This is a great book, but the recording had some problems. First the narrator sounded way too old to be reading in the voice of a sixth grader. His delivery was very stiff and he read way too fast! I'm all for reading at a nice clip, but this felt rushed. I am a teacher and wanted something for a student to listen to as he read along, but my student couldn't keep up and kept having to stop and back up. I know the cartoons are hard to deal with as a narrator - do you pause for kids who have the book or just keep reading for those who don't? The production team obviously decided not to pause or even slow down and sometimes even paraphrased the jokes, which didn't really work. Wonderful book, but not a great recording.
Little Bee is another example of a white western male trying to approximate the voice of a black African teenager and falling short. He infuses the main character with a condescending "native wisdom", making her seem both primitive and deeply wise. Little Bee comes out with a pithy aphorism on every other page, and indeed, it is the poor, native, black girl who ends up teaching a lesson to the "sophisticated" white woman. This whole dynamic both annoyed and disturbed me. I was also annoyed by how blatantly the author tried to manipulate the reader's emotions by presenting in graphic detail one horrifyingly tragic moment after another - a rape - a murder - a prison experience - a grieving child flinging himself into an open grave - two suicides - the loss of a child. By the end, I was tired of being horrified.
I think there is a problem of missing chapters. At the end of part one, the story suddenly skips forward. Did anyone else notice this?
I enjoyed the book, but didn't like the female narrator. She had trouble keeping up the character's southern accent. Joyce Bean did a much better job.
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