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Donell

CHICAGO, IL, United States | Member Since 2009

3
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 ratings
  • 311 titles in library
  • 42 purchased in 2014
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  • Freeman

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Leonard Pitts
    • Narrated By Sean Crisden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (118)
    Performance
    (105)
    Story
    (104)

    Freeman, the new novel by Leonard Pitts, Jr., takes place in the first few months following the Confederate surrender and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Upon learning of Lee's surrender, Sam - a runaway slave who once worked for the Union Army - decides to leave his safe haven in Philadelphia and set out on foot to return to the war-torn South. What compels him on this almost-suicidal course is the desire to find his wife, the mother of his only child, whom he and their son left behind 15 years earlier on the Mississippi farm to which they all "belonged".

    Chrissie says: "After the Civil War"
    "Every emotion in every range has been covered!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Freeman again? Why?

    I would listen to Freeman again (and actually, I plan to...) to see how Leonard Pitts completely captures each nuanced emotion from his characters. Every character, major and minor has something to say, and each person literally jumps off the page.


    What other book might you compare Freeman to and why?

    "The Warmth of Other Sons" by Isabelle Wilkerson. They both have a way of making the desires of their characters become your own.


    What does Sean Crisden bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    It took a few minutes to acclimate myself to Sean Crisden's voice, but only a few. When the emotional scenes came up in the novel, Crisden went from reading to acting. Often during the course of the book, I felt like I was watching a film. The color in his voice was broad and full.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    At 15 hours, it's hard to listen to "Freeman" in one sitting; I don't know if anyone could stand the emotional rollercoaster ride. I listened during my trips to and from work as well as on shopping errands, trips to the laundromat, etc. However, the test of a truly well written/well told story is if I listen to it at home while the television and other distractions are present. This novel has passed that test: At least four hours of this book's running time was spent in my home office, with the door shut and the headphones slapped on my ears. All of this just to find out what happens next!


    Any additional comments?

    Bravo! This is a triumphant novel. I can only hope that my future offerings will elicit within my readers at least one-tenth the reaction this book has had in me.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Invention of Wings: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Sue Monk Kidd
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Adepero Oduye, Sue Monk Kidd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6037)
    Performance
    (5487)
    Story
    (5479)

    From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees, a magnificent novel about two unforgettable American women. Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world - and it is now the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection. Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

    Jan says: "Historical Fiction - beautifully quilted!"
    "An impressive combination of factual and fictional"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sue Monk Kidd employs two unforgettable characters, Handful and Sarah, to weave a patchwork quilt of a tale that's packed with astounding highs and astonishing lows. "The Invention of Wings" opens with Handful, a young slave girl, being presented as a personal maid to 11 year old Sarah. It's Charleston in the early 1800's, and slavery is the law of the land. Kidd deftly guides the readers/listeners through aspects of each woman's life (mother/daughter relationships, courtship, sibling rivalry) and demonstrates their mirroring strengths and challenges despite being on opposite sides of the color and class line. But wait, this is more than just your run of the mill slave girl and missus friendship bonding story. Kidd ups the ante by bringing in abolition, women's liberation and civil rights; ideas way ahead of the time set for the novel and she ably shows how these radical ideas affect the hopes and dreams of the women. There are numerous twists and turns in the story, but not one feels forced or contrived. Just as beautiful as Kidd's prose is the masterful alternating narration between Handful and Sarah which lays out each woman's side, every point and counterpoint. An afterword from Sue Monk Kidd breaks down which characters and events were real and which were invented, but it really doesn't matter; the end effect is that the inspiration of "The Invention of Wings" is palpable, tangible and solid.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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