This well written book is annoyingly narrated by the author. Her "tough girl" voice is irritating, particularly in the beginning. It sounds as if the publisher walked into a biker bar and picked one of the patrons to read this book.
That being said, the author is a skilled storyteller and a master at metaphor. However, the book is little more than a well written, self indulgent diary of what she seems to feel are her justified failures after a childhood she, more than anyone else, feels was the worst ever. Though I thought the book was well written, I was not terribly absorbed in the story. One could hear the same thing by attending a few AA meetings.
This certainly lacks the greatness of Wally Lambs other novels. If he wrote an outline or had a concept in mind, he sure got distracted. This book tells several stories at once and becomes tedious and unmercifully boring. By the latter part of the book, well into the civil war bore, I found myself skipping chapters. Oddly enough, one would want to feel sorry for the wife who was a victim at Columbine, but even she becomes a cliche. The main character is not terribly likable either, but that could be due to the narration which was the worst I had ever heard. The narrator sounds like a booze laden, smarmy old man who has a voice that would be better off narrating a book about a guy who lures children into his windowless van with the promise of candy. Thrown uncomfortably into the book is "humorous" banter between the main character and his long time friend. Though some of the comments are mildly amusing, they are mostly cringe worthy and seem pushed into the novel in odd places because the author felt funny that night or had a few drinks.
Overall....this is not a horrible read. It just drones on and requires someone who is easily entertained and has a lot of patience......and....has never read another Lamb novel to have to make the sad comparison.
The writer has compiled every cliche idea about abduction and rape that she got from tv and compiled it into a story that makes such crimes appear to be no more serious than road rage or shoplifting. You will feel no real sympathy for the main character since the emotions are bland, the writing is very superficial and dull and it is difficult to see this novel as anything better than someones homework assignment in writing class.
The narration is silly. The once mild mannered real estate broker, after the fact and in talking with her therapist has someone come to use the language and tone of a methamphetamine addicted stripper with zero class, manners or intellect.
Pass this up if you don't want to be majorly disappointed.
Though I love Kingsolvers writing and her narration is interesting (though sometimes annoying), I thought I was buying an entertaining read and it turned out to be a preach-fest. This book is nothing more than a long rant regarding Kingsolvers views on mans over consumption, our relationship with animals and mother earth and so on. I have no problem with people expressing their opinions but a novel sold as entertainment is not the forum for it. Shame on you Barbara Kingsolver.
The narrator enunciates her words so precisely that she makes a one syllable word into three syllables and causes the reading to be twice as long as it would be if someone had read it in a manner that did not make the listener feel like a hearing impaired senior. The characters are not developed so we could not care less what happens to them and in all cases do not find out. The premise and facts are plain ridiculous. In an apocolypse they do not even group together with the town or nor are given any instructions by government to handle things. They merely sit at home and bake bread and stoke the fire? They run out of writing paper and consider writing on the walls before the bank in town even closes up? A six year old is teaching chess or designing a grilling tripod and coming up with a recipe for mint toothpaste? COME ON!
I was excited about this audiobook and decided to spend the extra loot to obtain it. Half-way through this ridiculous slop, I am wondering why I was not PAID to read it instead of the other way around.
The writer truly should have jotted her obsessive thoughts into a diary rather than attempting a novel. I kept waiting for SOMETHING to happen but it droned on and on and on turning the most minute thoughts into exsistential arguments (between 17 year olds no less).
I imagine if the author went to a party, she would be the guest everyone would avoid since if you asked her if she liked the wine, she would go off on tangent about the shape of a wine glass and how it may effect the continuum of time and space. Actually, I jest. Her word vomit is not that deep. If she were writing a recipe she would probably tell you when to blink between rolling the dough and act as if it was a knew and novel idea that you could not have considered without her assistance.
Summing this up I would have to say it is the longest bore I have ever read. It is so bad you will get angry at having been duped, by the description, into buying it.
I recently ordered this audiobook and feel compelled to chime in immediately to warn buyers. What a lot of people are saying about the narration is that it is awful. This is true. I have not finished listening but almost feel like I will have to force myself. The narrator uses voices for the characters, notably Olive and Henry the main characters, that sound like she is immitating an old man or woman from a Mother Goose story. She does this even in the parts of the audio when the characters are not terribly old. The accent she gives them is laughable as well. They sound like a ninety year old, stuffy, British couple. (oddly with a school aged child). You may miss much of the audio as your brain works overtime trying to remind itself of the ages of the characters and what they must appear to be in the authors true vision.
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