Selma Blair did a great job of narrating this heart-wrenching story. A must-read/listen. The story shows a unique perspective of the terrors of the time, the type of problems we can hardly imagine today. Anne's fate is such a shame, she really had a great gift.
I saw the movie first, and there are some differences. Even so, getting into the minds of the characters is so intriguing and chilling. I couldn't stop listening! I loved the two narrators, both were quite good.
This book was good fun and at times, very funny. It was delightful. The narrator was quite good. I don't know why this book is considered a classic, and I found no enlightenment in it. But that doesn't detract from my enjoyment of it. Definitely recommend.
This book claims that it represents a balance between the opposing sides of (1) Mary Lincoln critics and (2) Robert Lincoln critics. I didn't find that to be true. The book was very slanted in favor of Robert and spends a great deal of time justifying Robert's actions. Conversely, it spends very little time viewing the situation from the alternate viewpoint or considering any facts that would favor Mary. The author ignores a lot of historical facts, and simply starts his book based on the presumption that Mary was crazy. The story is so much more complex, compelling, heartbreaking and interesting when both sides are fairly viewed. But don't be fooled, you won't get that here.
This story is compelling as a possibility of the lives of the Lincolns. It really made me think about the Civil War from a woman's perspective, including the fear and anxiety that must come from having your home and family threatened constantly, as well as the overwhelming grief of losing so many family members in such traumatic ways. I believe historical information contradicts some of the story, particularly how dispassionate and almost loveless Abraham appears towards Mary. The author also omits certain notable aspects of Mary's emotional breakdowns. Even so, I did appreciate the alternative possible explanations of Mary, her motives and her actions, which I think is sorely lacking in a lot of historical reports. The narrator did a great job. BUT (and it's a big one), this is the worst edited story I've ever listened to. A large section from Part 1 is missing (starting just after Eddie passes), jumping to when Willie and Tad are 5/6 years old, This important part suddenly reemerges at the beginning of Part 2, interrupting the story as it is leading to Lincoln's election. This makes it disjointed and hard to follow. Also, at least five times, you hear the narrator say "going back" or "pick up" when she flubs a line. I've never heard such poor editing in a book.
In a "Big Brother" type of scenario, this book makes me fearful that we're headed in this direction. I think that means it's effective. :)
The only reason I gave this 3 stars is because the reader was quite good. I have no idea why this book is a classic. The story just sort of peters out at the end, like Tolstoy got tired of writing and gave up. I'm so disappointed that I invested so much time in a story that I ended up not caring about in the least.
The choice to have 2 narrators for this book was fantastic and added a realism you couldn't get otherwise! I loved the story, loved the narrators. Easy and fun to listen to.
I read the first half of this book and just couldn't find the time to finish reading it. I got the audio book, wanting to finish the story, but I couldn't get beyond 4 hours. I love the melody of this book and Hugo's command over words and sentence structure (strange since it is a translation). Unfortunately, the reader never grasped the beauty of the words he was reading. His voice is largely monotone and uninteresting; he sounds disdainful and as if the story was causing a bad smell under his nose. Perhaps it's like Shakespeare -- difficult to read but amazing if performed by someone who both understands and loves it. It's very sad, and I hate to say it, but I don't think this reader does either. Disappointing.
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