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MJ

Retired pediatric RN, voracious reader, mom to 17 year old son, occasional writer of fan fiction.

DELAND, FL, United States | Member Since 2010

ratings
84
REVIEWS
4
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
4
HELPFUL VOTES
29

  • We Need to Talk About Kevin: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Lionel Shriver
    • Narrated By Coleen Marlo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (562)
    Performance
    (486)
    Story
    (488)

    Eva never really wanted to be a mother - and certainly not the mother of a boy who ends up murdering seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his 16th birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin’s horrific rampage, in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin.

    aaron says: "A smart, chilling story. Told in a very unique way"
    "A Novel Worth Talking About"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up We Need to Talk About Kevin in three words, what would they be?

    Chilling, engrossing, real.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of We Need to Talk About Kevin?

    There were so many exquisitely detailed moments that--forced to pick just one--I'm going to cheat a bit and choose a recurring theme, that of Eva revisiting again and again the birth of her son, and the emotions it did and did not stir in her. But there are many other situations in this story equally as memorable.


    Which character ??? as performed by Coleen Marlo ??? was your favorite?

    It has to be Eva, the narrator. Marlo's characterization never faltered--pitch-perfect throughout.


    If you could take any character from We Need to Talk About Kevin out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I'd take Kevin, for all the same reasons Eva took him to dinner.


    Any additional comments?

    A compelling listen, one I'll listen to again at least once, and probably more. So richly textured that I'm not certain they'll be able to do it justice with a two hour movie.

    21 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Broken Butterfly: My Daughter's Struggle with Brain Injury

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Karin Finell
    • Narrated By Allie Mars
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    In November of 1970, the Finell family's lives were changed forever by a family vacation to Acapulco. Seven-year-old Stephanie fell ill soon after their return to the United States, but her mother, Karin, thinking it was an intestinal disorder, kept her home from school for a few days. She was completely unprepared when Stephanie went into violent convulsions on a Friday morning. Following a series of tests at the hospital, doctors concluded she had contracted viral equine encephalitis while in Mexico.

    MJ says: "Narration was the worst I've heard--ever"
    "Narration was the worst I've heard--ever"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story itself wasn't too bad, although it wasn't compelling. I had to force myself to finish it, which is rare--normally my favorite memoirs are those concerning a child's illness or disability and how the parents and family deal with it.

    I'd have to read a printed copy of this book in order to review it fairly and accurately--the narrator was just that bad. Even during the most dramatic scenes, she spoke in a sing-song tone, and much of the story was conveyed in an inappropriately sweet, rather flat delivery. I've listened to books previously in which I was able to overlook poor performance on the strength of the storyline alone. This wasn't one of those books.

    Listen to the sample first; I was unable to do so because I purchased it on an iPad. Had I sampled this awful performance, I wouldn't have made the purchase.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Heroin's Puppet - Amy and Her Disease: The Rehab Journals of Amelia F.W. Caruso (1989-2009)

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Melissa M. Weiksnar
    • Narrated By Melissa M. Weiksnar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Amy Caruso was a junior in the nursing program at Boston College and seemed to have everything going for her - brains, beauty, athleticism, career goals, a loving family, and many wonderful friends. But in November 2009, she admitted she was a heroin addict and voluntarily entered treatment. Five weeks later she died from an overdose at the treatment facility on the day after Christmas, weeks shy of her twenty-first birthday.

    MJ says: "Real, Helpful--and Heartbreaking"
    "Real, Helpful--and Heartbreaking"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is amazing. If you've ever had a young family member who suffers with drug problems, Heroin's Puppet will quickly become your go-to source for information, advice, and even comfort. I don't mean to make it sound like a dry and boring reference tome; it's so much more than that.

    Heroin's Puppet tells an engrossing, compelling true story--and you care about everyone involved. But you'll also find so many relatable details that you'll be repeatedly utilizing your "bookmark" button not only to mark passages, but also to write notes to yourself for further research, etc.

    The author/narrator--Amy's mother--is perfect as she shares Amy's story. Her inflections and even the slightest nuances in tone make the story real and immediate.

    I bought this book about a week ago, listened to it in two sittings, and have since listened--beginning to end--five times; I'm on my sixth now.

    This book is simply the best Audible purchase I've ever made--and I've purchased more than 400 audiobooks. What more can I say?

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • My Emily

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 15 mins)
    • By Matt Patterson
    • Narrated By Matt Patterson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Emily wasn't born perfect - so one might think. She was born with Down Syndrome and many would jump to the conclusion that she would have very little hope for a life with any significance. Two years later came the diagnosis of leukemia. What little hope remaining turned to no hope whatsoever - or so one might think. The life of this little girl, with all its perceived imperfections, had great meaning. Her loving nature and courage touched the hearts of everyone she met.

    MJ says: "Not as described"
    "Not as described"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a retired pediatric nurse, I'm always interested in how families deal with chronic or terminal illness; I appreciate the insight that this type of book normally provides. However, My Emily seems more a rambling treatise by a confused and freshly grieving father who hasn't yet clarified his child's life and death in his own mind.

    I listened to this book twice before reviewing it, and the best description I can give is that is akin to happening upon a journal entry never meant to be read by anyone other than the author. We learn little about Emily herself, and never really become emotionally invested in her or her story.

    I sympathize with her parents on the loss of their daughter, and hope that Emily's dad found some comfort in writing this memoir--but I cannot recommend it.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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