There is an interesting story hidden here amongst the mundane details; the story never hits its stride. Whether it's the timing or the overabundance of extraneous descriptions, but the humor and wit bubbling below the surface never rises up. After the initial
While the narrator has a nice, clear voice with good enunciation, she has a constant breathless quality as if almost everything the protagonist is feeling is heartfelt or exasperating... Her pace never varies, is always the same slow rythm, with overlong pauses for commas and periods... it was frustrating during the less interesting segments. It would go unnoticed, perhaps, if the writing itself was more gripping, but the story lacks wit and the narration does nothing to improve it.
As curious as I was to find out if Anna does contact the person she wants to talk to--and to find out the mystery of the doggie do do--I just couldn't keep listening. I was too impatient... so I plan on checking out the book so I can skim through the slow parts and linger over the funnier more interesting parts. As a listen, though, Is Anybody Out There did not work for me.
If the things that bothered me are not things to bother you, then I can recommend this listen. If the story sounds interesting to you, though, yet slow pacing and mundane details would be a deterrent to you, perhaps try reading the book instead?
There were a few disappointments to the overall book that, for me, led to my rating it 4 stars overall; but that's still a very good book on my scale (5 stars are reserved for instant classics).
The reader is excellent: pace, tone, inflection...and everything else about excellent narration is here. I never stopped being immersed in the story as I never thought about what the reader was doing; the reader never distracted from the characters and story.
This is not gruesome horror, far from it. It is a surreal, preternatural mystery that is focused mainly on the characters and the intrigue of the building.The story has a Twilight Zone feel which I enjoy (I liked the old Rod Sterling TV series, too).
While it has some predictable elements and moments of vapidity, the plot remains interesting and entertaining from beginning to end. The characters, or most of them, are dynamic and likeable...with just the right balance between conflict and camaraderie. I hated the religious stereotyping and would have greatly appreciated a bit more diversity in that case, yet it all works for the story itself. The obligatory "otherwise smart character using poor judgement" comes into to play as it too often does in books of this sort, all for the sake of advancing plot at characters' expense. But these downsides are forgivable as the book does what it's meant to do: entertain.
This is perfect for when you need a cheerful book. So the story of a man with severe OCD might not seem like it would be cheerful? It is in Steve Martin's hands. He's very articulate and creative; I enjoyed his way with words. His reading style is perfectly entertaining as well...never drags, words are enunciated clearly and the tone fits the story well.
It is told in the first person narrative by Daniel, who is actually a likeable character whose neuroses prevents him from talking...well, talking like a normal, casual person...to women. But there is sweet love and friendly love in this story.
I also enjoyed Shop Girl, but I do think this story is overall more cheerful, even if Shop Girl was, on the whole, a more literary endeavor. The Pleasure of My Company is well written, showing Steve Martin continues to be a talented storyteller. I smiled sometimes, laughed out loud others, and the rest of the time just enjoyed the well-turned phrase.
I recommend this to anyone looking for a lighthearted, humorous book; anyone tired of depressing stories with too much drama and an unhappy ending. Which is me (I really needed this after a series of much too depressing books).
Laura Hillenbrand knows how to deliver this true story in a way that gives details without overwhelming the listener with too much at once. The narrator does a good job pacing the reading to match the story, pausing only where is needed to let us absorb what we heard but otherwise quick enough that it always remains interesting ( too many other narrators pause too long after every phrase, drawing out mundane descriptions and making them boring to hear). The story itself is uplifting and moving.
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