I really wanted to like this book as it was recommended to me by a friend for whom it is a favorite. Unfortunately, I had to stop after reading a little more than half as I just couldn't stand it anymore.
Like some other reviewers, I found the writing to be juvenile. The dialog is neither believable nor interesting. Neither, for that matter, are the characters or their attraction. Having the main character constantly filled with (supposedly righteous) rage was tiresome. The rage/magic plot device did not work for me. The bad guys were so mustache-twirlingly evil as to feel like caricatures.
There is a lot of detail in inappropriate places. That is, places where it contributes no value and just drags things out. There is also a lot of very graphic detail when there's violence involved. I get it, you cut off his head. I don't need a two page description of the bloody stump.
Last but not least, I couldn't stand the narrator. His voice is very pleasant, but he's a drama queen. Every single word is fraught with meaning and urgency. Even getting on a horse is a matter of high drama. When the fate of the world hangs on every word, then nothing is meaningful. He executes the drama well, but a more balanced reading would have worked better for me.
Though there are some interesting factoids and bits of research in this book, the narrative is not tight enough. I enjoy "pop science" (as well as more serious works), but there was too much pop and not enough science in this book. The author rambles a bit and belabors his points. In the end, I didn't feel I'd learned very much.
The narrator was very poorly chosen for this book. He would probably be great for a fiction work as he has wide range of character voices. However, he read this book as if it was a drama, every phrase fraught with urgency or conspiracy. And the character voices felt really jarring in a serious book. French accent for the researcher with a French sounding name, a German accent for the German researcher, etc. It was like listening to a parody of a non-fiction book.
I've never read Matthew Quick before, and this is not the sort of book I would normally pick up. I've no idea what made me buy it, but I am very glad I did. It's one of the best books I've read in a long time. It's not an easy or comfortable book, but it is a compelling one.
The main character is very much alive. My heart ached for his pain at the same time I smiled at my own remembered teen melodrama and anomie. That's not to say that Leonard is your average teen with only an average teen's problems. He's not. However the more mundane teenagian tangents in the book are what makes him come alive.
I cannot say enough good things about the narration of this book. Noah Galvin does an amazing job, so much so that I can't imagine this book being read by anyone else. Just the right amount of bite, pain, anger, and passion in every phrase.
Get this and read it. It's a wonderful book.
The narrator does a great job, but there's just no getting around the poor writing. There is too much description, most of which is dripping with analogies, and the author finds it necessary to constantly remind you of the heroine's tragic past, crushing grief, etc. I get it. I got it 10 repetitions ago. The pacing is also pretty slow for this kind of book. Only the narrator made it possible for me to listen to the whole thing.
No. The pacing in the narrative is very uneven. Specific anecdotes are great, but they are interspersed with a lot of rambling about the wonder of Africa, which did not appeal to me. Others might find this quite satisfactory.
Perhaps. Not all my friends would appreciate the introspective rambling, but some would.
Though the narrator read with much enthusiasm, overall I did not like it. She reads many passages in a rush when the subject wasn't fast-paced. There are unnatural pauses, as if the reader gets to the end of a line or the page. The recording environment is poor - you can hear the reader licking her lips, clearing her throat, and turning pages.
Yes, since a movie would take out the slow bits and make the most of the interesting anecdotes.
The narration style did not fit the material, for me, and made it hard to listen to. The pace was very slow. Either the narrator, or the prose, or both, gave the book a patronizing tone.
The material was very repetitive. The book is organized as a workshop for executives and their management teams, which was not clear from the description. Not the best format for an audiobook. Frequent references to the authors' workshops and other books made it feel a bit like an ad, too.
Lastly, the book was not as gender balanced as I hoped/expected. Though it pays lip service to balanced advice, I found it to be much more about how men can understand/accomodate/benefit from women's "brain differences" than vice versa. Perhaps this is understandable but, I would have preferred a better balance. (And I'm coming at this from the female side of the equation).
I enjoy Buckley's books very much, but I struggled to get all the way through this one. It didn't seem as tightly knit as his previous books and became rather boring and repetitive. It also had a rather strident quality about it, possibly due to the delivery of the narrator. That being said, there are very funny bits, and the narrator does a superb job of uniquely voicing all the characters.
I purchased this book because I'm interested in learning more about the copyright debate. Who better than an author to argue the pro side? Almost anyone, apparently.
Though Helprin has some good points to make, they're hard to filter out from the stream of invective. In much of the book, he comes across as no better than the "mouth-breather" army of internet "ants" he decries. There are also significant chunks of the book that seem to have nothing to do with the topic, such as a long, rambling discussion of convergence, near the end. Helprin rarely uses one word when 10 will, with a few asides thrown in for good measure.
All in all, very disappointing. Seek elsewhere for a reasoned discussion of the pro-copyright argument.
When the story is in motion, this is a pretty good book. Unfortunately, there are many excursions into philosophy, politics, and history which bog the story down. Sometimes, these little side trips occur in the midst of otherwise tense scenes, which I found jarring. The commentary adds nice color to the story, but takes the swash out of the buckle. A word on the narrator: He reads feelingly, but in a way that makes every sentence sound like a profound pronouncement.
I cannot say I agreed with all (or even most) of the author's positions. And I found some of them rather disengenuous. But it was well worth reading! Not only were the ideas clearly and interestingly presented, but this book made me think about some things I never considered before and made me want to learn more. What more, really, can you ask of a commentary?
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