I'd heard the praise. I'd read the hype. So when I decided to buy an audiobook, this was my first purchase. I listened to it on a long drive, during which time I found myself thinking about housework left undone at home, cabins I'd visited as a child, how awful it must be to contract Ebola. At first I thought I just couldn't focus on an audiobook. (I've since been absolutely riveted by other audiobooks.) I love Tina Fey and it feels blasphemous to give her anything but 5 stars, but I got really tired of the my-life-is-great-now-I'm-going-to-make-fun-of-it format.
I didn't finish it.
Last Christmas, I had a craving for some pre-consumer culture American literature. A friend suggested Little Women. I was working on a big art project at the time, so I put on my headphones and let Christina Ricci read to me. For days.
I think Christina Ricci was a good choice for this book. At times, I felt that a teenaged niece or neighbor was reading to me. While I appreciated her frank modern dialect and total lack of trying to sound historic, she did miss some of the old cadence and seemed to misunderstand some of the old expressions. Overall though, her read was very sweet and very fitting for the subjects.
I had a very minor technical issue throughout: there were a lot of pickups (probably because of mispronunciations) and the audio quality was very different with them, so with good quality headphones it was a little jarring at times.
Also, this is a very long book. If you're like me, you'll want a little time away from the Marsh family by the end of it. But it was a very good way to pass the holidays.
If this book had been more about the girl with the dragon tattoo and less about the middle aged guy who ends up schtupping her, it would have been a lot better.
This, in my opinion, is what an audiobook should be: a great story read to you by a great reader. Too often in these audiobooks, the narrators adopt different voices for the different characters and try too hard to act out the book. It can get pretty cheesy, especially when a man tries to sound like a woman or a child, or the narrator attempts accents and then gets mixed up about which character has what accent. Dustin Hoffman, who can act rings around most narrators out there, simply reads this book with only very subtle character voice changes. The result is very satisfying. I hope that Audible expands this series.
Listening to this book, I felt like I was cornered at a party by the snarky know-it-all who thinks he's a hipster. Maybe, like Seth Godin and the other social amalgamators who sell books with a promise to show you things you've heard and read a million times in a NEW WAY--with references to cultural phenom like Lost and Monty Python--this book might be better as an easily skimmable printed book.
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