This was an interesting and captivating story, a good listen for what it is. True crime stories tend to have a sameness and this was true of this book,as well. But it was fascinating despite it's predictability.
Although I had some critical thoughts about the authenticity of the dialog as far as the time period was concerned, this was a great listen and I eagerly stuck with it until I finished. I have heard of the term "ham fisted" before but never felt the desire to use it until now. The author was incredibly ham fisted with her character development! Instead of allowing the reader to draw conclusions and become acquainted with the characters, we constantly were reminded of the traits we were supposed to find. Okay, we get it, Isabella is strong willed and full of sass and thinks "rules don't apply to her." Nazi officers are evil monsters, no surprise. We didn't need to have it explained to us over and over. The narration was not awful but the French accent used made everyone sound like one of the little girls in Miss Clavell's line. This distracted at times from the story. Maybe it would be best to just throw in a few French phrases here and there rather than try to create so many different voices with an accent. I still have to stick with my 4 star rating because it was such a captivating tale.
This is a wonderfully written and narrated book that was hard to put down. It presents a side of the holocaust we don't often read about...that of the anxiety driven Jewish family members in the U.S. during WWII, desperately trying to save their family members from afar. Highly recommended.
I purchased the audio version of this book and found it to be a very fair representation of a world that relatively few people are familiar with. It is an interesting topic and one of the rare books in which the narrator being the author enhanced the listening experience. For some reason that is not often a successful pairing, but Mary Johnson pulled it off well.
This book is a poignant and engrossing listen, full of unexpected twists and turns throughout. Kudos to the narrator for using restraint with voices and letting the listeners reach their own judgments and conclusions about the intentions and motivations of the main characters, which are complex. The reader/listener is left with that feeling that on one is ever completely good or bad, but an ever changing mixture of both.
Although I am a Meg Wolitzer fan, she really dropped the ball on this one. The story is so boring and implausible that I can barely slog through the last 10 % of the audiobook. The idea of a well known musician drugging a young kid with LSD on numerous occasions to harvest his inherited song writing talent is ludicrous. This book reads like formulaic bad young adult fiction. The good are so good and the bad are so ridiculously portrayed ( I.e. the naughty and nubile Kathy Kiplinger, with the unfortunate you gotta hate her story line of being a fake rape victim) that the only real seeming character is Jule's hapless husband. I must say that the story was not aided by the "Valley Girl" accents and simpering parents' voices created by the narrator. I have come to the conclusion that, with the exception of the occasional character part ( raspy smoker's voice or unique accent) the best narrators do not go overboard on voices because the "man voice" or " lady voice" or "teenage voice" can be so distracting as to alienate the listener and ruin the author's intent for the character. Of course, this is a fine line and not all narrators can pull it off but this already weak book was weakened further by the unlikable voices used. I really didn't feel anything for any of them except for a irritation.
I liked everything about this dark story with lots of twists and turns in the plot. I am new to this author and highly recommend him to someone who would like discovering a new author. All four of Cain's audiobooks that I have heard have the uncanny trait of outstanding narration. I wish other book narraters were as expertly chosen.
This "listen" was okay, neither great nor memorable. I don't think the writing style was so great for an audio and I may have liked reading it better.
This was a fun book in that it had sort of a campy, "trashy novel" feed about it. The best aspect,however , was the reader, who can make or break an audiobook experience.This reader made this story come alive .The plot itself was just okay, not Cain's best work. Both audiobooks I ve listened to by James Cain have been enhanced by the choice of narrator.
Although I enjoyed listening I found the it to be anticlimactic and disappointing at the conclusion. Most of the book was suspenseful but the ending fell short.
This is a sad story of two people who, for lots of reasons, couldn't be together. End of story. But after the melodramatic death of one of the main characters, the continuation of confusing character twists was distracting and somewhat unnecessary.
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