The vignettes should at the very least have been ordered chronologically. Also, the book would have benefited from glosses for the specialized vocabulary items (at least when an item appeared for the first time); as it is, it felt like the author was more intent on showing off rather than showing the reader around.
The Latin teacher!
No, unless the movie focused on a particular vignette, like that of the Latin teacher, who seemed absolutely fascinating. The movie would be too Altman-like otherwise--disjointed and fragmented.
Very timely book!
*Given* that it was about a Back Bay family. I lost count how many times the word "given" was used, along with "let alone"; I think this might be a case where even the great Stephen King would allow the use of the forbidden thesaurus (I suppose Mr. King made that remark only to discourage those with a poor command of their own language from getting into writing or at least to encourage them to pay closer attention to their native tongue and work on improving it). Vocabulary aside, it doesn't take long for any fan of crime fiction to zero in on the suspect and the motive; I've seen police procedurals on TV with better plots. The author's attempt at a metaphor with "orange" was also pretty lame. The only scene that featured any decent writing was the one about the cinnamon rolls--Ms. Gardner just might have a career in food writing. The narration was competent overall, but would have been better without the artificial r-dropping; the male voices were no more convincing.
Grounded, driven, and nice!
This is the lovely story of a very lovely man. I was never into country music, but after listening to Kenny Rogers's life story, I am intrigued enough to try and find out. He comes through as a very down-to-earth, hardworking, but extremely driven person who doesn't take himself too seriously.
His voice has none of the annoying nasality of some of the other narrators, and he does a good job conveying the emotion as well as the content of the story.
Definitely. I wish more memoirs were this fun and frank.
"Slow-going" is not quite the right description for Part 1 of the story, since the beginning is definitely arresting enough, but it wasn't until Part 2 that I started to get into the story in earnest. Part 1 is mostly about setting up the characters, whom I didn't find especially sympathetic (I still don't like either of the two main characters even after finishing the book, but the story is solid enough that the characters' likability or lack thereof does not detract from the appeal of the story itself). I am holding back one star only because of the somewhat indulgent and boring tone of Part 1. My recommendation to other readers is to hang in there past what seems like a parochial drama. In this book, nothing is as it seems.
I can easily see this book turned into a movie (strangely, the guided review has no question about who I'd like to see play the lead), with Charlize Theron and Paul Walker (or maybe Michael Fassbender?) in the lead roles.
Except for the surprise ending (which in hindsight was fully in line with the deus ex machina approach of this author), I couldn't find much to like about this book. I'm all for an author rooting for her main character, but when the narrative is so clearly partial to the heroine, the readers find it hard to sympathize with that character (why even bother when the author goes out of her way to accommodate her), and even more so when the heroine is so whiny, mean-spirited (all the while rationalizing her own bigotry), and a borderline stalker.
As for the narration, I found it tolerable but not very credible: the narrator often lapses into the very same question intonation for statements that the heroine criticizes in others.
I initially chose this book expecting to read a few good stories about food and anecdotes about people in the industry. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the chef has pulled off the rare feat of infusing this account of his quest for flavors with compelling (but not preachy) lessons about life.
Chef Samuelsson's accent (mostly stress patterns and unorthodox pronunciation of certain words and groupings) takes a little getting used to, but his lovely voice, command of the various foreign languages mentioned in the book, and emotional connection to the story make the adjustment easier, and more importantly, are unlikely to be found in narrators for hire that quite a few long-time Audible listeners complain about.
This is *not* one of those memoirs that practically anyone with some measure of media exposure seems to be hacking out these days and whose content is probably not even worth the paper and ink that went into the production of the physical volume. The writing and the way Chef Samuelsson frame the narrative were excellent and reflected the same incredible focus that has earned him well-deserved accolades and success. I will let my fellow listeners get acquainted with the wonderful details of the story, especially the chef's family, but I must express my admiration for their uncommon decency and work ethic.
For a fraction of the price of the hardcover or e-book version, I got the audiobook, some comic banter between Tom Hanks and Stephen Colbert, and a PDF file with all the illustrations (slightly out of sequence, but not a big deal). It's a lovely story, with rhymes and puns to boot, and the illustrations are just as charming (is that Maurice Sendak saluting the flag at the end?) Since all the proceeds go to charity, I am tempted to buy the e-book version; $1.83 seems too modest a contribution to such a great cause. Well done, Colberty!
I found both the subject and the narrative--discussing the relationship of two presidents at a time--engaging. But two things about the book left me unsettled. The first is a tiny factual error about the origin of the name for the Roosevelt Room; if a foreigner who has watched one season of The West Wing can spot an error, odds are that there might be more lurking. The second unpleasant surprise was the almost complete reversal of my feelings towards many of the presidents discussed in this book; I could not shake the uneasiness that the authors seemed overly critical of or a little too eager to pounce on the merest character flaws of Carter, Clinton and even Obama (or at least his staff), while the two Bushes and Ford came out as hopelessly misunderstood men who really were decent men with the best of intentions. The only unsurprising point was how big a crook Nixon really was. I hope more discerning reviewers will shed light on whether the narrative was at all biased. It would be a terrible shame if the authors let their opinions taint the little-known stories about this exclusive club.
This is definitely not for those "readers" who like heroes in the abstract and put their idols on a pedestal. The book does a great job fleshing out Gbowee and those close to her, as well as their struggles. Interestingly enough, however, I had the feeling Gbowee was not completely at peace with the choices she made, and her explanations about why she made those choices oddly felt more like excuses rather than the objective analyses she clearly intended. But what is undeniable is how heroic her journey was, and if her story has brought her down to earth in my eyes, she is an inspiration for everyone. I hope Gbowee herself eventually comes to terms with her decisions.
The narration was competent enough, but the pronounced lisp did get on my nerves. As a longtime subscriber to Audible, I am still baffled by the low standards publishers have for the narrators.
1. If it had had another narrator (as pointed out by most of the earlier reviews). This narrator seems to be constantly out of breath and pauses whenever he can (within a single breath group in a few cases). It's a miracle that despite the narrator I still could see that the author has done his best to lay out his expertise in a way that would make sense to the least attentive reader.
2. If the editor had cut out most of the redundant passages and "foreshadowing". The introduction seemed so long, I kept wondering if the book would ever get to the point instead of promising to do this and that. There were also quite a few examples that were repeated (along with the accompanying pictures).
3. If the author had gone into the details of the case of the "liar that got away" near the end of the book. The author confesses that even he didn't see it coming (which was refreshing), and since he goes to such great lengths to underscore how difficult lie detection is, it would have been helpful if he had provided his "hindsight" about the case of that liar extraordinaire.
4. If the publisher had hired professional actors to demonstrate the different "tells". Despite his expertise in spotting and analyzing tells, the author (also the man in the pictures) leaves much to be desired as a mime, and the woman in the pictures was even less convincing.
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