Santa Rosa, CA, United States | Member Since 2010
What I loved best about Heft was that I felt like I was living the main character's life. The author was able to write the book in a manner that allowed me to feel that I was on the inside of his mind, understanding his motives and choices. He was such an interesting, brilliant, gentle man while at the same time he was trapped within himself and within his home.
I suppose that Heft reminded me of Anne Tyler novels, like "Accidental Tourist" perhaps. Unbelievable character development. The reader gets to live the life of another.
The reading of Heft was brilliant. The story telling with two different voices allowed me to more fully live the lives of the two main characters whose ages were vastly separated.
This book did not make me laugh or cry but did make me feel deeply the importance of development of friendships and the value of creating one's own family of friends as opposed to a birth family. This book allowed me to observe the protagonist's great ability to find love and acceptance of himself and of others.
If you don't mind the heavy Australian accent, the narration of this novel is well done. I found that the longer I listened, the more I could overlook the heavy accent and enjoy the sing-song quality of the voices presented. The story is kind-of a fun suburban mystery involving several Australian families. This book could be in the "chick-lit" category because so many of the main characters are suburban, middle-aged women who are coping with children, husbands, jealousies and, then, a murder. The story held my interest and I do recommend it as a light, fun, and different kind of mystery novel.
"Fingersmith" was the second book that I listened to by this author; the first book I listened to, I thoroughly enjoyed. This book was much to the contrary; in fact, it was one long disappointment. The narrator's voices were grating and uneven, almost unbearable. The story line did have a few surprises and was historically of some interest but it was too incredible and too long. I did finish the book partially because I kept waiting for it all to come together but the ending was not worth the wait. The characters were un savory people; none of whom had any redeeming qualities. Rather than growing to respect and understand the characters, I found myself disliking them more and more. I do not recommend this listen. This may be a book better to actually read on the page to spare yourself the terrible narration.
The Paying Guests was a thoroughly enjoyable listen/read on so many levels. The narration by Juliet Stevenson provides clarity, perfect intonation, even tones and precise pronunciation. The story was beautifully developed, drawing the reader in towards understanding the main characters and the choices they are faced with given the confines of the times in regard to culture, religion, and family expectations. Many issues were explored throughout the development of the story providing the reader with historical perspectives while at the same time moving through surprising twists and turns of plot lines. This was my first book written by Sarah Waters and I enjoyed it so much that I went on to read another novel by Ms. Waters, "Fingersmith"; a book which was in no way as enjoyable or interesting.
Edward Adrift is the second great book about the character, Edward. This book is best appreciated after reading the first Edward book (600 Hours of Edward). The two books could have been combined into Part I and then Part II, but having two books worked also. I just loved Edward's well-intentioned, honest, and rigid life. The reader is taken gently into the inner workings of Edward's thinking and routines; its fun and interesting to see life through his eyes. By the time that I had finished this book, I wished that I could have him over for coffee. He is quite hilarious and lovable while at the same time his character is absolutely believable. It's like he could live next door. In this book, he stretches past the boundaries of comfort and rigidity as he begins to make connections and feel a part of a circle of friendships. He also explores his parental relationships and begins to establish a stronger sense of self as he moves past his diagnoses and into a more complex life. Of course with more people in his life, all of his routines become compromised causing him much consternation and consideration. The considerations and conversations that he has with himself and others are genuinely human and are quite touching while at the same time are humorous and, sometimes, side-splitting hilarious. I laughed out loud several times while listening. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a sweet, entertaining novel delving into the life of another quirky human...... maybe just like you or someone you know?
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Finding the "Edward" books came at the perfect time for me. I needed to be entertained with an engaging story due to some recent difficult life events and this "Edward" was the perfect remedy. Edward is such a likable, straight forward, linear guy. Yes, he takes it all a bit too far but he tries so hard to do things right that it is hard not to grow fond of him and his blustering ways. I enjoyed how he learned from his therapist and was thinking about the lessons he learned from her as he went about his daily life. I enjoyed how he stretched himself just a little at a time. This book was refreshing, sweet and hopeful while at the same time interesting and entertaining. I just had to read the next "Edward" book after enjoying this one so much.
This book comes ever so close to being four stars but just barely misses the mark. I did enjoy the listen all the way through except that Griff, the father of Calli, is an unlikeable, ignorant, mean man with zero redeeming qualities presented in his character. Thus, I could not stop feeling angst about why the wife and mother of his children (Antonia) could not break out of the cycle of violence. She was presented as a good mother who was intelligent, thoughtful and beautiful but she tolerated his abuse and failed to protect and understand her children. The story's credibility was compromised because of this but, then again, that is the oppression of silence. I found the premise of Calli's selective mutism to be credible. The disappearance of the girls was well developed and exciting. The author also created an interesting twist as she had the two families coping together with the disappearance of their daughters. The narration of this book was well done but, again, Griff is such a creep and sounds like such a creep, I couldn't get past it. If the author's intention is to make the reader hate Griff, she did a great job. Maybe you better read this book yourself and see what you think.
First of all, I have to admit that I am not a big fan of a courtroom drama but I read many reviews of this book and do enjoy a mystery, so I gave it a listen. There were parts of this story that were exciting but overall it was frustrating, bogged down in minutia and disappointing. I found myself daydreaming while waiting for anything pertinent to take place. Maybe I just prefer a murder mystery where the focus is on solving the crime. This book overlooks solving the crime and, then, suddenly at the end, the murderer is revealed. I read one review that suggests that listening to Chapter 40 first (where the murderer is revealed) and then listening to the book helps the reader understand what is happening and I don't doubt that to be true. Also, I understand there is a movie of this book, so perhaps watching the movie first would help. Yet, I was left wondering why the author had the characters working on prosecuting a crime while no one was interested in solving the crime. The narrator is perfect. I enjoy the cadence and tone of his reading very much.
When I listened to the preview of this book, I worried that I would not enjoy the strong Chinese dialect of the reader as she portrays dialect of a Chinese American young woman but, as I listenened, I grew to love the sound and thoroughly enjoyed the Chinese dialect along with the interesting interpretations of American slang and Chinese slang. This was an inspiring story of the love between a mother and her daughter and the courage of these two Chinese immigrants to succeed. Through the experience of the young girl, Kim, the reader learns of the poverty and the hardships that face these immigrants. It was a fantastic story of courage, love, dedication, and the difficult challenges that face young women.
I don't want to spoil this book for anyone so will write an oblique review without a spoiler. As a female reader interested in issues of psychology, society and storyline, I found it interesting in its exploration of the tragedy of the White middle-class "housewife" of the 50's in the United States; especially as it pertains to the many secrets and facades required in those times of strict role requirements for men and women. Many issues were explored and the characters were well developed. The book felt anti-climactic as it moved towards the end but, overall, this book was well written and engaging. The reader did a beautiful job with the voices and, in that sense, it was a pleasure to listen to.
First of all, the same reader plays all parts and throughout the entire book, I could not tell which character's voice was talking which was quite confusing. This lack of clarity continued through much of the book. Secondly, the story was slow getting started and then gradually built to an interesting premise only to lose all credibility as it began to move towards the end. The storyline does keep moving, however, and keeps the reader guessing enough to encourage continued listening. This book had promise with its interesting and mysterious storyline, but it did not deliver overall. I need a storyline to have more credibiity than this one offered.
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