With an audiobook, a bad narrator can certainly ruin a good book. While I don't think this book is as well written as those in the Percy Jackson series, it is much better than the narrator makes it.
Ultimately, the narrator seriously hurts this book. At times, his "computer-like voice" is immensely irritating. At other times, all of his characters have the same voice (which makes telling the characters apart very difficult). On a personal note, I'd just like to tell our narrator Joshua Swanson that he is a horrible reader and he should not butcher future books.
I would like to point out that this is NOT Audible's fault. They didn't choose the narrator. I don't know who at the Listening Library (the company which produced this book) is responsible for choosing this narrator, but that person failed miserably. If you want to prevent this narrator from destroying future books, make sure to visit the Listening Library's website and register your complaints.
I admit that I love YA literature, so I was happy to have yet another book to read. However, this book blew me away. When Auggie is born, he has multiple birth defects--the kind that would make many people want to drop to their knees and cry. Yet his parents do neither. Accepting the child they have been given, they do their best, and their efforts are amply rewarded.
Yes, they are lucky in that Auggie's problems are physical, not mental. Had he have had mental issues, this story would have been completely different.
That being said, the social issues he faces are far to real, even in today's accepting society. I think all of us can remember the funny looking classmate that we picked on in elementary school. I'll bet few of us took the time to really get to know that person. We picked on him or her because that person was different and an easy target. Fortunately, Auggie meets a few kids who are willing to look beneath behind his face and see the true person underneath.
Even though this is a children's book, I realize that I have a lot to learn from books like this. While I wish no one would ever have to face the decisions and problems that come about from having a child like this, maybe this book will give them hope or comfort. And, for people like myself, I hope to learn to be more open and willing to learn about people who are different. I think I have been missing out on some amazing friendships...
Many reviews focus on the terrible narration done by Geraldine Brooks. I won't lie to you -- she isn't the greatest narrator. However, she is also not the worst I have ever heard. The sample given by Audible gave me a good idea of what I was in for, and I opted to buy the book even with the multiple bad reviews. Yes, Brooks reads very slowly. Yes, her voice can get on your nerves, at least for the first few chapters. But at some point, her voice begins to work, and I forgot that she wasn't the main character, Anna. The book is sad (how could a book about the Plague not be sad?) and yet still manages to end with a slightly happy and plausible ending. However, the characters are what make this book so wonderful. If you like other Brooks' novels, then I don't think this one will disappoint you. She is an excellent writer, and this book just adds to her achievements.
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