and introspective man deserves. That being said, keeping such details at a respectful minimum may be exactly what it takes to achieve Springsteen's level of fame while maintaining a healthy 18 year marriage.
The narration, for me, was a true highlight. I'll admit, at first I found Bobb Cannivale's NY/NJ Italian accent a bit off-putting and distracting, I got over that in about 5 minutes and he more than redeemed himself the first time he including a Bruce phrase in the dialogue. The voices when he used quotations added a depth to the book and really made you feel part of the band. The Bruce voice is pitch perfect and really adds a humorous element in several portions to the story. While I have no idea what some of the other character's speaking voices, such as Jon Landau, etc really sound like, I bet they probably came out pretty close. No matter what, this is one instance where the audible book would far outstrip the print edition.
To Sum Up: this is likely to be my favorite read this year (and I gobble through 30+ credits a year). I am a Springsteen fan, but beyond that bias, the careful, meticulous analysis of an extraordinarily long and prolific career laying down well beyond 400 polished and completed songs could not have been told in a more riveting narrative.
I will start by saying I am a family doctor who also does urgent care and feel I am an expert on the common cold. It is one of my absolute favorite topics and I devote a fair amount of my professional time reading on it, learning about it, making money on it, etc. I was overjoyed to hear about this title.
Having listened to it on my way to work for several days I would have a few concerns
1. the narrator- I find her voice just a little to silly and doesn't always line up with the topic at hand. She can get very droney during certain passages in the book. She also mispronounces several medical terms which I find enormously frustrating since she is a professional narrator and it would not have been difficult to ask for help from the author or any MD on any of those terms
2. there a few factual mistakes in the book, I think her treatment of pseudoephedrine and afrin were too short in one of the most important sections of the book, and she should have been more detailed of the history of the crystal meth problem with pseudoephedrine
3. this is petty, but I found the historical quotes at the beginning of the chapters really cumbersome to listen to.
That being said, this was a fascinating review of all the recent research on the common cold, an entertaining insight into how the common cold is researched, a pretty good catalogue of all the current remedies, traditional and alternative. Some of the ways she described the immune systems that go in to the common cold have dramatically altered the way I explain the cold infection process to my patients and I will even recommend the book to some of my patients- although it is written on a pretty high technical reading level
all in all, I certainly recommend this book to doctors, and to anyone who finds the cold as fascinating as I do.
To begin with, the narration was horrible. I am a doctor and had looked forward to this book with great enthusiasm. However the narrator's dry, business-like narration sounded like the worst stereotype of a condescending paternalistic doctor one could imagine. But to make things worse he frequently and repeatedly mispronounced medical terms. How hard would it have been to make a list of terms he did not recognize and ask Groopman how to say them?
As far as the book goes, it was generally excellent, and I have found it very instrumental in guiding my own thinking and avoiding mistakes. There were some sections that were silly, for example there is a section in which his fellow temple congregant, a mother named Rachel, underwent an ordeal in which a child she adopted got very sick. He spent way too much time on this chapter and focused, nearly obsessively, on her religious reflections which did nothing to advance the points he was making.
At other times he was repetitious. For the most part, however, this was an exhilarating and a refreshing way to look at medical errors and medical decision making, and is getting the attention it more than deserves from medical circles.
This was a welcome book about two brothers I had learned about from the show and already liked. Stories were excellent, narrative about brothers and trouble they got in to and their "off the boat" lives were excellent. A near dealbreaker was the lack of grammatical contractions. The ghostwriter or editor clearly stuck to some silly "style" rule that appears to forbid the use of the words "can't" or "Don't" or "won't" in the first person narratives and instead used "do not" "will not", etc. It was very distracting- I am sure tough-as-rocks, hard working Alaskan fisherman do not talk like that. It would have helped if the bothers Hillstrand narrated instead of a pro, or if they had used different narrators for each of the brothers portions. So in short- excellent plot, poor writing
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