South Lake Tahoe, CA, United States | Member Since 2007
I don't remember reading this as a youngster. I must have. And I have visited the Bronte home in England -- a sobering experience indeed. There are only two really nice people in the whole book -- the first old master and the housekeeper narrator. I kept watching for potential, for kindness or love or caring. But it was all ego, pride, greed, cruelty, tantrums and resentments. Suddenly I realized how far we have come, baby, with our New Age teachings that it is in everyone's best interest to cultivate gratitude and grin at the other guy and try to act like you like them! And our current notions of rehabbing child abuse victims, of redeeming past wrongs. For someone seriously depressed or grieving, unless this is a class assignment, listen to something else first. Then again, an individual might just use the tale to feel better about his own circumstances. Alas, I am too much reminded of the folks in my senior housing complex!
The narration is marvelous. It is possible to forget you are not listening to a couple of neighbors catching up on the community. I was going to say that Janet McTeer sounds too upscale to be a rural housekeeper, but her voice is lovely and perhaps we can agree that that housekeeper should have had more power in her little world. At least the ending is fairly happy.
Somehow I had expected this would be simply Tom Paine's writing, not a whole book about him. History, philosophy and politics are not my strengths, but I've lived long enough and traveled enough that I do care about these things. I found another audio book on the same topics, Founding Brothers, very difficult listening, although I believed it was well narrated. This book by contrast is almost suspenseful. The narrator reads with great understanding, but the book is written so as to be interesting. This author has an exciting mind!
Back in high school I didn't really get it about the deists. And who cared about the Louisiana Purchase? Paine was already trying to solve the problem of slavery, develop a plan for freed slaves. Paine even foresaw a need for a welfare system. Well, goodness! It's a most stimulating book. Educational, exciting, most worthwhile.
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