Virginia Beach, Virginia USA | Member Since 2012
JK Rowling is an excellent writer. We know this already from her thousands of pages of Harry Potter stories. Her ability to describe minute details eloquently rivals few other contemporaries. We loved this when she described a made up magic world in Harry Potter. When she describes this sordid realistic world that we may or may not recognize, and would prefer to avoid, it may make the reader uncomfortable. This story is chocked full of characters, which is typical of British books but sometimes tries the patience of American readers (just get on with the story!) However, once the story unfolds and marches toward the inevitable ending, it becomes very "readable"and everything ties together very neatly. It is helpful to know that the working title of this novel was, "Responsibility". Are we our brothers' keepers after all?
The ending leaves us wondering, "Was this inevitable?" Could any of these characters have behaved any differently to prevent it, or was this fate set in stone? Did the dominoes have to fall this way? Is this the world that was left behind because of the death of Barry Fairbrother?
The narrator's many voices and accents for each character added so much to the experience, especially for an American reader.
There were so many memorable characters, it is difficult to choose. Crystal was memorable for her tough character and impossible situation, her mother Terri was interesting for her pathetic despicability, and even though we did not know Barry, we felt like we did because of all the "Barry anecdotes".
This is a far cry from Harry Potter, there is a great deal of vulgarity, but the author is trying to depict a world that most of us prefer to turn our heads and not deal with. She seems to be saying that whether we deal with it or not, it is still our responsibility, and our lack of action has consequences, just like every effort pays off in some small way.
I do love beautiful writing, and I think I will purchase the printed book now so I can savor the writing some more after having listened to the audiobook. The story was engaging, heartbreaking, but still hopeful. The book focuses on two children during World War II in parallel narratives. We get to hear from both the French and the German points of view, and we are given some good insight on what it was like to be living back then. How do we adapt when regular morals are turned upside down, when doing what is right is wrong, and doing what is wrong becomes right? The ending was a bit unsatisfying, but I guess that demanding to know what happened exactly is unnecessary. It brings to mind Hazel's insistence on finding out what happens to the characters in The Fault in our Stars after the book. The author has to remind her that it's a book! And apparently the point of this book was more to build a picture of these characters growing up in such times, than to spoon feed us a narrative with a tidy ending. I still highly recommend it.
The narrator's voice seemed especially well suited to the main character, and she did an excellent job interpreting the other characters' personalities as well.
Katie was a very engaging character, and of course we saw the story unfold through her eyes. I especially liked that the other characters were painted with depth and empathy, and no one was despicable, because we grew to understand them and why they behaved the way they did.
Stephen King's assessment of this difficult subject was intelligent and balanced, in spite of his obvious passion on the subject.
This 47 minute essay may not change minds, but does ask us to pause and consider. That is what writers do. They ask us to think.
The narrator did a convincing job of reading Stephen King's words, in fact, I did not previously realize that it was not read by the author himself.
Although his position on gun control was evident, and it was clearly written soon after Sandy Hook, his understanding of and empathy for gun owners is obvious. He is a gun owner himself. This is a thoughtful and thought provoking essay.
I had heard about this storm only recently, about the time of Hurricane Katrina, and really had no idea of its enormity. To hear about it from first hand experiences of those individuals who were there and survived it, was amazing. The book was well paced and read like fiction even though it was non-fiction, which is to say it was a very enjoyable story. It put a well deserved fear of the power of the weather in us!
The pace of the story was very effective. It built slowly, and then climaxed with the horrible storm.
We listened to this book on a long drive and it was effective that way, so yes.
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