I believe the author of the book means well and tries very hard to provide the reader (listener) with helpful advice about schmoozing. In my opinion, he hits the nail on the head with basic rules and ideas about how to treat others and approach people and situations. However, some of the suggestions come across as almost a little too corny to be applied practically.
The author was quite thorough in bringing attention to the many situations that could benefit from a little proper schmoozing. These situations are not limited to networking and business opportunities, but also include family life, kids, teens, friends and ways to handle situations with these people whether they are positive or negative. Though, I just can't stress how corny some of his detailed suggestions may be. If you are quite cynical, getting through certain parts of this book may prove to be difficult, but that does not mean that it might not be helpful. The ideas may prove to be more enriching than you expected.
Considering the book is only 3 hours, it's worth a quick listen if you're in between books and think you might be willing enough or able to learn some things about the "art of schmoozing". Overall, I would give the book a 2.5 star rating if I could. Taking the reading of Penn Jilette into consideration though, a 3 seems fair. I can say with confidence that I wouldn't have enjoyed this book as much had it not been read by a friendly and familiar voice such as Penn's.
Having just finished this story, I must say that this audiobook's greatest strength is it's reading by Martha Plimpton. Although I have read some reviews claiming her monotonous delivery took away from the experience, I feel that it was in line with what to expect from the main character and allowed the listener to delve deeper into her psyche.
Other reviews are correct in saying that the action does not pick up until later into the story. However, once the plot gets up and going, it only gets more and more bizarre as the story continues. Not that this is a bad thing, I just found myself starting to enjoy the narrator's reminiscing and her dark but humorous approach to events that have happened to her more so than the attempts at trying to unravel the mystery that laid before her.
Since the only other Palahniuk novel I have read was "Fight Club", I would be unable to compare this work to his others. However, being familiar with "Fight Club", I'm confident in saying that "Diary" contained the dark humor and bizarre events that one could expect from him. I did read one review that negatively compared this to a soap opera, and as much as I hate to admit it, the story does come across as something you might find on daytime TV, especially after you become familiar with the supporting characters, particularly the mother.
The ending does deliver you a little,"hmmm...that's interesting" feeling, but by no means does it shock you since much of what you've become familiar with leading up to the ending is weird and you know something that is possibly weirder is going to happen in order to wrap the story up.
Overall, I enjoyed the experience despite a few of what I might consider it's shortcomings. I would highly recommend it to someone that is already familiar with Palahniuk's work or is looking to explore something a little different. Since its fairly short (only 8 hours) and it is quite well read, that is almost reason enough to check it out.
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