This was one of the the funniest audio books I've ever heard, another one being Sedaris' "Me Talk Pretty One Day." This one is quite short, but I'll keep it just to play again for friends. Having just finished a book of a weightier subject matter, this was a great break. It was nice to be smiling when I got to work.
I had the sense that much of the book is comprised of repackaged material from Ehrman?s other books or lectures in an effort to capitalize on the success of ?The Da Vinci Code.? Ehrman spends a lot of time giving an overview of how Biblical research is conducted and the authenticity of the gospels, which, while fascinating, is only tangentially related to the promise of his title. The most relevant parts are saved for the final two hours of the audio, which deal with the role of women in Christ?s life, their role in the early days of Christianity and how that role got subjugated. And, for myself, that made wading through the rest of it worth the wait.
I would also note that Ehrman?s introduction is weighted by a condescending tone toward ?Da Vinci? author Dan Brown and a transparent jealousy of a fiction writer profiting in his field of study.
Ehrman?s delivery is capable, although I found his deliberate pronunciations distracting (?written? is pronounced ?writ ten?). The book is often repetitive (which he handily reminds us of with phrases like, ?as I pointed out in an earlier chapter?). Those reminders are probably necessary in book form, but they could have been trimmed down or edited out for the audio.
Great narration. Great story. Despite its subject matter, author resists being overly sentimental, mainly because her main character, Amanda, is brutally frank in her outlook. It is a bit of a woman's book, in topic and characters. Karl, the main male figure, is absent for much of the tale. The story is a page-turner. I had to fight the urge to skip to the end to find out what happens.
It's hard to say how good or bad the book is. I was so turned off by the syrupy musical backdrop that it was hard to keep listening. This subject matter had plenty of emotional baggage in it before adding musical transitions intended to signal us in CAPITAL letters that here comes an "important" scene. C'mon! It's about death and the afterlife. Do I need the reminders?
Nonfictions, particularly one of this length, are difficult to follow in the car. But I'm surprised at how much of "Grace" has stuck with me months after reading it. Yancey is a bit repetitive, which at first I found annoying, but it did make it easier to pick up where I'd left off. The book gives an apolitical look at the meanness that has crept into public Christian discourse but also offers an antidote. Yancey poses a central question: Why do we have so much trouble believing in God's love and infinite forgiveness? He uses well-researched Biblical support to prove that we should.
This was one of the better Audible selections I've listened to in awhile. There is quite a bit of switching back and forth in time, but I had no trouble following the flashbacks. The strong Scottish burr of the reader added to the story and drew me in. The story is a messy discovery of what pulls us to and drives us from family. The author offers no tidy summations or endings, which was realistic and satisfying.
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