Oh how I loved reading this book - and that is the only reason this audiobook has 2 stars. If I were rating the audiobook on its own merits - story aside - I would give it a negative 2 stars!
This story itself is amazing, and I came by the book quite by accident. It was passed on to my by a fellow traveler in The Balkans last year, and never having heard of it, I had no expectations. I decided to take it as my "fluff read" on a train from Belgrade to Budapest and once I opened it, I could not put it down.
I had gone to Budapest to visit a life-long friend, whom I had not seen in a few years. Somewhat embarrassingly, I found that even while I was excited to see my friend, I was so compelled to see what happened next in the story that every time she left the room (even just to use the bathroom) I immediately picked up the book again. (I left the book with her when I departed for Belgrade, and my friend felt just as strongly about the book as did I, so I felt a little justified.)
So later in the year, when I had a 28 hour travel day coming up, I decided to download the audiobook version - WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT!
The narration is so annoying! The voice of the main character sounds as if, at any moment, the guy is going to snicker "just kiddin'" and poke you in the ribs. GRATING to say the least.
I still love this story and am excited to see the film that is coming out. But I would NOT recommend the audiobook version. Read this one on your own. It is an amazing story and the odd narration really ruins it.
This program is worth the money. I have all 30+ lessons. Not as expensive (or perhaps as effective) as a Rosetta Stone or something like that, but still, you will come away with a good base of useful knowledge and good pronunciation. The first 10 lessons take you from zero to marginally competent, and if you take the time to do all 30+, you can end up with quite a good day-to-day vocab. I highly suggest using the Pimsleur audio programs for this language and others. It doesn't lay out grammar rules, but it does work with your pronunciation, memorization, and useful daily vocab. I used it for Greek and Croatian at different times - taking one lesson each day during my morning exercise - and find them really useful. Of course for real competence you need to study and take classes as this program does not teach grammar nor does it teach the regional variances in Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian, but it does offer a great jumping off point. To get the most from them, I suggest to start with one hour a day in the weeks before you go. Pimsleur is a great audio based basic language program.
Not worth the money. Spend a little extra and get the Pimsleur Croatian programs. They take you from zero to marginally competent whereas this one is essentially worthless. This is not an "osmosis" language - unless you are already proficient in another Slavic language - so this short silly lesson is worthless for the non-speaker (not enough to help with anything) and dually worthless for someone who has some Croatian/Bosnian/Serbian (too elementary to really teach you anything new). I highly suggest using the Pimsleur audio programs and instead of waiting for the flight, to perhaps start with the Pimsleur program perhaps one hour a day in the weeks before you go. Pimsleur is a great audio program. It doesn't lay out grammar rules, but it does work with your pronunciation, memorization, and useful daily vocab. I used it for Greek and Croatian at different times - taking one lesson each day during my morning exercise - and find them really useful. This "in-flight Croatian" program however...USELESS!
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