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Surly Girly

ratings
10
REVIEWS
7
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
8

  • Main Street

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Sinclair Lewis
    • Narrated By Barbara Caruso
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (79)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (31)

    Widely hailed as a milestone in American literature, Sinclair Lewis' Main Street vividly describes a country on the verge of massive change, with traditional values being threatened by progress. The novel's heroine, Carol Milford, is a highly educated, ambitious woman who plans to join a newly enlightened society. But after marrying a small-town doctor, she finds herself trapped in the role of a dutiful wife. Carol's desires for social change conflict with the security of her comfortable married life, as she struggles to understand the cost of conformity...and rebellion. As relevant today as it was upon its 1920 publication, Main Street is both a masterful piece of writing and a fascinating microcosm of America's social evolution.

    A User says: "Delightful reading of an excellent book"
    "Worth the price"
    Overall

    I first purchased a less expensive audible version of this book and - try as I might - I simply couldn't get into the narrator's rendition of the classic. I balked at the thought of spending an additional, and relatively high, amount on a second version but finally bit the bullet. Well, it was *so* worth it! Ms Caruso's reading is engrossing - she captures the meaning and innuendos of Lewis' words in a pleasing voice.

    I recommend paying the price - it will make all the difference in experiencing "Main Street."

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Orphan Train: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Christina Baker Kline
    • Narrated By Jessica Almasy, Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3214)
    Performance
    (2854)
    Story
    (2849)

    Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to "aging out" out of the foster care system. A community-service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse.... As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

    Susan says: "Fascinating Journey for Two"
    "Doesn't Deliver What It Promises"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The quote by Vivian that prefaces the story establishes expectations upon which it doesn't deliver. The early scenes of New York and the orphan train are the best part of this book - it goes downhill from there, into one tired cliché after another. Character development is uneven - one gets the feeling that the author rushed through the most important years of Vivian's life, while Molly is another cobbled cliché.

    The entire premise of the book - that, together, the two women go through Vivian's saved possessions and become entwined - is given short shrift. We are not privy to any specific items or memento that triggers Vivian's memories - which is the entire premise of the book, after all. The author leaves us outside the house, as it were, wondering what it is that Molly and Vivian are finding up in the attic. There are so many holes, and unraveled ends, that I reched the final pages feeling empty and cheated of the climax the story seemed to be building towards.

    The narrator's voice and delivery were so incongruous that she set my teeth on edge. High-pitched and girlish, it seems appropriate enough at the beginning as she narrates young Vivian's story in the first-person. But it never changes - she sounds like a 13-yr-old child right to the end. Her inflection is always cheery, inappropriately so in many instances, and far too contemporary for the storyline. She speaks too quickly, with a vague Valley Girl flatness that robs many key passages of the gravitas needed and - again - the childlike pitch of her voice is simply incongruous and off-putting.

    In the end, the book promised what it didn't deliver, and tolerating the narration in expectation of a satisfying "read" made it that much more of a disappointment and waste of time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gone Girl: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15797)
    Performance
    (14012)
    Story
    (14050)

    It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

    Teddy says: "Demented, twisted, sick and I loved it!"
    "Outstanding book, off-putting narrations"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book itself is outstanding - it holds your attention to the last sentence, and the plot turns are perfectly executed. Ms. Flynn ensures that each is airtight, so we are not compelled to suspend disbelief. I highly recommend it.

    However, the two narrators - male and female - were a problem. The female did not accurately capture the personality of her character, and the misinterpretation changed the feel of the narration. The male narrator is guilty of the same problem - misinterpreting the character.

    Maybe it's generational, but they both infused their reading with sarcastic and/or ironic undertones. In addition, the male narrator's penchant for over-acting when reading the dialogs of secondary characters was off-putting in the extreme.

    Finally, I decided to purchase the book and read the second half, rather than listen.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Sun Also Rises

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Hemingway
    • Narrated By William Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (923)
    Performance
    (568)
    Story
    (581)

    The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway's masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful style. A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the story introduces two of Hemingway's most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. Follow the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of the 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates.

    Gerald says: "Bravo Papa!"
    "Great Novel ... Grating Performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    All I can ask is: what the heck was William Hurt smoking when he narrated this masterpiece?! His overall reading of the book was misguided and annoying, but listening to him interpret the lines and conversations of the key characters was unbearable. After a while, I just sat back with some sort of horrid fascination and listened to him mangle and destroy and misrepresent Hemingway's masterpiece ... and then I pulled the plug.

    Great novel - abysmal performance. For shame!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Moveable Feast

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Ernest Hemingway
    • Narrated By James Naughton
    Overall
    (328)
    Performance
    (144)
    Story
    (145)

    Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast remains one of Ernest Hemingway's most beloved works. It is his classic memoir of Paris in the 1920s, filled with irreverent portraits of other expatriate luminaries such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein; tender memories of his first wife, Hadley; and insightful recollections of his own early experiments with his craft.

    Catherine says: "Hemingway without being TOO Hemingway"
    "Not To Be Missed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A Moveable Feast is a poignant memoir written at the end of Hemingway's life, in which he remembers his first wife, and the innocent years of their marriage, with a fine wistfulness. His anecdotes profiling the famous artists and writers are written with his hallmark spareness which, even so, is imbued with wit and humor made all the more delightful for its brevity - conveying so much with so little. A key component to enjoying this audible book is the narrator. James Naughton is simply outstanding. His pace is relaxed, and the inflections and rhythms of his voice bring the words to life. He so perfectly interprets the author's words and purpose that - truly - one can believe they are listening to Hemingway himself. A book and a listening experience not to be missed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Before I Go to Sleep: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By S. J. Watson
    • Narrated By Orlagh Cassidy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (554)
    Performance
    (453)
    Story
    (455)

    "As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me...." Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may be telling you only half the story. Welcome to Christine's life.

    Tim says: "Couldn't put this book down!"
    "Wow. Cannot recommend highly enough."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This has got to be one of the best "reads" - and certainly one of the top three narrations - I've ever experienced.

    The premise is fascinating, and the author really does an outstanding job of unfolding everything - all the events - with truly gripping suspense. There are layers upon layers, and I was hooked, listening well into the night.

    The narrator herself is an integral component of the experience. I almost always remain detached from the reading, no matter how good, imagining instead the words on the page, and how I would have interpreted them differently. However, in this case I lwas lost in in the spellbinding narration - truly a theatrical performance that lifted me out of my environment and into the story.

    Cannot recommend highly enough for those who love suspense and intrigue, well written and wrapped in a unique premise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cleopatra: A Life

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Stacy Schiff
    • Narrated By Robin Miles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (704)
    Performance
    (326)
    Story
    (334)

    Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnets, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator. Though her life spanned fewer than 40 years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.

    Evans says: "Very captivating."
    "Disappointed"
    Overall

    I wanted to love this book, and I fully expected to. Given all the glowing reviews, and the subject, it seemed like a slam dunk to me, and I downplayed any uncomplimentary reviews.

    Well, an hour and a half into listening, and I reluctantly have to say that it is hugely disappointing. I appreciate the writing and, as a window on the world as it was back then, it has its place. But to center it as the story of Cleopatra is to take a short story and stretch it into a full length biography by padding page after page after page with sidebar comments and allusions.

    It is what it is. No problems with that. But it is not what it claims to be. Too bad!

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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