Indianapolis, IN, United States | Member Since 2007
Spoiler Alert! I don't usually read "romances" but I was suckered in by all the hype. I hope they are generally better written.
First point: the vocabulary.
If I had known, I would have kept track of how many times Ana said, "Ooooh, myyyyy!" That seemed to be the only reaction the author could think of.
I told my daughter (who is a book editor) that if they make a movie of this, the audience will miss half the dialog since there was so much of it that was "murmured." There were entire conversations that were murmured.
In my entire life, I had never heard the word "clambered" used that much.
Second point: the attraction.
Ana is attracted to this man, but the only thing she keeps repeating is how stunningly beautiful he is. She's not a gold-digger, but she is so taken by his looks. I can understand a naive young woman (are there really women this naive and innocent?) being flattered by the attentions of a 27-year-old self-made billionaire (is there one of these besides Mark Zuckerberg?), but there doesn't seem to be a lot beyond infatuation.
Third point: the precedent.
I'm not a prude and I'm not a stranger to erotic fiction. I've written some myself. When I finished this book, I thought back over it. This naive young girl was lured into a world that she knew nothing about by a dashingly handsome man. He flattered her and cajoled her. The book romanticizes a jealous possessive stalker who abused her physically and mentally, and who convinced her that she wanted it. He never told her he loved her because he didn't.
I thought about all the young women who would read this book, and fall in love with Christian Grey. Domestic violence is on the rise in this country. I have known a few victims of it, and I know how difficult it is for them to leave the abuser because "he loves me." I worry that naive young women who find themselves in abusive relationships will be more tolerant because they will think it's okay after reading this book.
Fourth point: the narrator.
She was equal to the quality of the writing.
I will not be downloading the sequels.
I am not a prude, and I have read a number of books and watched a lot of documentaries about true crimes. I finished this only because I wondered what the point was.
The story of Tony and his family is tragic. He was a normal bright teenager who sustained a traumatic head injury that greatly altered his personality. Trying to figure out how to cope, he started writing to imprisoned serial killers to help him understand his impulses. A good portion of the book is the actual letters from these serial killers. It is not for the faint of heart. They brag about their crimes, not leaving out a single sickening detail. I did not realize there were as many serial killings as there are. I did not recognize any of the men who were highlighted in this book.
I felt like there was a lot of padding in this book. It could almost have been a several-part magazine series. I also wondered about the killers' reactions to the book. They were very open with Tony because he didn't want something from them, then he exposes them here.
I felt the conclusion was weak. The "big revelation" wasn't satisfying enough for me. I would only recommend this to someone who enjoys graphic stories of rape, torture, murder, and mutilation.
I've heard people talk about Scientology. I remember seeing ads on television for "Dianetics by L Ron Hubbard." I never knew quite what it was, but they sure did advertise a lot. (As I recall the book moved toward the screen bursting from flames.)
Based on the name and the fact that L Ron Hubbard was a science fiction writer. I assumed that the people involved would be techie types, smart and educated, into cutting edge technology. Wow! Was I wrong!
The author tells her story, and what a story it is. She is a third-generation Scientologist. I had no idea it had been around that long. She basically grew up alone since she was separated from her parents at an early age. Making this even more interesting is the fact that her parents were high-ranking people in the organization, and her uncle became the head of it when LRH died. With those credentials, you would think she would have lived the good life. No so.
Describing day-to-day operations, I got the impression of people being almost automatons. They were constantly being watched by each other. Every imperfection and indiscretion was reported. It also made me curious so I Googled "Scientology uniforms" so see what they wore. This just enhanced the vision of brainwashed uniformed minions like those in a bad science fiction movie.
While the actual people who do the work are treated poorly, the celebrity members are treated very well. My daughter commented that she read some celebrities stay because the organization has a lot of personal info on them that was gathered during their auditing sessions.
I think the thing that struck me the most was the lack of education. The current head, David Miscavige, dropped out of school at age 16. The author's parents were also drop-outs. Most startling was at one point, the author had an opportunity to leave, and the reason she stayed was because she knew that she would not be able to fit into public school with her lack of education. Her only knowledge was the teachings of LRH.
This was a very interesting inside look at a non-mainstream religion that I knew almost nothing about.
I remember the morning that I switched on the television and heard the news from Jonestown. It was truly unbelievable. How could this happen? This book put me inside Jonestown, standing next to the victims, feeling their hopes and dreams turn to confusion then fear.
The author had unprecedented access to written and audio information. She also was able to talk to some of the survivors and others involved. I can't imagine the challenge of sorting all this out and deciding what to include. But she did a great job.
Instead of just an overview, we follow several people who were there from the time they joined until the end. We are able to see their motivation and meet the charismatic Jones through them. We are on the journey with them.
Because these are personal stories, the ending is even more tragic. There are the hundreds of senseless casualties. There are the haunted survivors and relatives.
This is also a study in how the power hungry exploit the vulnerable. A psychological prison is much harder to escape than a brick and mortar one.
The lesson from this is that real people were drawn to a charismatic man who offered them Utopia. We have all been hoodwinked in lesser ways by advertising that plays to our weaknesses. In this situation, could we also have been a victim?
Harry will never understand women, including his daughter. This is one of the charms of Harry Bosch.
This is an interesting book because it uses real events. Harry is working on cold cases again and pulls out a murder from the LA riots in 1992. I found it very authentic that the higher-ups would not want the murder of a white woman to be the only murder case solved from that time period, though it did seem odd that they would not have pressed harder on it at the time since this was would have international implications, and she was a journalist.
I enjoyed Harry's minimal knowledge of technology and his reliance on his partner to dig up information for him.
I thought the ending was a little too contrived. Without giving anything away, I wondered about the motivation of the person who came to his aid. It seemed that person would have had other cases to investigate.
If there are any more Harry Bosch books, and I hope there are, pu-leeeze get a different reader. What a plodding delivery. I use an MP3 player that I put on fast speed and it was still slow. (I did listen to it at real speed for a while.) I know that Michael Connelly can afford better that that!
What a great story. A girl with more curiosity and determination than sense left her home in Australia and found herself in the middle of France during WWII.
This is an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride, but one of the things I most enjoyed about it was that the author did not paint Nancy as a saint. She smoked and swore and could out-drink most men. She was willful and had some definite personality quirks. I had to keep reminding myself how young she was and the attitudes of the time. (She was just a few years older than my mother.) All this made it much more interesting for me.
I am so glad that I saw this book. It would make great reading for young women, late high school and college age.
If you like raw graphic violence, look to Scandinavia. There are several authors who will deliver. Jo Nesbo is one of the best. His characters are real. The good guys are as flawed as the bad guys. In this one, the plot kept me guessing, and when I heard the voice say, "Audible hopes you have enjoyed this..." I looked over at my MP3 player and said, "What?!" Make sure you are sitting down for the final moments.
Harry Hole is back, and when you thought he couldn't get any more scarred up, well, you were wrong. Half-way through this book, I could smell him.
Enjoy another visit from Harry Hole.
I wasn't sure what I was going to hear when I downloaded this book. (It was recommended by a friend.) I was pleasantly surprised. I learned a lot about prehistoric man: his life, his living conditions, his relationships. I learned a lot more about a long-ago time than I anticipated. Our history explains some of our contemporary actions if we know how to correctly interpret it.
Dennis Lehane has a very elegant way of turning a phrase, even in a gritty, edgy novel like this. His characters are real, flawed, not necessarily likable all the time, but with genuine emotions. The narrator has a lazy cadence to his voice that might be annoying if he were reading a third-person novel, but as Patrick (don't call me Pat) McKenzie, it works. I highly recommend for the non-squeamish listener who wants to feel like he's sitting in a Boston bar listening to Patrick tell this story over some beers.
This book had been recommended to me several times by the same person, but I just hadn't gotten around to it. I'm sorry I waited so long.
I like a book that has a great story, interesting and believable characters, good writing, and information. This is the whole package.
I knew very little about the Japanese internment in the US during WWII. Now I want to learn more.
The narrator is first-rate. He does a nice job with the female characters and gives a hint of an accent when appropriate without being difficult to understand.
This would be a very good book for anyone from a teenager on up. The lesson is universal and timeless.
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