As I began listening to this story, I had an instant kinship to Sebastian Raines, an almost 12 year old boy abandoned by his mother at a Greyhound station in California. And so begins a heartwarming road trip across America with a sweet young boy entirely dependent on the kindness of strangers. Narrator, Nick Podehl, perfectly captures the voices of the never-ending array of strangers Sebastian encounters drivers, waitresses, convicts and pedophiles. He does them so well that I had to check that this was not a dramatized book with numerous narrators.
I wanted to much to LOVE this story. But in the end, I only ever liked it. Author, Steffan Piper, almost gets you there, and you, the reader believe you are on your way to something like a modern-day Huckleberry-Finn. But he never fully delivers. The story is at its best when the author shares vignettes with varying strangers. But as the story wore on, and the strangers all disembark, and the story transitions toSebastian`s back story. This is where the author lost me. In a typical novice writer's flaw, he failed to show me the story. Everything is told. In fact, it is over-told, as though the author did not trust his reader to get it - Sebastian has a terrible mother. Sebastian stutters. Sebastian needs to become a man.
I wanted very much to LOVE the interracial, intergenerational story of Sebastian and Marcus (a kind-hearted convict who teaches Sebastian what kind of man he can choose to be), but then it just fizzles out. What began as a tale I could not wait to return to, ended with an adolescent`s self analysis that I was just as eager to finish.
Almost perfect. But the distance between perfect and almost perfect is equal to a Greyhound bus trip that ends in Albequerque, and one that ends in Altuna.
It took me forever to get through this book. With the final sentence ended I asked myself what I had learned. The only real insight was a 10-minute section on the difficulty psychopaths have with sequencing and story-telling. Fascinating. But overall, I found the information gleaned to be rather superficial and skewed almost entirely to criminality. In addition, Boehmer's narration was rather snooty throughout. He added authentic sarcasm where it was clear that the author was condescending to his colleagues or when quoting actual psychopaths. But by the end, I was over the whole "smartest guy in the room" feel that I got from the author and especially as it was narrated.
Robert Hare is the self-proclaimed inventor of the Psychopathy Checklist. But that is the one thing missing from this audio book - the actual check list. And so he ends the book by saying that if you are a victim of a psychopath, educate yourself and seek professional help - which is probably what many people thought they were doing when buying this book. Hmm.
I read the reviews and kept this book on my wish list for months before finally downloading it. Then, within the first 2 minutes, I almost went back for the exchange - the narrator's voice and cadence were strangely off-putting. Very glad I kept listening.
In fact, I listened to the whole thing in 1 day - as the story was rapid and engrossing. Beyond the horrific world that provides the setting and theme for this story, Neal Shusterman provided a cast of complex and engaging characters. Very fulfilling for a YA read (as I am a mom of 40+). I even came around to enjoying the narrator's embodiment of the various characters. I would also like to thank Mr Shusterman for providing a fully realized story. So often series stories leave too much out in order the get you to buy the next installment. And though I am very likely to pick up the next book in the series, I loved getting a satisfying resolution at the end of Unwind. Thanks to the author for respecting the reader with a full and captivating (if rather frightening) story.
Though the story is intriguing, Monebetrand's voice is so terribly whiny that it distracted me throughout the story. I would recommend the Kindle Edition instead so you can create your own voices. Because once you spend a few hours listening to variations on the teenage whine - shrilly and slightly congested for Shay, morose and nasal for Tally, sulky and overly-tired for David, Cruella DeVille meets Gilbert Gotfried for Dr. Cable - you will never be able to enjoy these characters ever again.
Read other reviews for comments on the story which is suspenseful, and the writing with is tight, and the love triangle which is a bit predicable. The, if you decide this is the book for you - READ it yourself, and prevent these voices for taking up residence in your imagination.
This is the fictionalized story of real life prince of fences - Ikey Solomon - and his long suffering mistress, the fictional Mary Abacus. In every way a brutal tale, chilling heartbreaking and riveting. I was not sure I could bear the brutality of certain scenes - but for the amazing talents of Narrator Humphrey Bower! This book was all the more powerful and heart-wrenching thanks to Bower's ability to bring the voices, dialects and 19th Century slang to life and to carry us through the hell that Courtenay's characters endure with the spunk and determination that prevented this story from wallowing in its own despair.
I was captivated by the world Bryce portrays and horrified by the cruelty of its inhabitants. This is not a tale for the faint of heart, and I may need to catch my breath before picking up the sequel, Tommo & Hawk, but I will long have these voices in my head - not to mention the song sung by Sperm Whale Sally . . . . Well done Mr. Bower. Well done, me dearie.
Be prepared for a leisurely pace. The first 1/2 of the story is more of a sketch of a post-electronic world than an actual story. Built to be idealistic more than realistic, this dystopian world clearly depicts the author's preference for a world with less technology. He succeeded in making me imagine the beauty that could await us if we found ourselves back in synch with nature's rhythms, but the entire story softens the blows--until the strange and abruptly violent ending. The plot takes its time developing, then takes an ugly turn in a way that seemed incongruous with the Andy Griffith beginning.
An additional note of complaint is the author's treatment of women. Not only are they all emotionally weak, needy, manipulative or disturbed, they rely exclusively on men for their care and feeding. Kunstler's main source of differentiating between them is by remarking on their various breast sizes, which only exaggerates this misogynist worldview.
Before adding this book to my summer reading (& listening) list, I had just finished Alas Babylon (1959, Pat Frank). The similarities are abundant. The biggest difference is in the story telling. Babylon builds suspense while offering plenty of commentary, thus never feeling dull and weary. The narrator for Alas Babylon also kept the pace and intensity in a way that Jim Meskimen never mastered. I was also able to forgive Pat Frank for his 1950's treatment of women (pre-women's liberation). On the other hand, I could not get past Kunstler's apparent chauvinism .......and racism. Really? Are no minorities in all of upstate New York? In Kunstler's future they are entirely relegated to race wars in urban centers far, far away.
Will Patton nails the narration with the kind of southern drawl that lets you close you eyes in the coldest February night and blieve you're sipping lemonade in a 1950s hot Florida summer afternoon, So wonderful is this gossiping drawl to lay out the horror that comes quickly as the cold war takes a chilling turn.
This was my first WhisperSync audible purchase and I loved going back and forth from Kindle to Audible. The story was suspenseful and filled with entertaining characters--best described (as the author does throughout) as Shaggy, Daphne, Velma and Fred. Oh how we cheer for "Shaggy" and adore the sharp-tonged, Russian "Velma" and the blue-haired "Daphne" as they solve all the riddles of the universe locked in apartment.....oops, spoiler alert.
As with most Sci-Fi, when you finally look behind the curtain it is never quite as thrilling as the pages you just raced through to get there. But Peter Clines does not hold back on any of the potential for other-worldly adventure.
All that being said, by far the best feature of this audio-book is the narrator--Ray Porter. For my next audible purchase, I will definately seek out another book based on his narration. He was able to use different voices for each of the characters in this vast ensemble--not an easy task with the various ethnic backgrounds and the different women involved. And he did so masterfully. When the final threatening voices are added at the end of the tale, Mr. Porter nailed the haunting/threatening voice which sounded (to me at least) similar to Gollum. Bravo on an outstanding narration!
If you want to spend the next 9-10 hours solving puzzles and running for you life--this is absolutely the story for you!
I love Stephen Colbert, but this was such a disappointment. Every once in a while, on the Colbert Report, you realized that Stephen just stretching for time...not enough material and 4 1/2 minutes to fill. Over and over again I caught myself thinking--that's what he's doing here. Just stretching for time--in a REALLY short book to begin with. Yes there were many moments of cutting satire, but surrounding them was way too much over-cute, meaningless routines. Perhaps these were the monologues that didn't make it onto the Colbert Report.
If you've ever wondered what it would be like if the genius mind of Stephen Colbert was ever loose to go deep into American hypocracy, taking the time to connect the dots of all that we pretend to be and the liars who spin the American dream.......well, this is not that.
But if you like the Colbert Report and wish you could pay $20.00 to get 3 hours of it, then this is thePERFECT audio book for you.
The suspenseful way the story developes grabs you from the very start--all the way to the epilogue.
Zuckoff was able to weave the various characters in such a way that each one leaps off the page--from the spunky WAC, to the troubled parashooter, to the chief of the Dani tribe. I especially enjoyed the anthropological data so experately woven into a dramatic narrative.
The book is action-packed throughout. But the post plane-crash survival of the 3 main chacters, their injuries and treatment was especially gripping.
As an aside to any parents who want to choose vivid audio-books for their entire families--this book thoroughly entertained my whole family on a recent road trip. There is plenty of action and moments of drama--but never overtly vulgar, no over-the-top language or sexuality. This is increasingly rare to pull it off believably--but Zuckoff rose to the challenge.
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