I definitely agree with the person who described this book as "epic in scope and beautifully rendered." Rachel Swarms was expecially adept in portraying the family members within their historical context, bringing alive not only these particular individuals but nameless others who shared their experiences.
I couldn't help thinking that this book is a special gift to the Obama daughters. But even if the subject had not been the family of a woman I admire and respect immensely, I would have appreciated reading about the various people who were uncovered in the book. It was fascinating to see how decades of family history were pieced together from records and memories that were often scanty.
On the down side, I had some difficulty following the chronology via audio. It was difficult to keep up with the generations, especally as the narrative is not linear but doubles back many times to pick up various strands. This audible selection should come with a pdf giving a graphic family tree and as many photos as possible.
After seeing the movie, I wanted to read or hear the book and had to decide which of several versions to go with. So glad I selected the Hugh Quarshie audible.com performance. I can't imagine a better reading. It felt as though I was hearing it straight from Soloman Nothrup, including some of the pronunciation nuances.
Believing this understanding should be part of every American's education, I have read a number of very enlightening slave narratives/histories. I do agree with another reviewer who said that Northrup's story, because it is told from the perspective of a free as well as enslaved man, is special and builds a helpful bridge that a 21st century free person can relate to. Normally I wouldn't say this, but I do recommend seeing the movie before reading the book. In this particular case, it enhanced my ability to "see" what was happening.
Don't know why I had not read this before. This book went on to become a nonfiction classic, often assigned in sociology classes. Written in the 1980s, it is -- sadly -- all still true. Not an easy reality. Told thru the eyes of children. Complicated. Unbiased. There is no better narrator than Dion Graham, who was especially able in bringing this story home.
Recommended for the same people who appreciate Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. You might also like Gangleader for a Day.
Engaging and funny! Then it took a few turns and became a poignant coming of age story. Overall, excellent and unique. I want to hear more from Wolff.
This is a piercing, courageous book that connected a lot dots for me. Michelle Alexander lays out a compelling, sturdily reasoned case that may explain a lot of very sick things in our society. The “war on drugs,” incentivizing biased police enforcement, unfair stereotyping of minority youth, prison profiteering, and fear of discussing racial issues are not the only perpetuating factors. Anyone who cares about social justice would appreciate this book. It interestingly written, although a bit repetitive and I believe the author could have said more about how the system perpetuates crime and violence. The reader Karen Chilton is one of the best I have heard in many hours of audible.com listening.
When it comes to books written by comedians and funny people, I've read every one I could get my hands on, including Steve Martin, Jon Stewart, etc. -- and this is the BEST. Better than funny: smart and honest (even when she lies). I'm going to listen to it again.
But where is that pdf???? Is that a joke?
I am so tired of publishers claiming that a book is hilarious. This one is not hilarious, but is much more. Whenever I am exposed to Nora Ephron, I am entertained by the way her mind works and the way she can express life’s nuances – sometimes saying just what I would have said if I were brilliant. I enjoy her juxtapositions: opinionated self-doubt, funny terror. I always gain a couple of insights into myself and the way people work. I really enjoyed this read. And, like I Hate My Neck, it seeds in just enough reality to make one’s heart stop.
The sayings were pretty much what I expected, but the background music was loud and annoying.
Maybe not The Great American Novel, but definitely a great depiction of the dilemmas and complications of our post-modern lives. With answers.
My only complaint is that the narrator, David LeDoux, was way off in his voice of Lilitha, making her seem like a puppet or Disney character.
The LA Theatre version was a nice change of pace from straight audiobooks, and the cast was awesome.
Unlike another reviewer, I did not mind the introductory material on each segment; I thought it was helpful.
I had read Babbit in college, but remembered only a caricature. This gave me the opportunity to "reread" the book from a different point in life.
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