I like Orlean's writing and the subject was great, but I totally agree with those who speak of her flat, nasal delivery. A different narrator would have done this book a world of good. It was a constant struggle for me to decide to wade through the book because of the great topic or chuck it because the narration was so irritating.
An earlier reviewer remarked on reader Dan Cashman's atrocious pronunciation. I have to wholeheartedly agree. I'm familiar with both Dallas and Houston, where Hughes childhood takes place, and Cashman's mispronunciation is driving me crazy! It's really distracting. For example, it's MON-trose, not mont-rose. And ga-NO, not GAN-o. FON-ten-o, not font-e-not. On it goes.
Another thing that bothers me is Cashman's rendering of Southern female voices. Though I'm sure it's not Cashman's intent, he just sounds condescending doing those voices and it comes across like he studied the accent from watching old Bugs Bunny cartoons or something.
I will say Cashman has a nice voice and a lively reading. But that pronunciation! Oy!
I read the first book and sincerely wish I was reading rather than listening to this book. Carolyn McCormick is a fine actress, but she absolutely sucks the life out of this novel. She is too old to be narrating a 16-year-old girl. The pacing is grating. Read the book instead. Wish I could get a credit back on this one.
The copyright says 1995, but the audio quality made me feel like I was in 1982. While this book had some good points, it really wasn't what I expected and I don't feel overly prepared to defend myself verbally. Also, I felt the examples stopped short. I wanted to hear the next step in the example conversations, not just the attack and initial defense. Overall, I hoped for more.
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