The thought provoking story of a brilliant young survivor from Burundi who with hope, persistence, and intelligence survives the slaughter in Burundi (and despair of the slums of New York) to go to Columbia and medical school. The horrifying effects of failed colonial policies and the paradox that a person would be happier under the threat of genocide than living in poverty in New York raise important questions about our culture and politics, all in the context of a great story of generosity, persistence, and the triumph of the human spirit.
I wish we had an epilogue about how the protagonist is doing now, especially following the renewed violence in Burundi.
The author does an adequate job reading, but it is a rare author who does as well as an actor. The recording would have benefited from a professional reader.
A light and fluffy story, with some humor and a little suspense. Sex is an undercurrent driving a lot of the story, and I found a lot of the dialog around sex repetitive and unrealistic. At least I hope not too many people talk about it like these characters do. I thought the ensemble approach worked pretty well and the actors did well.
It was interesting to read this book after reading so many reviews critical of the final plot twist. Starting about half way though the book there were so many crazy plot twists that I wondered if each one was the one the critics were talking about. I can see why many reviewers did not like that final twist, but I thought it was fun, ironic, and thought provoking. An engaging and fun story with enough substance to keep the reader thinking and engaged.
The reviews and blurbs led me to expect a Michael Crichton like book, where the author pushes a researched understanding of a serious issue to a gripping and plausible (with a little suspension of disbelief) thriller. The book seemed to keep its promise at the start, but the story degenerates and becomes more bombastic and less plausible with each chapter. It ends with a semi-coherent plot twist suggesting a battle between corporations and a computer system where governments are no longer relevant, plus a long battle scene involving self-repairing killer race robo-motorcycles suitable more for a teenage fantasy than a novel that is supposed to have a kernel of seriousness. It seemed written more to be a high budget B-movie than a thriller for its thought and craft rather than its big explosions. The sudden, irresolute and poorly developed ending cries out, as another reviewer suggested, "$$equel." I started off feeling engaged, but ended feeling manipulated.
LOVED the Lisbon Falls segments. I drive by that old mill all of the time and wonder about it, and am grateful to Stephen King for his research and imagination about that colorful section of Maine. I thought it dragged in the middle, and I began to get sick of the premise, but then I liked the way King tied it together at the end. Stick it out and listen to the author notes at the end to hear some of that.
An interesting premise and lead character, but I ended up feeling manipulated and like this was a made for the movies script. I always felt like I knew what was going to happen next, and even when I was wrong I was disappointed.
Kind of felt it coming.
As in the rest of the series, Caro pulls out a lot of detail. That detail, combined with the drama of the period...the suspense of the impending Kennedy assassination while an investigation of Johnson's finances gains momentum and Johnson is exiled from the Kennedy administration, the great ironies in Johnson's accomplishments early in his presidency and the methods he used to get them, and the drama of the bitter LBJ/RFK relationship all make this the best of the Caro series and one of the best history books I have ever read.
This is a very engaging book with lots of interesting facts, peppered with funny anecdotes and interesting historical insights. But after listening to a couple of books with great narrators, it was hard to stay focused through Bryson's plodding narration,
This book was laugh out loud funny at times. The author's tone is something like Nick Hornby's, salted with a bit of Chris Rock. The plot line is more of a fantasy than either of those two write, but that is a vehicle for some good comedy. As with Rock and Hornby, the humor may strike guys more than women, and it is not for young kids.
The narrator does a fantastic job catching different accents and delivering the punch lines.
The most entertaining aspect of this book is the nuggets of obscure but entertaining historical facts dug up by the author. In the vein of Mark Kurlansky, but with Charles Addams' humor and the political sensibility of the Daily Show. The last chapter demonstrates how one can be deeply and lovingly patriotic but still critical of the government and "liberal".
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