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Yocheved

Freelance journalist, now living in Israel. Audible books listener for 30 years, when I had to pretend to be blind to get access.

Rocklin, CA, United States | Member Since 2004

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  • We Were the Mulvaneys

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Joyce Carol Oates
    • Narrated By Scott Shina
    Overall
    (147)
    Performance
    (101)
    Story
    (104)

    Judd is the youngest of the four Mulvaney children - three boys and a girl - on their parents’ lush farm in upstate New York. In his childhood, Judd is swept along by the sheer energy of the Mulvaneys and their wealth of beloved family stories. But now, 30 years old, Judd looks back through his memories to tell the secrets that eventually ripped apart the fabric of his storybook family.

    Jason says: "Overlooked Masterpiece"
    "An American classic!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's a good thing all audiobooks aren't as good as "We Were the Mulvaney's" -- nobody would get anything done. We'd just sit and listen. I normally stay away from Oprah books, but this one is magnificent, pure Americana. Absolutely excellent.

    I admit to having read this book at least three times, but this was my first (although certainly not my last) listen. I was a little hesitant, not wanting a less-than-stellar narration to 'ruin' it for me, but that certainly was not the case. Scott Shina does an admirable job, getting all the family members just right. Not easy -- capturing the slightly ditsy Corrine, so she doesn't sound like a maniac, but clearly as someone with a few 'issues'. Or Patrick, with his high intelligence, who needs to come off as someone who loves to know everything, but not as superior or arrogant. Even the eccentric and crusty Whittaker West, who came across exactly right, as a mensch underneath it all.

    It's a sad book, in so many ways. In the beginning, when everything is perfect in a big-family 'Sunnybrook Farm' sort of way, I find myself thinking that I'd be happy if the book just went on like this forever. But of course it doesn't. 'Something' happens to Marianne, and that changes not only the family dynamic forever, but ultimately results in ... well, read it and find out. I wouldn't spoil anyone's pleasure for a moment.

    I will say this: If you loved the book, you may want to skip the over-long author interview at the end. Usually I love those interviews -- the ones Nelson DeMille does, with many of his books, are wonderful and add so much to the book. Not this one. The fact that Oates tries to justify Michael, the father's, actions makes my skin crawl. I also fail to see the heroism she attributes to Marianne -- that wasn't saintliness, in my mind. It was insanity. We do agree on this, though: the animals -- all of them -- were characters all by themselves in this book. If I had a nickel for every tear I've shed over Muffin, I could retire.

    Whatever, it's a masterpiece. Just clear your calendar for 22 hours. It's worth it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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