I loved the idea of the book and I thought Lizbeth's character was well done but overall I felt the book was amateurish. The characters seemed one dimensional and I couldn't get into the two mysteries, particularly the libel case.
My meter in determining whether a book is good is whether I can't turn it off and sit in the car finishing the next section. My commute is only twenty minutes and on a good book I find myself eating lunch in the car and listening to a book or staying in the driveway. There was never a time during this book that I struggled with turning it off and getting back to it on another day. I really didn't care.
I don't know much about writing novels but it seems to me that characters are best developed when the author writes scenarios and scenes that show the reader the character of the person. On too many occasions Mr. Larssen jumped into secondary characters' minds to tell us their great opinion of one of the main characters.
Most of all, I found Blumquist to be an annoying character and felt that author tried to build him up as a heroic, morally-sensitive tough guy. Through his troubles, I kept thinking, "So what? "Who cares? Get over it!"
I also felt that there were many unrealistic events and relationships in the book. I mean, c'mon, Blumquist's sex life is ridiculous and any one of the relationships would have been a stretch to believe but in combination, it is just so unrealistic.
Cornwell wrote the book so everyone knows that the story will be amazing. However, this amazing plot is magnificently narrated by Jack Hawkins. His voices for the characters are varied, realistic and completely add to the story. He does Scottish characters, French women, boys, British men and women, Irish character, unread commonors, princes, French, Latin, English - his narration and accents are phenomenal.I hope that the book publishers re-make the abridged versions into unabridged and have Mr. Hawkins narrate. He is exceptional.
The story is how Conor Grennan went to Nepal as a orphanage volunteer and gave his heart to the "orphans." Conor saw a problem and came up with an unrealistic solution to the problem: reconnect families in a remote part of the world that has no roads, limited air and telephone access. He did not have special connections or language talents but with the help of just a few others he was able to do some amazing things.
If you liked "Three Cups of Tea," this book is in the same vein. It is astonishing what one person can do when he is committed.
The book is equal parts sad, touching, poignant but overall amazingly inspiring. The first few hours of the book are good but a little slow. Stay with it because the middle is very good and from that point it becomes a "can't stop listening" story.
Conor Grennan reads the himself and does a very credible job. His voice is well-modulated, clear and with just the right amount of nuance without being annoying or irritating.
On another topic: Why won't Audible allow us to have paragraph breaks? Sorry for the single paragraph of many different ideas!
Great book. My son (a 13 year old boy more interested in sports than books) and I are hooked on this story. I thought he wouldn't like it but it is a great book.
This is a great audiobook because the narrator must use numerous voices and accents and does a very decent job of it. The author does a great job of recreating parental lectures and child/parent arguments - my son and I look at each other and laugh because they are so familiar.
The book is well-written, very funny and yet poignant. It's a pleasure to listen to - although Benny can be sarcastic and rude, listening to life from the perspective of a 12 year old is very funny. Eoin Colfer must have sons of his own.
We have about 40 minutes to go to finish the book but, as a parent, the theme is about maturity and decisions that young people must make.
Benny thinks he has adults figured out and is always thinking two steps ahead of them. His parents are frustrated and want him to understand their perspective and, in essance, be mature. Lectures, lessons and chores do not work but a dose of Tunesian reality does.
In rereading this, I make the book sound dull and simple but the book is not preachy while making an effective point to the listener. I strongly recommend it.
After this audio, I couldn't finish another book for about 6 months. I started and stopped listening to about 3 books - compared to The Help, they didn't sustain my interest.
Incredible book with incredible narrators. It is the first book I have listened to where the narrators are better then the book. . . and the book is excellent.
I gave this to my sister and she couldn't turn it off either and it was her first audiobook. My brother in law loves audible books and loved this book as well.
If you enjoy audiobooks - this is a must!
I looked forward to listening to this book because of the great reviews and many of the reviewers had the same tastes in audiobooks.
However, I struggled with the letter format (the book, at least the part I listened to, is a series of letters that keeps that story going). I couldn't keep the characters and places straight and I stopped listening after about an hour.
My sister gave me her copy of the book and I'll read the book and I am sure that I will enjoy it.
I read this book several years ago and was looking for a good book to listen to.
(The Help was so excellent it has raised my standards for audiobooks. I am finding it very difficult to listen to other books.)
Although I know the beginning, end and middle of the story, I am still anxious to finish it. I'm not sure how a book that has been already read can be suspenseful but it is.
The hardships that the men had to endure and how they faced it are amazing. The detail that the author included in the book is perfect - enough to understand the hardships and the backgrounds but not so much that it is boring and slow.
The narrator does an excellent job with pacing and with the different voices.
I really enjoy this type of true life adventure story. It's amazing that these two people accomplished this journey - even more amazing is that they were so young and their equipment was not modern and high-tech.
There are a couple of warnings: the story was written decades ago and some of writing is of the "golly gee" type style of the 50's. Also, there are some terms that are offensive today, i.e., "savages," "half-breeds," etc.
However, the story and the journey is amazing. I would love to read someone else's take of their journey. It's like Ernest Shackleton writing of his own Endurance story. He probably wasn't dramatic, over-impressed with himself and emotional. Neither were these two characters so that the book tended to be a little dry at times, just mentioning the animals and people that they met. I wish that there was more detail of their personal hardships and emotions.
Eric Severeid barely touched on the hardships of the journey. For example, they had to walk 5 miles carrying their equipment and sank into the mud every 2-3 steps but only two sentences were devoted to the difficulty. Mr. Severeid did write that it was a walk he would never forget.
All in all, while their journey and exploits are very impressive, they did not do their story justice. Was listening to the book worthwhile? Yes, but it just seemed to skim the surface of a very exciting adventure. Also, not being able to follow their story with maps is a disadvantage. Maybe the hardcopy of the book has maps.
The narrator is average. A more youthful sounding narrator would have improved the story. However, I am always happy when narrators don't have lisps or over dramatic voices and Mr. Farrell did not.
It is rare when an excellent book is combined with a suitably excellent narrator. I've listened to many books and this is one of the best narrators that I've listened to. He is perfect for the book because his Holling voice sounds young yet his vivid voices provides faces of the book characters.
A quick review in Amazon will show you that this is an excellent book to read, however, I think that it is even better to listen to it as an audiobook because of the wit and some of the Shakespeare lines.
Before I listened to the book I thought it was about smart alec kid who outwitted his teachers and I was previewing it for my son because it did get high reviews. It's not, it's about a kid who it just doing his best. Holling (our young protagonist) is a thoroughly well-rounded character who is Every Boy. During the book, his experiences with his teachers, friends and family mature him and we laugh at some of his missteps and thoughts along the way.
I highly recommend it.
Favorite things about this book: 1) Narrator does a great job on the different voices/accents and the manners of speech, i.e. some of Bessie's pert smart-alec comments. She made me laugh out loud in a few places, a rarity in a rather gothic tale, 2) Ms. Harris also kept me guessing. I have read other reviews that complained that some characters are not fleshed out other than Bessie, but that is what keeps me (and Bessie) guessing, 3) the writing is terrific!
I am partial to historical fiction - if you liked The Thirteenth Tale, you'll probably enjoy The Observations. Most gothic-type stories do move rather slow but with a good author there is a joy and delight in the words as you move to the conclusion.
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