This book gives a very detailed account of the first few weeks of a privileged Englishman?s incarceration in a common British prison. It?s not exactly exciting, but it does paint a comprehensive picture. I am no fan of the British upper classes, so I listened out of sheer curiosity to see how he would survive.
Jeffrey Archer suffered a very sudden and dramatic culture shock, and bore up extremely well. By his own account he accepted his new life, made the best of it, learned from it, contributed to it, was starting to become very interested in prison reform, and I'd have to call him "a good sport". I ended up respecting his ability to adapt and avoid self-pity.
I checked on the Internet and Jeffrey Archer is out of prison now. He has become an extremely controversial figure, facing constant public censure from upper and lower classes alike. I am now quite curious to see how he will survive his disgrace, and whether he will manage to continue his efforts for prison reform.
I'm halfway through. The story is delightful and well-written. I really want to hear what happens to Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali. The problem is that I'm English and the narrator obviously isn't. He is doing really horrible and random things to his vowels. The Pakistanis never actually sound Pakistani but they do have regular attacks of sounding Irish. Sometimes he uses his "child" voice for adults. English characters lurch unreliably between posh and common accents. Sloppy, sloppy.
I'm putting up with him because the book has an "over the top" quality that enables me to laugh... but I also feel sufficiently irritated to write this midstream review and I'll avoid this narrator in the future. He is making this excellent book struggle for me.
It took me a couple of tries to get into this book. The stories are harsh and bare and gritty, like the Western landscape. Life is extremely hard, mistakes cost dearly, and nobody lives happily ever after. Having said that, I did not find the stories depressing. Lifelike would be a better word. Once I caught on, I found the book compelling.
A possum (and Dolly) can live anywhere, hence the title of the book. She and her father managed to live an entirely self-sufficient life without employment or welfare. Of course you can't live independently if you have a "normal" outlook, which is the crux of the matter. The book is a fascinating account, written when Dolly was 18, of how she and her father spent their days. She shares her can-do attitude as well as practical details and recipes. Her straightforward enthusiasm makes the book easy listening, regardless of whether she is talking about how to catch, kill, and prepare a turtle for cooking or how to work up to running miles at full speed. She freely acknowledges that we might not all want to do these things. It's understood that she is just letting us know we can have choices.
But there's more. I couldn't help wondering what kind of adult Dolly would grow into - would she live with her father forever? So for me, the most interesting part was at the end. Dolly gives her perspective on the book 30 years on, and tells us what happened to her between then and now. Listen to the very end. There is also an interesting article about her by journalist Paige Williams, and a commentary by novelist David Gates, who based a character on Dolly but clearly doesn't "get" possum living. Neither will all listeners, but that doesn't mean they won't find the book thought-provoking.
I was not familiar with this author and don't normally read political thrillers but - what a great book! It kept me alert and anxious to hear more during a 14-hour drive. I appreciated the balance shown in understanding the perspectives of east-west conflict, and also the balance between drama and everyday detail. Highly recommended.
This book is so serene, and yet compelling. It deals with life's greatest subjects in such a... well, a sensible way. You'll learn a little about the Mormon religion, a lot about loving children and ethics. Highly recommended!
When I began this book I was unaware that it was loosely based upon one of my favorite novels, Howards End by E.M. Forster. Updated, tweaked, and modernized, Zadie Smith's similar story unfolded at much greater length. Although some parts were entertaining, it mostly seemed like a very pale imitation. The narration, however, was excellent.
You learned German in school and it's been XX years since you had to crank it up... this will remind you and renew your investment in the language. You'll hear conversations about all kinds of everyday stuff, with no English help except for a few words to introduce the general subject. That's good! Set your chosen digital device to wake you up puzzling this stuff out every day. If you need to brush up on more than one language, check out the other "Immersions" and experience the same conversation in many languages!!!
You learned French in school and it's been XX years since you had to crank it up... this will remind you and renew your investment in the language. You'll hear conversations about all kinds of everyday stuff, with no English help except for a few words to introduce the general subject. That's good! Set your chosen digital device to wake you up puzzling this stuff out every day. If you need to brush up on more than one language, check out the other "Immersions" and experience the same conversation in many languages!!!
How do we upset one another without meaning to? How can we salvage a conversation that's going wrong? How can we say "no"? And how much time do we spend agonizing over this stuff? Here are methods and principles that can be used to improve all communications. The presentation is a bit stilted but the content is excellent. Through sample conversations, analysis of what went wrong, and examples of how to do it better, you start to build an understanding of how to hear other people's points of view and present your own. Why do we need to be told? That's covered too. Time spent with this book brought me some quick results, and it's obviously one to revisit.
Everything in this book seems like plain truth to me, since I've already learned most of it the hard way. I'm approaching geezerhood, though. As for all you spring chickens - if you can get the message now, you will save yourself years of wasting time on the wrong guys.
A couple of minor criticisms: the authors assume that all women are looking for The One (not necessarily true), and I found Liz's insistent tone a little irritating sometimes. Nevertheless, I heartily recommend this book to all women.
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