I liked the voice, I liked the historical depth, I liked the modern day mystery so I should have really loved this book as a whole, and yet it was a bit of a chore to complete. Not a bad book, just not a riveting read either.
Sure it's a story about a woman in hiding, but does the narrator have to make the whole book sound like a 10 hour, whiny prologue? When she's in the main character's voice she manages to make every sentence a breathless quiver. It makes the character much less like able - shakily explaining how awful her million dollar life is, dripping with self pity. Not sure I can bear to keep listening.
I have a little bit of a problem with "and suddenly I was a lesbian/addict/bad person/out of love" type leaps within a story and this one has them all. I felt a little like Jodi Picoult plotted out key ( controversial ) issues she wants to mention, then joins the dots to make a story of XXX pages. This book is fine for travelling. Bits are very good, other parts are cliched - despite her attempts to address topical issues. Compared to some of her other books ( like My Sisters Keeper) it felt a bit literary-lazy. The novelty of including songs is very risky if you mis-judge your listeners tastes. The folksy, saccharine songs annoyed me - I fast forwarded through them.
I listen to books in public transport, so they need to be pick-up-able, reasonably compelling and not too many characters ( just because you cant flick back to find who was who very easily). This was a good solid story about 4 women, their different lives and their reproductive connection. The characters were believeable, no one was 100% good or 100%bad, with credible lives. It wasnt a "can't put down" read, but it kept me occupied and interested throughout. Worth a listen - not life changing, but not annoying or too cliched either. My only complaint would be the too-neatly tied up ending.
It's dark subject matter, but you can tell Sapphire has enormous empathy and respect for the girls like Precious she has taught and through her eyes, the listener can't help being won over.
The narrator was excellent - she gave Precious one of the most memorable voices I have heard. In fact, I don't think the story would have been nearly as fluid had I read it instead of listening to it.
The story and tone reminded me a little of A Patch Of Blue (Elizabeth Kata).
At first I thought I'd scream at the melodramatic narration (Scott Brick), trying to make every syllable drip with nuance, but either he settled down or the story just got me in, because I really did look forward to my daily commute to hear the next chapters.
It's an epic, and I'd often rewind because I thought I'd missed something, only to find it was explained further down the track. In that way, it may have been a better story to read than listen to. Also, so many characters make it a bit hard to keep track of everybody, but ultimately it was an engaging story and well worth the cost of the download.
As others have said, it's only part 1 of a possible 3 books. The ending was a bit of a cliff hanger - in fact I often felt through out the book Cronin was writing it with a movie screen play in mind.
The story reminded me of the movie I Am Legend (Richard Matheson book) and a little of the book Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. (which is also a great audio book)
Im one hour in and I know how this is going to end. Cheesy and predictable. The only mystery is what the heck those other reviewers were reading when they gave it 5 stars.
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