The content of this book and the narrator were both excellent. Her story is simply amazing and gives hope to people who have battled depression and injury. The book alternates between a male narrator and a woman reading the diary entries that Thomas wrote. This was a very helpful way of handling the book. I highly recommend this book, especially to anyone engaged in amateur racing.
This book has its merits. The story is engaging and the characters are colorful. The narrator is excellent, one of the best I have ever heard. Indeed, if I were reading this one, I might have given up.
But the book is way too long. The writer has a tendency to continuously pontificate and throw-in cheap pop philosophy at every opportunity. Every meeting with every character is deep with meaning and lessons about life, and the reader is not intelligent enough to figure these out for himself. At the end of every chapter the reader suffers through the main character telling us what deep lesson he learned from his latest encounter. An abridged version of this book might actually be a lot better.
Some of this book was interesting, the human interest side, the art, the relationships between the characters. But when it got to the gothic stuff, I was thoroughly bored. The plot made little sense, I never understood why there was this scary creature causing all of these problems. When I was a kid, I loved Stephen King. This book doesn't hold a candle to his classics--Cujo, Carrie, Pet Semetary, The Stand. Either that, or I'm just old and jaded.
I just don't get why so many people loved this book. I didn't find the story to be compelling at all, I didn't care about what happened to the characters, and I got lost keeping track of who was killed and who was killing. I could not wait for the book to be over.
Usually the books of the year chosen by the Audible editors are pretty good...I really can't understand why this one won the best book of 2007. I found it to be boring, full of cliches, and unbelievable characters. The only redeeming factor was Will Patton's narration.
While I am a big fan of Krakauer's earlier works, Under the Banner of Heaven leaves a lot to be desired. I don't think that his weaving of two genres ("true crime" and history)works well here. Taken separately, a history of the Church of LDS and its offshoots, and the true crime story are both very interesting, but the constant weaving back and forth makes it just confusing, at least in audio format.
There were many times that I got lost in the narrative, particularly in the parts about about other Mormon fundamenalists (who have no relevance to the story of the Lafferty brothers). And there were other parts of the Lafferty story that he didn't explore at all -- for example, what happened to Allen after the murders? How did he react, does he still speak with his brothers, etc., etc.? There is much about Ron's ongoing trials, but very little about Dan's trial. I couldn't for the life of me remember why Dan did not get the death penalty, until after I was done listening, I went online and found an excerpt of the book's prologue, where it mentions one or two lines about Dan's trial.
The narration was fine, and the content had the potential to make an excellent book, but sadly this one falls short.
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