I enjoyed this book. Sure, it alternated between fairly clever and kind of dumb, but the story moved fast enough that I never felt bored or tempted to stop listening. As others have pointed out, it's a social networking variation on works like 1984 and The Stepford Wives. Except for a few sex scenes, it seemed very YA (not that that's a bad thing...). The narration is fantastic.
I enjoyed the creepiness of the murder scenes. I also appreciated the wry humor in some of the characters' perspectives and the comical use of social media in the story.
The narrators did a great job of portraying the distinct character voices Beukes created. A single narrator would have been too confusing. Some of the minor characters' accents were odd, but at least they helped to keep all the characters straight.
I've listened to a lot of comedians' memoirs. They all serve up stories explaining childhood misdeeds, scars, relationships, regrets, and careers turns. In Rob Delaney's case, there quite a few stories that show he's lucky to be alive (and knows it). How enjoyable each memoir is depends on how much you like and relate to the stories and their teller. For me, this book is my favorite since Bossypants, both because I love Delaney's sense of humor and because I'm almost the same age, so I was delighted to hear a few random, quirky similarities in our experiences. I'm sure this book won't work for everyone, but I loved listening to his stories. I just wish it were longer.
I didn't particularly like any of the characters, and many were intended to be frustrating, but I really enjoyed this book. The audiobook narrator, who performs a variety of voices, accents, and even sings(!), is phenomenal.
"Where'd You Go, Bernadette" reminded me of "Gone Girl," as the story is told from multiple perspectives, and all the characters make mistakes. This one is lighter and a bit goofier in tone. The relationship between the mother and daughter is very sweet. As with "Gone Girl," I couldn't wait to get back to this book it every time I had to stop.
I will listen to every book Rainbow Rowell writes, but it will be a while before I re-listen. When I want to time travel to revisit my own early college anxieties / small victories, I will re-listen to this book. For now, I'm jealous of people who haven't listened to Fangirl yet -- it was a delight.
Rainbow Rowell won my heart with "Eleanor and Park." "Fangirl" is less fraught and stressful, but drawn just as well. In both, Rowell conjures the awkwardness and excitement of teen emotions with disturbing accuracy. The "Simon Snow" fan-fic plot was a lot more endearing than I expected it to be. I loved the overt and subtle allusions to Harry Potter and Twilight. This element reminded me of "Ready Player One" because it was both funny and nostalgic.
Rebecca Lowman was an excellent narrator for the main story. I enjoyed the interludes of Maxwell Caulfield reading excerpts from the Simon Snow stories. The combination was such a smart idea.
I love Kate Atkinson's sense of humor. She describes the exquisite disappointments of childhood and (unhappy) motherhood so well. These scenes are poignant, but not depressing.
Ruby Lennox is an excellent narrator to her family's story.
I enjoyed the variety of accents she used, as well as her enthusiasm.
The descriptions are intricate and really helped me see the clever/beautiful scenes.
It's not fair to call this Harry Potter's Hunger Games, but it's a book about young magicians competing in a battle to the death. Alas, The Night Circus has neither the whimsy of Harry Potter nor the intensity of The Hunger Games.
I love Jim Dale's narration overall. Relative to the voices he did for the Harry Potter series, none of his accents he did here really stood out in this book.
No one. That's my problem with this book. It's a clever and richly detailed world, but I didn't spend enough time with or get enough insight into any of the characters to care much about them or their circumstances.
I bet it is less frustrating to have so many events described out of chronological order for folks reading this as a book-book. As an audiobook listener, I found this jumping back and forth confusing, and I couldn't remember the dates well enough to benefit from their presence.
An alternate title could be "Lazy, Paranoid Murderers." Therese Raquin is longer than it needs to be. Even so, there are a few great scenes and wry details that more than justify this mostly bland book's existence.
I don't want to ruin those few plot points that left me with a smile on my face, but they're there.
If it weren't Kate Winselt's lovely voice, I never would have finished this book.
Yes! The movie version (which is in the works) will have to be condensed, which will benefit the plodding parts of the story. Also, those excruciating details will be even more powerful to watch, I think.
I liked this teen "Quantum Leap" story until ~4/5 of the way through, when it turned hateful. The premise of spending every day in a different body is cute (just don't expect your questions to be answered), and I was impressed by some of the progressive ideas about gender and identity, except when they became unbearably heavy-handed and preachy. Most of all, I appreciated the nuanced empathy the main character showed for all the different bodies he/she inhabited...that is, until A inhabited a body that was only treated with scorn. Being poor or mean or dumb or addicted was fine, but apparently Levithan finds obesity to be an irredeemable blight. I lost respect for the author and the book after that.
Taking a break from patronizing YA for a while...
Gravelly, squeaky, genderless
The most unpleasant scene is the shoddy treatment of Finn, the obese boy. It shouldn't be cut, just rewritten with a shred of the compassion Levithan shows to other characters. There are some plot twists that are neglected (presumably to pursue in another book), but I'd rather have had a more complete story in this book.
This story has many, many flaws, but it's mostly a pleasant, quick listen. Especially if you listen to it on 2x, like I did...
I am a research psychologist, so I enjoy reading and listening to a lot of books in the social science genre. I was initially excited about "How We Decide" because of Lehrer's excellent contributions to the incomparable RadioLab, as well as his decent first book, which makes some interesting interdisciplinary connections. However, I was keenly disappointed because of the lack of originality.
Most of the themes, studies, and stories in this book are also featured in other works in the genre (Blink, The Happiness Hypothesis, Predictably Irrational, and Mindless Eating, to name just a few). If there were value added in the re-tellings, Lehrer would seem like less of a hack. Unfortunately, his versions are inferior to all of the sources he draws upon. I guess the most positive thing I can say is that if you don't have the time or motivation to read many social science-based books, "How We Decide" can be your Cliffs Notes summary.
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