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Michael

Philadelphia, PA, United States | Member Since 2011

5
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 4 reviews
  • 4 ratings
  • 124 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2014
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  • The Other Boleyn Girl

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Philippa Gregory
    • Narrated By Susan Lyons
    Overall
    (428)
    Performance
    (378)
    Story
    (381)

    When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of 14, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both the golden prince and her growing role as an unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family's ambitious plots when the king's interest begins to wane and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her powerfully ambitious sister, Anne Boleyn.

    Teddy says: "Phillipa Gregory Takes You There"
    "Good performance, but the story itself was flat"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Since I am very familiar with the history, I found myself continually have to verify events that were presented as fact by the author. For example, Mary was not the younger girl as told in this story, but was in fact the older sister. Additionally, it was unlikely that Mary was present at the execution. Most modern historians confirm that she was not even in the city at the time and had been banished to Rochford with her husband. Realizing that this is fiction, I am fine with an author taking some liberties with the truth, such as interpolating motives and thoughts to the characters, but I find it disconcerting when accepted facts are clearly changed to suit the author's plot

    My other criticism was that the characters were portrayed as timeless archetypes instead of complex characters. Mary was the epitome of all that good and virtuous. She was the victim of her circumstances, completely manipulated by her family. Whereas, Anne was the essence of evil. She was vindictive, vain, manipulative, and cruel. I find this Snow White vs. The Evil Queen ploy to be an overly-simplistic way of looking at these complex characters.

    Also, the description of Mary's second marriage was really unbelievable. The notion that she joyfully accepted the role of farmer's wife with no apparent difficulty was incongruent with the harsh realities of life on an English farm in that time period, especially for someone accustomed to life at the royal court. She would have had to work all day and well into the night. I was almost ready for her to pull a Snow White and break into "Whistle while you work."

    I did appreciate that the author selected to tell the story from the point of view of minor character in history. I just think that she could have done a better job with her portrayal.

    It also seemed she forced the Boleyn self-identification. I found myself rolling my eyes whenever Mary exclaimed, "I have to do as I am told. I am a BOLEYN girl!" This same line was very overused.

    The actress who read the book was excellent. Her performance and depiction of the characters was superb.

    Overall, I was entertained. I could even deal with the cartoonish characters if the history has been portrayed more accurately. That fact led to this mediocre review.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Help

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Kathryn Stockett
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and others
    Overall
    (27315)
    Performance
    (13924)
    Story
    (13972)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: The most celebrated performance in all of Audible’s history, The Help has nearly 2,000 5-star reviews from your fellow listeners. We hear the print book’s not bad, either. In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another.

    Jan says: "What a great surprise!"
    "Unsurpassed excellence"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was one of the best audiobooks that I have ever listened to. The actresses were amazing in their performance. It is definitely worth listening to. You, too, will be hooked.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: A Signature Performance by Elijah Wood

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Elijah Wood
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2572)
    Performance
    (2050)
    Story
    (2035)

    A Signature Performance: Elijah Wood becomes the first narrator to bring a youthful voice and energy to the story, perhaps making it the closest interpretation to Twain’s original intent.

    James says: "Worthy "signature" premiere"
    "Wood Brilliantly Captures the Novel's Spirit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoy a novel that effectively encapsulates the social norms of the time without infusing them with modern sensibilities. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is just that sort of work. You really understand how and why people believed as they did and acted in kind. It is truly a masterpiece.

    Wood does a phenomenal job as narrator. He is an accomplished actor and does not overly dramatize unnecessarily, which can bring a good novel to tedium. He switches from character to character with ease and seamlessly.

    It might be shocking for modern ears to hear the language commonly used in the novel, but one must realize that people did indeed speak and think as such. However, the author successfully conveys to us that the only man of honor and scruples in the entire work is Jim, the escaped slave. That message transcends any previous disparaging comments and elevates his status in the reader's eyes. Even when they are behaving morally with good conscience according to the mores of the time, it is clear to the reader that Tom, Huck and the other characters in the novel are lacking in the moral substance. I believe that the author was trying to impress that point upon us.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 1776

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By David McCullough
    • Narrated By David McCullough
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4652)
    Performance
    (1840)
    Story
    (1849)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: If you ever thought history was boring, David McCullough’s performance of his fascinating book will change your mind. In this stirring audiobook, McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence, when the whole American cause was riding on their success.

    Mark says: "Front Seat on History"
    "Not what I thought"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about 1776?

    This books reads like a high school history book. There is no real story. Additionally, the author doesn't provide any good insights into the people and culture of the time. He just strung together facts and dates.


    What was most disappointing about David McCullough’s story?

    There are no real insights. I am about a third into the book and it's like listening to someone read Wikipedia.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator/author reads flatly, droning on and on. Because there are so many names and places involved in the retelling this piece of history, it's hard to keep track of characters by listening. This is not a book I would recommend that anyone LISTEN to. If you must read it, buy a real book.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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