Indianapolis, IN, United States | Member Since 2007
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 have been an Audible member since 2007. I was so excited to see a new Tana French coming that I pre-ordered, something I have only done once or twice before. Well, I just finished it. I thought it would never end.
All Tana French books are elegantly written with detailed character development. That's why I like her. All Tana French books have a point in them where the reader really has to suspend disbelief. This was true to form.
There are two narrators, a man in the present and a women in the past. The investigation takes place in a girls' boarding school. The girls use a lot of contemporary slang which is appropriately annoying but is going to date this book quickly.
I heard one time at a book conference that after an author is established that their books get longer because they don't get edited as rigorously. I thought this book was never going to end. On Audio it was over 20 hours.
(Spoiler Alert) I'm still not sure what was going on with Rebecca and her "powers." Are we to believe that she did have powers like Stephen King's Carrie? If so, that's a cheesy way to explain things. For as l-o-o-o-o-n-g as this was, it left a lot of questions unanswered. I don't have to have everything wrapped up with a bow, but I expected more.
Of all the books, this one definitely is placed correctly in last place. Sorry, Tana, I was hoping for more.
Not just a story about a cholera outbreak, but a glimpse into life in mid-1800 London. While we walked the streets searching for the cause of the disease, we also learned little bits of side-bar worthy information such as the hierarchy of medical professionals at that time and the early use of anesthesia in surgery and childbirth. The story was over and I still had two hours left. The last two hours were really worth the book, in my opinion. It gave me a new perspective on modern city living.
Well written in a nice narrative style, it reads like a bio-terrorist thriller. It also prompted a very lively book group discussion.
I have argued with my doctor for years. He thinks I should take cholesterol medications. I told him I don't want the side effects. He gave me a glucose monitor, I don't use it. His medical assistant thought I should be on Metformin for my "pre-diabetes." I said no. I'm not just stubborn. I saw the damage to my mother's quality of life caused by prescription drugs. I have several friends whose lives revolve around getting the right balance to the many drugs they take. I have worked seven years in a medical oncology clinic. (We give chemo.)
This book brought out points that I had not considered, but make perfect sense. I think everyone should read it, but it won't change anything. Too many people are eager to sue.
What an interesting situation. I've read a lot of the "buddy cop" mysteries. One partner is usually damaged in some way while the other is the stable, reliable one. This was a different approach. Both partners are seriously damaged. Both have survived and have some survivor's guilt.
The relationship between the man and the dog is lovely to watch unfold. Both have trust issues. Those get resolved.
There are some weak points. This team seems to come together a little too quickly. They seem to have a little too much freedom. The case itself became a little predictable. But, all in all, it was a nice twist on a much-overused plot line. I hope there is not a sequel because a lot of the charm of it was the getting acquainted part.
Gripping! I couldn't stop listening.
Part one is a day-by-day you-are-there description of the five days of and after Katrina. Part two is the aftermath.
Several things colored my perspective on this book:
1. I was in NO at a convention in July, 2001. Hurricane Dennis was heading our way, and I saw how the media and the locals treated this news. One of our fellow attendees was a FEMA employee who told us how safe our hotel was. It was a place people came to ride out the storms as the families of Memorial employees did.
2. I work in an outpatient cancer treatment facility. We are a hospital department, but because we are not housed in the hospital (we are in an adjacent professional building), we do not have things like back-up generators for a power outage. This happened a few years ago, and we were not prepared.
3. The last book I read before this was "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman.He discusses that disaster plans are made based on the worst case scenario which is determined by the worst thing that has happened in the past.
I wanted to read this book because of having been in New Orleans less that two months before. While people were saying, "Why didn't people leave?" I understood why they didn't. I had been there as Hurricane Dennis approached. The national news media made us fear that we were going to be blown to Kansas. The local media treated it like a bad storm. The hotel people and other natives assured us that we were very safe at the hotel. They had been through this before and had a handle on it. We left before Dennis hit and, of course, it diverted.
The first part of the book puts the reader inside the hospital as things are happening, one day at a time. We have the same narrow vision that the staff had. Orders were given and not questioned. That's the way hospitals work. We feel the fatigue, the despair. No one knew how long this was going to last, what was happening to the other people in the city or even those who were evacuated. The viewpoint is almost claustrophobic.
Part two is the aftermath. We learn things that we didn't know while we suffered through the five days. I don't want to say too much here. Just suffice it to say that there was a severe lack of leadership, a lot of miscommunication, and poor decisions were made as a result.
This is a very readable book with the feel of a good edge-of-your seat suspense thriller. The epilogue gives hope that these kinds of decisions won't be made in the future.
The reviews finally convinced me to give this a try. It was more than I expected.
The story takes place in Ireland, but it could have been anywhere. If the narrator had not reminded us, it would have been easy to forget the location. The way people think, react, and interact is universal. I did wonder that the narrator was able to hide his identity from his employer, but I thought perhaps it was easier to get away with that in Ireland.
The story involves several overlapping and interwoven mysteries. Sometimes in audio,this is hard to separate out, but I had no confusion whatsoever.
I loved the ending. It wasn't what I expected at all, and I liked the refreshing turn that it took. It was more realistic than most.
I love good writing and good plot. One of my favorite authors for that is Dennis Lehane. His mysteries set in Boston are gritty, dark, and graphic, yet there is an elegance in his descriptions, and he really can surprise me. Tana French is from the same school of writing. There was nice character development and elegant touches. The plot took some unusual twists, but the outcome wasn't contrived or unnatural at all. Everything was very logical, yet still surprising.
The weak spot was the reader. He had a nice easy-to-understand British accent which he explained early on. But he didn't read women well, especially Cassie, the female "lead." All of her dialogue sounded like an excited 12-year-old. Because of the voice of the reader, I kept thinking the narrator was older than he really was. Whenever they would mention his age, I'd stop and remember that he wasn't as old as he sounded. Had the reader been a bit better, this would have been five-stars across the board.
I have downloaded two more Tana French books and I can't wait! I'm excited to find a talented new author. Thanks, Audible!
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 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!
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