First, everybody is right about the narrator. I actually think she is okay for the voice of the mom, but the book is presented by chapters in the separate voices of the mom and four daughters, and she has a husky, gravelly voice that is just horrible for teen girls and children. And she didn't even attempt to vary the voices. It was impossible sometimes to tell who was speaking unless you caught the chapter intro. I really believe that books that are written from several points of view should have separate narrators for each, and why this was not done here I can't imagine. Was it budget? Did they think because it was an older book they should cut corners?
But I have to tell you that by the middle of the book, I didn't care a whit about the narrator. The story, and the writing, were so absolutely beautiful and amazing that I was captivated. There were several times I actually had to pull over and write down something that I'd heard, and I am now hunting for the print book which I've had for a long time and never found the time to read.
I particularly love the voice of Orleana Price, the mom. I started out thinking she probably wasn't much, a submissive wife of an overbearing Baptist missionary, but she is such a rich, full character, and yet expressed with such undertones of subtlety.
I cannot say enough good about this book. Don't let the narrator put you off. If you don't want to listen to her voice, read the book. If you don't have the time to read it, listen to it and you will NOT be sorry.
I bought this because of all the great reviews. Well, obviously I am not in sync with other audible listeners. This is one of the most mind numbingly boring books I have ever read, I got more than halfway through, into the second part, but could not keep reading. A waste of credits. The narrator has one of the most pleasant voices I have heard, though, and he doesn't make members of the opposite sex sound like caricatures, which is such a welcome change.
This book really held my attention, even though I have no knowledge of and minimal interest in either technology or business. And face it, that's what this book was about, which is where the disappointment comes in. This book is really a biography of Apple products, and Steve Jobs as he plays a role in them. It barely touches on family or feeling, and then only in the most superficial ways. Steve Jobs was a man who faced death, and he was a man who had pursued spiritual paths all his life. I would really like to have heard more about how he faced this final path -- the inner struggles -- not the fact that he whined when he was in pain.
But this brings us to the narrator. He did an okay job with most of the subject matter in the book. He sounded like a TV news anchorman, or like a sportscaster. The problem is that this was all he could do. In those few moments when the book began to touch on Jobs' heart or soul, the narrator was unable to switch to a matching tone. He just read it off like the scores from the day's baseball games, and it robbed the little bit of humanity right out of the book.
I did enjoy hearing about the creation of all the Apple products, and even their marketing. I did find myself cheering for Jobs, even when he was being a jerk. He was a man of vision, and a man or courage to be willing to take those extra steps to make his visions reality rather than going an easier, more cost effective route.
I am about 75 percent of the way through this book and I don't know if I can stand to listen to the rest of it. I am far from a YA but as a mom I have read lots of YA novels my kids have brought home, and many of them have been really good. This one is not. It is a children's fairy tale. If you like children's fairy tales perhaps you will enjoy it, but it definitely doesn't have what I was hoping for from Jodi Picoult.
First, the good point. Narrator Allison Hiroto is absolutely charming. It was probably only listening to her voice that made me keep slogging through to the end.
Yes, it is long, and it is wordy, and it is repetitive. But there comes a point when it is nothing short of ridiculous, so ridiculous that there is not enough willing suspension of disbelief in the world to cover it. Worst of all, aside from Ms. Hiroto's charming narration, what kept me going to the end was the prospect of some sort of explanation or resolution. There was NONE, NO explanation, and no resolution.
Terrible, really and truly terrible.
Over the months I've been listening to audiobooks, I've gotten used to overlooking the frailties of the narrators, but this one was the worst! She played a 13-year old girl like she was some sniveling preschooler. Horrible. And the story was actually worse. It's about the kidnapping of a 13-year old girl, told from the point of view of her best friend and neighbor. However, the best friend spends about half the book having romantic and sexual fantasies about the missing girl's father, and even about the kidnapper. This, of course, is mixed in with the graphic surmising by several girls as to just what happened to the girl.
I'm the parent of a missing child myself. This book is completely inappropriate. What is this author trying to say, I wonder? I don't know if it would have sounded any better in a voice other than the sniveling preschooler, but it was absolutely awful.
While there was enough in the characters to keep me listening until the end, this was your basic fairy tale, with good guys, bad guys, good witches and wicked witches. It can't help but break down when people just start hurling "spells" at each other. Narration didn't help, with the cliched voices for all.
If there was any greater point in this, I have to say I missed it entirely. I'd recommend missing the whole book if you haven't purchased it yet.
So many reviews here seemed to dwell on the experience of the mom who was kidnapped and locked up in this room for so long, but that was far from the point. The point was the child's experience, that he could have thought that the room was the whole world, and could have experienced a relatively rich existence there. Then there was the rescue, and the child being confronted with the world at large and learning to live in it. That is why the story is told from his point of view, rather than his mom's.
If this audible book suffers, it is once again from the narration. At the beginning, I did not know if I would be able to listen to the voice of the child. It was really grating at first, although by the end it was fine. The voices of the other characters were off, though. The mom was a monotonous middle aged voice, and the grandmother ... well, she was the mother of a woman in her twenties, yet she had this vibrating voice that few people even of age 95 actually have.
When oh when will these producers start coming up with narration that doesn't hurt the story?
It did, however, hold my attention.
This book had too many characters, and they moved back and forth without any rhyme or reason, without ever explaining who they were or why they were in the book. Sometimes they even switched decades unexpectedly -- throwing in a whole lot more characters when they did. I got fed up with trying to keep track and figure out who was who, but I also lost interest, in spite of the somewhat compelling primary story lines ... well, I think they were the primary story lines. They were the only ones mentioned in the synopsis anyway. It was not only not making my daily commute more pleasant (some books make me look forward to the hour-long drive to work), it was making it more frustrating. So I gave up. Perhaps it all fell together somewhere in the end, but I couldn't handle it until then.
Definitely not good audiobook material.
I almost didn't buy this book because some reviewer complained about the bad writing. In fact, I tried to get it out of my cart but couldn't, so I went ahead and got it. I am so glad I did. I can only conclude that this other reviewer doesn't know what good writing is.
This is a beautifully, beautifully written book. Its prose plunges into the depths of feeling and experience and displays them in pure poetry.
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