Found this book as a recommendation for those who loved "The Help". While slower, and in many ways simpler, I still found it heart warming. The simple prose is often poetic and it speaks to classic themes of youth, aging, love... and whether losses can be mended over time.
I would recommend this and in fact, bought two copies for friends/family.
True story of character and grit triumphing. Especially like the challenge faced by Joe, the protagonist, as he struggles to be a self-made man while being a true (and trusting) member of a team. Given his history of abandonment, this is no easy task.
Not sure why this is getting rave reviews. The basic premise (that an African-American housekeeper might inherit a gazillion bucks in a deep southern town, and that this might cause a stir...) is repeated over and over. The characters are one dimensional, and the resolution to the big question (why did the dead man give her all this money in his will) is obvious 2/3s of the way through. This is the second recent Grisham book I've been disappointed by... and I'm done.
The premise, that a murder victim looked exactly like our detective Cassie, was just too far-fetched. Add to that the associated assumptions: that she could impersonate the dead woman among her closest friends, students, and colleagues, and that it was somehow worth risking Cassie's life to send her undercover as the dead woman, and you've got something just too bogus to swallow. I pressed on to the end because I loved the first book in the series ("In the Woods") and I loved the character (Cassie) from it. I had also been captivated by the author's beautiful writing and characterizations, some of which came through in this second book. As a result, I'll consider the next one in the series.
Much of the time the main character is off setting up a plan that he knows about, but hasn't shared with the audience. So the big reveal is simply a matter of finally letting us in on what he has known all along. It is far better when the reader and the hero are both discovering new information and sharing in the suspense.
I really wanted to like the book, but it was too slow and after 3 hours of listening (with my iPod turned up to "fast" narration) I gave up, mainly because I realized I didn't care about the characters even after so much time with them. I can generally tolerate and appreciate slow character development, as long as it is sufficiently rewarding. Something about these folks didn't click and I don't really care how their hostage ordeal ends...
One of the best Audible books I've ever listened to. Great narration. Great story. You really get to know the characters at many levels, magnified by the intensity of warfare. So many big issues (like the meaning of life, good vs. evil, race relations) are woven into exquisitely detailed scenes populated by characters you grow to love. The sights, the smells, the sounds, the terror, the relief, and ultimately the brotherhood of combat are all there. You'll be infuriated by incompetent leaders. You'll laugh and cry along with troops. Hated to see it end.
The first half was a detailed and engaging story of the Louis's development, his military training, combat, and survival at sea. The relentless and sadistic brutality of the Japanese captors frankly grew repetitive... I got the picture more than once. (Possible spoiler alert as to what follows...) But the superficial and uncritical handling of his conversion and salvation following a couple encounters with Billy Graham was disappointing.
I only made it 1/4 through. Just didn't care enough for the main character (Patty) to tolerate her self-indulgence and dysfunction. And something about the narrator's snide tone started to become intolerable. I tried to stick out out, but the benefits were repeatedly exceeded by the displeasure.
Listened during long commutes and didn't want my drives to end! Complex but engaging characters, wonderful narration, humor and depth, themes of justice and freedom that transcend racial and political stereotypes. You really care about the characters and grow to love them. Best book I've listened to in 10 years. Now the biggest problem is what to read next? Nothing is likely to come up to this standard.
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