This book is brilliant on so many levels and no doubt gets better and funnier with subsequent listens. Characters are simultaneously bizarre and humdrum, yet so real. The dialogue is rich and flawless and the narrator was perfect. While the book’s plot is shallow – there aren’t many twists and turns or high adventure – there is tremendous depth just under the surface.
Having said all that, I prefer non-fiction so I probably won’t listen to this one again.
This is not a book of jokes. Joan Rivers speaks frankly and technically about every kind of cosmetic surgery one can imagine. Her information is well-researched and thorough.
I have little to add to the myriad positive reviews (see Amazon) except to say that, unlike several books I have listened to recently, this one was particularly well edited (with the exception of a couple of obvious glitches). The book flowed quickly – the author provides ample detail yet never lingers too long to make a point, a delicate balance that I especially appreciate in audiobooks. I never found myself wishing to fast-forward or take a break. In fact, I listened to this book almost non-stop.
I was disappointed in this book (and too bored to finish it). Like him or not, Roger Ailes is a fascinating character. This book, however, was too inclusive of every detail of Ailes career to hold my attention. The relevant bits are diluted in a vast dump of information, which is too bad because this is an important and interesting subject.
De Waal’s stories about apes, which were weaved throughout his book, were fascinating and enlightening. De Waal is, after all, an expert on the subject. Not as enlightening, however, were his insights about atheists and atheism. He was dismissive of great thinkers such as Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and the late Christopher Hitchens, often quoting them out of context in order to make a point. Yet, I often had trouble understanding what point he was trying to make as his arguments were contradictory: moral norms exist in primates and other mammals and are in inherent in humans, yet human society requires religion to enforce moral behavior; religion is a man-made concept, yet we should continue to pretend that it’s not because it brings comfort and thus is an essential and necessary part of human existence.
I don’t enjoy this narrator as he comes across as condescending.
This is a cautionary tale about pro-creating beyond one’s means. The author describes the mundane life of raising five young children. It’s mostly boring, at times depressing, and not funny.
Listening to Helter Skelter was like trying to sip water from a fire hydrant. Too much of a good thing. The reader emerges from this book knowing absolutely everything there is to know about the Manson murders. I quit listening about 75% of the way through and I still feel like an expert on the subject. But the book would be more enjoyable – more of a "page-tuner" – if it had been less detailed and repetitive (especially less repetitive).
If you enjoy the typical celebrity memoire, then this book is for you. It’s bursting with antidotes about Billy Crystal’s charmed life, his rise to celebrity, and lots and lots of name dropping. As a bonus, he includes some stand-up sets performed in front of a live audience, which are okay, but contain mostly reheated jokes about growing old.
Fans of Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” may be disappointed (as I was). “Cooked” contains ample material to justify the purchase of this book, but unfortunately the material is overwhelmed by fluff and repetition. Had an editor slashed about 50% of the text - the excess words between the information - I would have given this book 5 stars.
I hesitate to write a critical review because this book is amazingly well researched and written. Temple Grandin is, without doubt, a ground-breaking expert in this area and has invaluable insights to offer, especially for people who have personal experience with autism. I just didn’t find the writing (or reading, which was too slow) all that compelling; I actually fell asleep a few times while listening in the car (as a passenger). I must stress, however, that it’s the writing, not the content, that left me wanting. For comparison, I read her book, “Animals in Translation” and couldn’t put it down, which is why I chose this book to begin with.
I'm a huge fan of Jon Ronson but I didn't find this book as interesting as some of his others. His writing, as always, is clever and the book was well-researched but I didn't find the subject matter that compelling. Extremists - conspiracy theorists, wing-nuts, paranoid crazy people - are fascinating in small doses, but after a while they get boring.
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