...in collective guilt. This story will keep me thinking for days and days. The use of a pedophilic 'love' story as the backdrop for a study of Germany's collective guilt over the holocaust is, if not appropriate, then at least congruous. Although you never come to sympathize with the characters, exactly, you do feel the deep tragedy that their lives become.
Unexpected. Surprising. Fascinating.
The narrator is my obvious choice. He is the younger brother, and a bit of a sheep sometimes, but the story told from his perspective is effective.
This is an interesting question, because as I read this book, I had the thought that it felt like it could be a Quentin Tarantino film.
Western genres are not typically my genre, and it's only because the reviews that stated it 'was not your typical western' intrigued me. The characters were memorable for sure, and I did enjoy the book, although I'm not sure I'd read any more of this genre again.
This book was engaging and informative and I will definitely have to give it another listen. He manages to keep key concepts intelligent but free of the intellectual jargon that can make it difficult for the lay person. His central metaphors are effective and engaging and really help the reader make sense of his arguments. He is a really good writer.
I enjoyed this walk through American food history. It gives an excellent overview of how we have come to our current food situation. As some reviewers have already noted, it can be a little dry, but if you are already interested in the content, the history of factory farming, you will find this book enlightening. It could go deeper in areas, but is a good primer.
The narrator!! Gah! She sounds like a kindergarten or ESL teacher. Sheee speeeaks sooo sloooowly, and has puts very long gaps in awkward parts of the sentences. It really does the book a disservice. The information and facts are already a little dry, so the narration could really kill this book for some. Luckily, I also have an option on my audible app to speed it up a bit. This makes it much more tolerable.
Otherwise, an excellent read.
The narrator! Honestly, I have listened to a million audiobooks and I have to say that only 1 in 10 author narrated books has been a good idea. In this case, his choppy english was very very distracting as his sentence pauses were really unnatural and made this book hard to listen to. It wasn't the worst I've heard in terms of self-narrated books, but definitely would have been better with a professional narrator.
No, definitely not. Some of the best books I've read have been memoirs, and this book won't discourage me.
As stated above, his choppy english was a real distraction from the content.
I would have preferred some real honesty. I've read enough memoirs to know when I'm getting the real deal, and this book felt disingenous. Sure he revealed some less flattering aspects of his past, but overall it was pretty self-congratulatory: "look how hard it has been for me as a black chef in a white dominated industry! but I sure showed them! look at my supermodel wife and all my riches! ..and, oh yeah, the daughter I didn't want to acknowledge for years and years and years..but she's ok with it now." ugh.
I read many glowing reviews that stated that this book should be on the must-read lists for high-school students. I couldn't disagree more. I would rather recommend "The Heart and The Fist" for students. It's message is much deeper. Rather than "work hard and you can be rich and famous and marry a supermodel too", it teaches "work hard, then work harder, then work even harder and you will discover what is truly meaningful in life." And it's not money and fame.
I downloaded this NIV version because my children were having a hard time following the KJV which I love. This dramatized narration is so cheesy it is completely distracting to listen to, and we had to shut it off after only half a new testament book. I thought maybe we should just try the Psalms, since it is poetic and might be easier to listen to in this format. Nay nay. The background music was a horror as an accompaniment to the over-the-top dramatic reading. Straight out of a protestant cheese factory. UGH UGH UGH!
I just downloaded a straight reading of the NKJV and am finding it SO much easier and pleasant to listen to.
I never really believed the stories, or the characters. The 'pretend' mystery was not such a mystery in the end. Did she or didn't she jump? By the time the mystery is solved, this reader no longer cared.
None of the characters were developed in full and so we're left to wonder what on earth made them so messed up. So much of their misery (at least the adults) is self-inflicted, so it's hard to feel pity. The children turn out beautiful and talented anyway ("Brick", and Rachel).
This book would have been more effective as a short story. Indeed, it would have been more effective with an editor. When the author refers to "Jamie-who-was-really-James" for the thirteenth time in two paragraphs, I was gnashing my teeth with irritation!!
There was a lot of writing like this. "I'm making a point here, are you listening reader? because I'm being so erudite and stating things so poetically". The writing is very self-conscious, and the point the author was trying to make was never well realized in the characters or the plot. "It's hard to be of mixed race"? "It's hard to have been the victim of an attempted murder by a messed-up mother"? I lost interest in trying to figure it out. This book was unsatisfying.
I have read many books now about WWII (just by chance.. The Reader, The Book Thief, The Power of One, etc.) and am always fascinated by the different fictional perspectives. What I love about it too are the various accents. This one was excellent. I have never heard a Polish accent, and the narrator did a fine job of switching from character to character.
The book is very well written, and I was completely absorbed. I highly recommend this one. Well worth the credit and the time.
This book was well written, but it was a lot of effort for little reward. The hyper-controlling father was a little much to take, especially as there was no background given to indicate what could have made him such a freak. His own father dies, but that's it. He just dies. No relationship explored that might give the reader an indication of why he's such a bad father (because ultimately, this is a father-bashing book).
The infanticide seemed like it was going to be explored, but it wasn't really. Discussed much amongst the characters as a great scandal, or a great mystery, but not really explored. Why does Laura kill her baby? We never find out why. Because she was 17? What made her so screwed up when the rest of her siblings turned out so 'normal'? Because she was daddy's favourite? Was there abuse? Is this why she started having sex with random strangers in an alley behind the library every weekend? The causes of her bizarre behaviour are never speculated upon, although the protagonist certainly seems obsessed with her.
It is all a baffling mystery that the author does not suffiently resolve at all.
The book and the characters just left me cold.
I chose this title because one reviewer suggested it was much like David Sedaris whose writing I can't get enough of. The narrator read it like David Sedaris, but there was little humour in this book. It was very bitter and very sexual (nobody's sexuality goes unexplored, and he gives a very VERY vivid account of catching his wife in bed with his boss - in the book it must go on for pages! there's more than one repetition of how deep up his boss' a** his wife's knuckles are. oi vey! my daughter sometimes listens to my audiobooks, these should come with a bit of a warning!)
en tous cas... this was not worth the credit I wasted on it. It was not even remotely funny. Just sad.
This book starts slowly, but one thing that I really appreciate about audio books is that you are a captive audience, and it takes little effort to let the audio keep running, even if the story is moving slowly. There are a plethora of characters, and at first this seems ponderous, but Eliot is genius at developing all of the characters to such an extent that you feel that you would know them if you met them on the street. I will remember these characters forever.
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