I got into this book slowly but the more I listened the more intrigued I became. Towards the end I could hardly put it down. I took the dog for an hour walk this afternoon in freezing weather just to get to the ending, and when i got home i had 15 minutes left so I picked up my knitting to hear the last bit.
The reason i just HAD to hear the very end was that there was one piece of forensic evidence presented at the trial that was never explained, and with the verdict delivered and 5 minutes left on the recording I was still thinking 'what the heck?'. Then at the very very end it all made sense...... and totally creeped me out. I'll be having nightmares about it tonight. Enjoy!
The reader was great but the editing wasn't. Some of the scene changes in the story took place with not even a second between them, which made it confusing for a few seconds to realize that I was now listening to a different speaker in a new situation.
If any book will ever motivate you to care about larger global human rights issues and living conditions, this one will! The problems the authors describe are horrendous, yet they manage to bring a message of hope and success, and offer suggestions on what can be done to help.
I didn't agree with their overly politically correct attitude towards the role of culture and religion in contributing to third-world problems, but they certainly have a wealth of experience to bring to the discussion.
I was warned about the religious theme of this book by previous reviewers, but I was curious enough to want to listen anyway. So I'll just say this - to an atheist like myself, this storyline is about as realistic as the Exorcist or Rosemary's Baby or Harry Potter.
If you can put that aside, and treat it as fantasy, then it's a fairly good story. There were times it was so far-fetched that I was tempted to give up, but Picoult strung me along enough that I had to stay with it to the end just to see how she wrapped it up.
I have to give the author credit for her portrayal of an atheist based on the fact that this book was published in 1999 and non-belief was less well-known back then. This book precedes 9/11, Dawkins' The God Delusion, and the rise of the 'nones'. Picoult obviously did her research and gets Ian Fletcher's character pretty much dead-on for most of the book, but unfortunately he 'wimps out' in sappy political correctness at the end.
The narrators were good but I had difficulty distinguishing the two different voices, and not sure why it was necessary to have two narrators anyway.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book as I do all of Crombie's. But I found it confusing for the first hour or so. I paused it and did some research before continuing. It takes place on the Isle of Dogs, and if you aren't familiar with that, you won't understand what the author is talking about and the geography of the crime scene. Before listening, take a minute to look it up on a detailed map such as google maps, and zoom in to Mudchute Park and find Ferry Road and the docks. It's a fascinating place with a fascinating history. After looking at the map, take a quick look at the article about it on Wikipedia. You'll find the book much more enjoyable once you are familiar with the scenario.
This book was a best-seller in 1927, when it created a furor and was apparently banned in several cities. I got it on a whim, because it was on sale and i had vaguely heard of it, but it turned out to be a whopper of a book. Billed as a satire of organized religion, it tells the story of a ruthless, narcissistic evangelist. Only i didn't find it particularly satirical; the story rings far too true-to-life to me, as a non-believer and ex-Christian. Really sad, tho, that it was written almost 90 years ago, and yet nothing has changed. It foretells the Moral Majority decades early, and Gantry could be almost any televangelist or mega-church pastor today. It's a long book, and there are times when the story does bog down a bit, but overall it's a very entertaining and biting look at our society. The narrator is excellent, giving the characters just the right amount of attitude without overdoing it.
if you studied English and loved poetry, you're in luck with this book. The story centers around a poet and there are frequent quotations from the poems of Rupert Brook. I almost gave up on it during the first couple of chapters, because English was decidedly NOT my favorite class in school, and I abhor artsy poetry in particular. I stuck it out only because once I find an author I like, I always read his or her books in sequence.
I'm glad i didn't give up on this. The plot became more interesting as the story wore on. Around the middle of the book there is another death, and suddenly it became a page-turner. In addition, it contains essential background info concerning Kincaid's personal life, which I would have missed if I had given up and skipped to the next book in the series.
The author has mastered the disdainful upper-class drawl of the cultured English snob.
If this is supposed to generate sympathy for 'mercy killing' or 'euthanasia', it's a poor example. First of all, no credible person advocates for true euthanasia, the deliberate killing of someone not capable of requesting it and giving informed consent. What many of of do support is 'medically assisted death', which is now legal in several US states and European countries, but that operates under very strict ethical rules, which limit it to people who are already actively dying from terminal diseases, request it of their own volition, give informed consent, and are too sick/physically weak to complete the act on their own. In this novel, while Jamie does kill his wife supposedly at her own request, he does so while she is still well enough to jitterbug the evening before; despite her cancer, no jurisdiction would support him killing her at this stage, and especially while she was clearly still strong enough to have taken her own life. While I did find myself sympathizing with Jamie's motives, the plot was just a little too bizarre to be believable.
Actually, a lot of this novel is beyond belief. Suspend everything you know about police procedure and medical examiners, and transport yourself into the town of Brigadoon. What sort of employer would hire an unknown assistant right off the street without knowing anything about her? That's what Allie does. I kept wanting to know more about Mia's background and motivation throughout the novel, but she left as abruptly as she appeared and I never found out. And don't get me started on Cam's flaky mother. The characters in this book are all just weird.
I didn't give up on it, and toward the end I did get a little more into it, but overall not one of the author's best.
The author didn't pull any punches in depicting the brutality of life during the time period of this book. Her website says that she lives in the area and toured a local plantation, read slave narratives, visited the Black History Museum, interviewed the descendants of slaves, etc., and I believe it.
The narrators are perfect for the voices; one slightly Irish accent, one African-American. I immediately recognized Turpin's voice from House Girl and The Help. It took me 2 tries to get into the story; the first time I gave up after half an hour, rewound, and started again. There are just so many characters and situations introduced at the start, I had to sort them out in my head before I could proceed.
But by the second hour of listening, I was hooked on the story with a morbid curiosity. It's a little like 'Upstairs, Downstairs' crossed with 'Gone with the Wind'. The tragic events tumble after one another like a train wreck, yet I can hardly put it down.
I'm about three quarters of the way through now, and not holding out much hope for a happy ending. But I can't wait to find out.
I really liked this story, and I wish I could give it a higher rating. I'm glad that it's not the first book I listened to by this author. But the main reason I didn't rate it higher is that it's very confusing trying to follow the story because it is written in reverse sequence of events. Maybe my old high school English teacher would be able to give reasons why an author would do that, but I'm not in school any more and I just want to listen to a good story.
In the first few chapters I almost gave up on this book. All of a sudden the characters were talking about the death of someone who had not even been previously introduced into the story. I turned off my player to check the track, thinking that perhaps I had jumped a chapter or downloaded incorrectly, but no, so I struggled to keep going. After a while I caught on. I think that the character's death would have made more of an impact if the story had been told in the correct order so that he died at the end; as it was, I knew what was coming all along and so the ending felt spoiled.
Once I figured out the weird system of telling the story, I was able to follow along so it got easier, sort of like learning to count backward. So overall, it was a great story, just told in a strange way. If you like Picoult's novels, go for it and stick with it. If you're not already a fan, I'd give it a pass and try another one.
no nasty blood and gore or CSI in this novel. It's reminiscent of Agatha Christie. Suspicious death in an English town with a closed cast of characters, and a detective who solves the mystery with his little grey cells after interviewing all the suspects. The author is good at creating a lot of red herrings to keep the reader guessing til the end. An easy and enjoyable read.
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