CA, United States | Member Since 2006
A married school teacher drives to Home Depot on a rainy night and buys the hatchet she will soon use to kill her husband.
Interesting story, right?
No. It's actually really dull. I began listening to the audiobook because I wanted an answer to the question, "How do couples get to hatchet murder?". (I'm still not sure.)
I kept listening to the audiobook to answer the question, "How and why did Joyce Maynard write such a lousy book." That, for me, became a much more interesting mystery.
Here's what I think: Maynard knew fairly early on that she had no angle on the story and no affinity with the people involved, but she had bills to pay and was reluctant (as anyone would be) to eat all the time she'd spent researching with no payday. So she did what writers do - she put words on pages. What to include? Everything.Want to know what game the five year old daughter of the woman who now lives in the house where the murder was committed was playing when Maynard finally got the owners to agree to let her see the place? It's in there! Along with an account of every unreturned phone call and every interview request refused.
And there are lots and lots of those. Virtually no one with anything to say about the murder wants to say it to Joyce Maynard.
Desperate to convince people to open up, Maynard keeps sending the dittohead sportsfans she's trying to win over copies of her books. She wants them to believe (and to believe herself) that she will elevate their story with the power of her prose.
"Get away from my Escapade," say the sportsfans. They suspect she might be an elitist, feminist, liberal*.
And they're totally right.
If Maynard can't see or comprehend that the car enthusiast, sportsfans she's writing about DON'T READ, there is no way in hell she could ever tell this story. I mean, she can forgive the hatchet murder thing, but "Faulkner who?" blinds her to their humanity.
In other words, there is a class and culture disconnect in this book you can't believe. Maynard can make no judgment about anyone, or come down on any side, because she's judged everyone. She just can't admit it. She sounds like an earnest teen coming back from the retirement home saying, " Awwwww. Those old people were so sweet." She might as well be writing about Ewoks for all the depth and variation she's given them.
But that's just me getting something off my chest.
For the book, I thought it was dull-- all detail, no organizing prinicple or insight. Not captivating for either the characters or the deed. Go nowhere long.
For the narration - Appropriately midwestern. Good, workman-like job that doesn't call attention to itself. I've no idea why anyone would have a problem with it.
*Not that there's anything wrong with being an elitist, liberal, feminist- I do it all the time :-)
Don't judge this book by it's cover. It's not a witty, hip, comment on self help. It's a fairly plodding, uninspired attempt to be helpful.
I think it's a shame Augusten Burroghs didn't take the time to address the serious issues in the book with his demonstrated skill. The lackluster prose and preachy "we're talking about you, not me" content was a terrible departure from his usual work. Imagine Miley Cyrus singing Wagner. A perplexing, painful experience.
I love you, Augusten. "Dry"'s one of my favorite books. But you need a new editor, agent, publisher or just someone who will hold you to your talent and not just cash in on your past. Be great.
I had my doubts about this book, but when Peter Sagal on NPR said he liked it, I trusted him. Peter, you owe me $17.99 and a xanax.
How is this book so popular? It's a first person narrative told by two throughly disgusting people. Do you really want two disgusting people talking to you for eight hours? I couldn't stand it.
The narrators both have whimpering puppy voices that made it so much worse. (Do you really want to feel angry at whimpering puppies for eight hours?)
To be fair, there's a lot of the book to go, so maybe the ending is good enough to make up for the first twelve torturous chapters. But I doubt it. The fact that it's based on true events makes it a non-story. Insightful? No. I think we all know what a terrible relationship is like by now.
So really, I would only listen if you want to be angry and annoyed for an extended period of time. If so, dig in.
This book is a tribute to the murdered teens. It gives a very detailed description of their lives: what they liked about school, their Harry Potter addiction, and the memorials after their deaths. The actual crime and criminal are almost never mentioned. I understand the impulse, but the result is a non-story.
Be grateful for everything your body's done for you and get ready to die.
Seriously. That's the meditation. In predictable eyes to toes progression.
"Your eyes are a miracle. They've helped you to see all these years. Be grateful."
If that sounds good to you, be my guest. But I was kind of hoping to hear my life *wasn't* over - so I was appalled.
Also - not for atheists. Be warned.
It's a great story. I side with the defense on evidence, so I enjoyed listening to Ashton lose again.
Be warned: If you want more incriminating evidence to be part of this book, you'll be disappointed. Nothing new is here revealed.
I loved the book, but I also loved the verdict. If your mind is made up against Casey, I can't imagine you'd enjoy this book very much. If you're open to the defense, I think you'll find the book thought provoking and enjoyable. Even, dare I say, persuasive.
This is one of my favorite audio books ever. Whether or not you like it will probably depend on two things:
1. Did you watch the trial and do you have strong negative feelings about the verdict? (I didn't and I don't.)
2. Are you intrigued by phrases like - "deprived of emotional oxygen". (I am.)
I think what I like most about this book is how organic it feels. It doesn't at all read like a paint-by-numbers, cash in on the trial rush job, but like a passionate, uncensored, genunine opinion. What someone really thinks. Hot!
And there's new information here as well-- my favorite being the timeline of Casey's ricocheting false selves: All the boys she claimed to love or want to love in 32 days.
The weak daddy and controlling mommy are less interesting, but necessary, I suppose. For me they're just the wormy soil underneath their daughter's wild, poisonous bloom.
Peter Capaldi is a BRILLIANT actor and the stories are both excellent. Don't Look Now is troubling. The Birds is terrifying. Du Maurier did a great job on both.
I got hooked on the John Edwards story in Game Change. For my money, all other political scandals pale in comparison.
But wait! Should you get this much pleasure out of the misfortunes of flawed mortals? Definitely not. But if you're going to do it anyway, this book is good!
First - Cassandra Campbell's narration is flawless. She found the perfect tone and did an amazing job with it.
Also - The writing's great.Easy prose. Story has good pace and flow. It tells you everything you want to know and not much you don't (I'm not a huge fan of the "How childbirth changed my life" narrative, but it passes).
If you read, "The Politician", this is a fascinatingly different perspective on the same events. It gave me a total Rashomon buzz.
As to who to believe, I'm going with Rielle. Here's why: She is SPECTACULARLY shameless. Her lack of guilt about that whole adultery thing is just jaw dropping. Not so much as a tickle of remorse. So, why would she lie? About what?
Which brings me to my final point: If there's not enough speaking ill of the dead going on in your life, you can fill up here. Not a lot of (any) sympathy for Elizabeth, but crazy, screaming shrew stories galore.
I thought the book had great content, flow, pace - everything you could ask for. If, like me, you occasionally lose your cool and live to regret it, this should be a good book for you.
As for the narration, here's a trick I learned: If you have a player that allows it (iphone, newer ipods do) speed the narration up to 1.5. The book's still fine to understand, and the narrator-itis disappears completely. Try it!
(If you can't, you may wanna think twice, because that poor, sweet guy did try a little too hard and it is pretty annoying.)
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