These books are told in the first person by Amerlia Peabody who is English. Having the book read by Susan O'Malley in her flat American voice is a mistake of the first order.
I downloaded this version by mistake and I have to abandon it early on. Now I will bite the bullet and pay more to get the Barbara Rosenblatt version.
The story of Julia Child is definitely interesting and this book provides a lot of information previously unknown to me -- particularly Paul's life before he met Julia.
Unfortunately, the writing is slapdash in the extreme. While I was listening to this book the great line from The Princess Bride kept coming to mind: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
Many, many words are misused and not for effect. The author sometimes attempts to be matey with the reader, describing an ordinary freshman-in-college-level discussion as "high-falutin." He seems to think that "intellectual" is a sort of job title. He finds word combinations that appeal to him, whether or not they're appropriate. Julia and Simca are the "countesses of cuisine" at a time when they were anything but. Julia feels the first "pangs of interest" in television. Pangs? Really? There are dozens more, which I found both distracting and annoying. Apparently, book editing has essentially disappeared because all this book really needed was a scrupulous editor.
The subject matter remains interesting and the reader is quite good. If the writing doesn't irritate you, the book can be enjoyable.
It is, alas, too much like a highlight reel (as another reviewer noted) and if I'd noticed it was abridged, I'd never have bought it. My mistake.
I agree with the earlier reviewer that if you are conservative-minded, you will not like this book. In fact, you will hate this book. It offers no comfort to the smug and complacent. It fails to blame the victims and doesn't heap scorn on those trying to help what are surely the most wretched of the earth.
Paul Farmer is exactly the kind of guy to set neo-con teeth on edge. He's a famous infectious disease expert, for heaven's sake. He could be making piles and piles of money and spending it all on big houses and cars for himself!
It might be ok if he were driven by religious fervor but instead he's a secular guy who actually believes that in "love thy neighbor" stuff and doesn't have the sense to know that neighbors are the folks who live next door in suburbia -- not in some dreadful slum in Haiti or Peru.
But for those who don't think compassion is a dirty word, this book will enlighten and move you. Farmer is no saint but he's the most moral person one could imagine. His reserves of energy and will simply boggle the mind. He's almost impossible to describe but Tracy Kidder does remarkably well. Most of us can never be like Paul Farmer -- and in some ways that's a good thing -- but the world is a better place because he's in it. And every day he lives, he continues to make a difference.
Would that we could all have that said about us.
"And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." Corinthians xiii. 13.
Lord Ickenham is one of Wodehouse's most adorable creations. Ingenious as Jeeves and equally unflappable, he waltzes through the story with complete aplomb. He's charming, witty, rich, generous, kind, and shrewd. Any world would be greatly improved if there were only ONE more Lord I. More than one would be stupendous.
Another waste of time and Peter Robinson's talent. Robinson doesn't write "too many words" and what literary genius decides which parts are dispensible? One could weep with frustration.
Go buy the book. It's excellent. But don't waste your ears on an abridged version.
After moving to Canada early in 2004, the only radio shows I missed were "Car Talk" and "This American Life." I am so grateful to Audible.com for giving me access to both. "This American Life" is quirky, unpredictable, and mesmerizing. When I read descriptions of a show, I often think I won't like it because of the subject matter...but I always end up fascinated. A recent show on automobiles was terrific from beginning to end and few people care less about cars than I do. I continue to be amazed that they produce such a high-quality program every week.
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