Don't read this if you're looking for a cynical exposé of the religious right. Don't read this if you're looking for a sugar-coated story of Christian conversion. The Unlikely Disciple is neither of those. It's a nuanced and non-jaded account of the author's "study abroad" experience inside Jerry Falwell's Liberty University. Along with The Faith Club, this book belongs on reading lists for college courses, book clubs and discussion groups interested in healing our nation's religious and cultural divide. Not only is Kevin Roose a prodigious writer--there's no other explanation for this high a level of achievement at so young an age--he's also a wise person and a corrective role model for those of us prone to judging and stereotyping the "other."
I can't imagine why a previous reviewer regards this book as poorly written. I beg to differ; it's a masterful work of non-fiction which has been recognized as such by important critics and award committees. If the objection is, I've heard all this before, consider that Isabel Wilkerson isn't necessarily addressing scholars. This book brings a critical component of American history to those of us who have heard little, if anything, about the Great Migration, neglected as it has been in public education. The book is eminently readable, thanks to the novelistic way her three principal characters are brought to life. Their individual stories illustrate the complex motivations, means and outcomes of Great Migration participants. Fascinating, compelling, thought-provoking, and expertly narrated--I can't recommend it highly enough.
Julia Glass is a master of rendering family dynamics. Her 'Three Junes' is another fine example of this. Although it's skillfully written, I didn't enjoy 'The Widower's Tale' as much as I hoped, due to certain plot elements that seemed implausible to me, especially the behavior of a college-aged character who thoughtlessly involves himself in illegal activities. I don't want to go the spoiler route, so I'll leave it at that.
Never a dull moment--not even when he explains guitar riffs, and I don't play the guitar or understand much about the technical aspects of music-making. Stones fans will love the inside scoop on how certain songs were written, and this includes the debunking of quite a few mythical interpretations of lyrics.
Richards and his co-writer manage a huge amount of material brilliantly. The writing style is conversational, which perfectly suits the first-person account and its subject matter. I feel as if I know Keith Richards now, and for all his wildness, like the guy very much, thank you.
Johnny Depp does a fine enough job narrating his portion, but Joe Hurley is magnificent. Along with his expressiveness, he has a convincing accent and a similar throatiness in his voice as the author's, who also makes a brief appearance in the narration. Dig it!
This is a compelling story that humanizes the spy like no other espionage tale I've encountered.
Nicely narrated, too.
Be prepared to laugh and cry. Here is the gold standard for the memoir. I don't care what anybody says about the dialogue--that Frank McCourt couldn't possibly have remembered who said what fifty years in the past. So what. The reader (or listener) understands that he has dramatized scenes to make them more vivid, which doesn't make the story ring any less true. He is relating the spirit of what occurred.
As a narrator, McCourt shines. I doubt anyone could've read his memoir with the same energy he brings to it. The Irish flavor comes through beautifully, including in the occasional song, and especially in his characterizations. What they add to the audiobook makes it even better than the print version. I recommend it highly.
Aficionados of organized-crime history will find familiar names and settings here, but with an exotic twist. The backgrounding on Cuban culture and politics was particularly satisfying for me.I knocked off one star from my rating because this treatment didn't rise to the level of truly riveting non-fiction. But listeners just acquainting themselves with true-life characters of the mob should find it more engaging.
The narrator was all right, but his lousy pronunciation of Spanish terms irritated me enough to reduce my rating by another star. Couldn't they get a bilingual narrator for a book so steeped in Spanish language?
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