Of the 200 books I have listened to, this is the first that I have rated.
I was really looking forward to this, but was very disappointed. It seemed to me as if the authors were trying very hard to prove how difficult a time it was and what horror the men were going through... so hard that they belabored the point and I kept finding myself saying "I get the point...let's get on with it..."
Frankly, the story itself is enough to prove their point. The belaboring almost trivializes it and makes me as a reader/listener feel as if I must need this reinforcement to get the picture.
Character development I felt was sophomoric at best. They didn't feel real, but rather were idealized to the point of rediculousness.
Callista was a horrible reader in this instance. Everytime I heard her it made me think that Newt must have written her part as a reader into the contract. And it just didn't work.
The best part of the book was the straight forward reading of Thomas Paine's "The Crisis" at the end of the book. Well read, meaningful, and interesting.
Most of the books I get through Audible are very good. Not exceptional, but very good. They fill the time while I'm driving an hour or so, or while I'm mowing the lawn or cleaning around the house. That is where there value comes in. Boys Life, however, is the exception. I bought it because of the reviews, but I didn't really expect it to be as good as it is.
I've read reviews before where people have said that a story brought them to tears, but I never quite believed it. I also tend to steer clear of stories where this kind of thing is mentioned in the reviews. And don't get me wrong... I felt that in only a few short sections of the book. However, this story is one where I felt that emotion several times. And I only mention it because I felt for the people in the story. Because they were real, and what they were going through was real. Because Robert McCammon NAILED it in his story telling.
It was so real, and so close to things that I had experienced, that the emotions were right there. But the story was also funny...VERY funny, and at the same time honest and was very indicative of the time it was told. I didn't have all the same experiences, having been raised in the north, but I lived through it, and saw it on tv news.
Don't set expectations too high. Expectations can be crushers. Rather take this book as a ride through the early 60's and allow your self to feel it as you go along. It will stick with you long after the story is done, and you can't ask for any more of that from a story.
I enjoyed the audio edition. I generally prefer audio to print because I can listen as I work or drive.
What I look for in a review is not so much the story-line, but rather how the person doing the review enjoyed the story/performance. The story-line I can get from the publisher's blurb.
In an attempt to be helpful to others reading the review I will say that I DID enjoy this book to the point of going to look to see if there was a follow-up. I was a little disappointed to see that there wasn't, as I'd like to know more about what happens to the main character from the end of the story.
Was it the best book I have listened to in a while? No. Not really. But I would listen to it again, and I would definitely buy a follow up should one come out. However, it isn't a Grisham or Michael Connelly, Nesbo, or a Mankel, or Martha Grimes. It's a great book to get yourself wrapped up into and for letting it be what it is.
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