This novel was very difficult to "get into" at first. The stories seem to drift back and forth across a small Maine town, involving either Olive herself, or people who she has touched with her life.
The book itself was, on the whole, quite good and the underlying message was extremely poignant. However, there were two things that kept this from being a 5-star entry:
One was the reader. I have listened to Sandra Burr before and liked her fine, but she should stick to books with either very little dialog, or only one or two main characters. The "hokey" New England accent was horrible and the switch from narration to dialog was never smooth. This made the storylines difficult to follow.
Second was the smattering of local references to Maine. They were disjointed, random, disconnected and misplaced. When a writer makes reference to a real place, it needs to BE a real place in the novel. I live near Cooks Corner. But my Cooks Corner is not the one in the book. Neither is my Moody's. Portland and Bangor are far enough apart that someone won't go from one to the other for a job with out a significant move. Rather than bring Maine to the story, it actaully had the opposite affect. It made the story take place nowhere. And that is sad because New England IS populated with people like Olive and Henry. This could have been so much better.
This book was entertaining and enlightening from the very beginning. The author uses a bit too much crude language for my liking, but he does a great job with the story and throws in lots and lots of little tips along the way. I will never ever check into a hotel the same again. I will never look at the front desk clerk the same again.
For seasoned travelers, watch out, you might see yourself in this story! But if you pay attention at all, you should be able to improve your future hotel stays. This inside look at the hospitality industry is probably more gritty and detailed than the industry is comfortable having exposed, but that's what makes it great. Peppered liberally with doses of humor and a very light, quick paced storyline, this book was over far too soon. Very well done and if Jacob "Thomas" Tomsky wants to write "Heads in Beds 2", I'll be at the head of the line to grab it.
The abridged version of this book was my very first Audible purchase, the one I got free for joining all those years ago. At the time, I didn't know about abridged and unabridged versions on the site and so when I bought the title, I didn't know there were choices.
Anyway, I listened to it and loved it. The story is spooky, historically captivating, and not at all your typical vampire story. The narration was excellent and the cast of characters really came to life.
Years later, I found myself with spare credits and decided to upgrade to the unabridged version of this novel. I could barely wait to finish my current title so I could start this one. The narration is equally as exellent and the story of course, has the same basic plot, but in this one instance, I actually found the additional material to be dry and boring. It didn't really add any substance to the story and actually made the story just a hair too long. I lost interest. After the long, dry, wordy descriptions, I found that I no longer cared (or even remembered, sometimes) what was going on in the plot. I found myself mentally running to catch up all the time due to the fact that my brain would go numb waiting for the story to continue.
In summary, Elizabeth Kostova's story is a great one, and well worth the read. My opinion is that there ought not BE an abridged/unabridged version of this book. The stuff that the abridged version omits should have been left on the editor's cutting floor in the first place. Get the abridged version and enjoy an excellent story.
While this book had all the fascination and description one expects from Stephen King, the production had a flaw that really detracted from the story for me. Rather than chapters, this book is broken into "Innings" (fits the story line). However; there is an unexpected, unappreciated, and ill-fitting small musical interlude at the end of each "inning". It totally breaks the flow of the narrative and frankly, I just found it irritating.
As for the story itself, it is a very well written tale, told by a 9-year old little girl lost in the woods. Her constant ongoing internal dialog with friends, family, herself, and her beloved Tom Gordon (former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox) make up the crux of the tale. The narrator, Anne Heche, does a great job of capturing the inflection and occasional mispronunciation of a smart, but relatively average 9-year old.
The story is a great one. I've read it in paper, and now I own the audio book too. It's not a long story, but a very lonely, scary one. It's worth a read, despite the poor musical interruptions.
This audio book is absolutely amazing. It is a book about writing a book...so you get two stories for the price of one as the story's main character, a novelist, also tells the story she is writing. What is so incredible is the intertwining of two very different writing styles. There is the style of the author, but within that, the character author has a different style. Ms. Kearsley is quite talented to be able to pull this off. Additionally, the narrator, Ms. Landor, does an fantastic job with the multitude of voices in both story lines. She even uses a different "voice" to read the character's novel. It's difficult to explain, but profoundly well-done. This is definitely one that I think starts with an excellent plot and benefits all the more with an excellent narrator. A must-read.
I grabbed this novel on a whim because it was featured on a banner ad when I came to the Audible site. I am SO glad I did. This story is very well written and the characters are unique and competently developed. The story is interesting and often unpredictable, which makes it enjoyable all the way to the end.
And I have found a new narrator! Up until now, Davina Porter has been my favorite narrator due to her ability to really manipulate voices and bring a variety of characters to lfe with her voice. Therese Plummer is spectacular at this. She really breathes life into this already good novel and give you a cast of characters, each unique in their own voices. This book, unlike most that I've read or listened to, had a complete ending. When the story was over, I was done. I didn't have questions, I didn't wish it would go on...the story was over. And I liked that. It left me free to appreciate it and move on to the next book in my library with a sense of closure.
This one is definitely worth the credit.
The reviews of this book were rather mixed, but I downloaded it anyway, and I am really glad I did. The story is absolutely haunting. I have listened to this story through twice now and I can't stop thinking about it. Room is disturbing in its concept... Imagine living with a small child for 5 years in an 11x11 room. But the telling from Jack's perspective is so different from what an adult would think of the situation and is therefore completely unique. Everyday that I listen to this story, it makes me more aware of the little things I've come to take for granted. Exceptional story, well read and thought provoking.
Oh my... this is one of the absolute BEST audio books I've ever listened to. This one goes in the stack to listen to again. You see, I am FROM mid-1960's Mississippi and this story is so perfect. The use of multiple readers for the different characters was brilliant and each of them did a spectacular job with their part. It was easy to distinquish the characters and before long, you began to feel as though you were sitting in the kitchen with Minny or Aibileen, or watching the Wednesday bridge game at Elizabeth's house.
The underlying morals and racial truths depicted in this book are spot on. So is the fact that much of white Mississippi didn't understand them at the time. Skeeter's mother was so much like my own, that I often sat up straighter just listening to her.
The best part about this book aside from the story itself and the readers, is the fact that although the "truths" were not pretty, the daily lives are told with a large helping of humor. I often laughed out loud and repeated quips and saying from the book.
Overall, this is an excellent book that is just all the better when listened to. Well worth the credit! I'll be watching for more from Katheryn Stockett.
I love this book. This is my third time through it, once reading and twice listening. Sandra Burr reads a little fast at times and some of the "voices" are not quite right, but this is still a very enjoyable edition of this most wonderful story. Sadly, Audible is missing the MIDDLE book of the five-book series. This one ranks right up there with the Outlander Series for me.
I am an avid reader, having read hundreds of books in my lifetime. I love the classics, but I found this to be extremely boring, disconnected, and preachy. It seems that Tolstoy used every character's thoughts to portray his own political, religious, and economic views. Over and over and over, I lost track of the plot, wrapped up in some blathering soliloqy. Davina Porter was the one saving feature to this novel. She is one of the absolute best narrators and she did a fabulous job with even this boring dribble. I actually purchased this book simply BECAUSE Davina Porter was the narrator. She didn't let me down, but this book did. I had to push myself to finish it. Boring, boring, boring.
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