I started listening to it a second time. At the end of it listening to it a second time, I realized just how important the beginning was. Initially, it all seemed to be drudgery - a detailed description of life, almost like a National Geographic narration.
There is a subtlety to it that will be missed if you give up on the story without reading it to the end. In the middle of reading it, it seems to go on and on with the descriptions. By the end of it, you realize the genius of the author. He shows the civilization of the society - the system of government, rules and order. You get to know characters and to live side by side with them. You get to understand their confusion and pain at the end. The ending point is brilliant. It takes one sentence or so to sum it all up - to connect it to the historical callousness with which we are all too familiar.
The sacrifice of Ikemefuna is most memorable to me. We got to know and care for Ikemefuna. We liked the way he became of part of Okonkwo's life and became the son he always wanted. We were happy for Okonkwo. It is the most memorable, because it is haunting. Okonkwo's shows some humanity while at the same time following the rules of tradition.
The author was my favorite. The story goes on in such an objective way - just the facts of life of the residents of Umofia. It really was not until the last line that we got an idea of how the author might have felt. It was pure genius of him.
The narrator was great. His tone and pronunciation were perfect. His monotone did not give the story away. It really kept the story on the National Geographic level - just relating the facts of life in Umofia. He was really perfect for that book. He really transported me there.
I might prefer the print edition to be able to back and forth between "lessons" to make connections and to review. It is easy to forget some of a lesson when you listen days apart. Mr. Gladwell does a decent job of jogging your memory throughout, but each person's need for a refresher is an individual one.
What is best is that Mr. Gladwell peels back layers to expose ideas and elements I missed and would otherwise miss in a surficial inspection. His research, as always, is pretty incredible. He is obviously a well-read and deep-thinking person. He is an asset to us all.
The exposition of David vs. Goliath was my favorite. He really pulled me in with his take on that confrontation. It clearly illustrated his point that sometimes what we see as an advantage is a disadvantage, and vice versa.
It made me think. It will be a reminder for me to turn things over and think about them from the other perspective. It will also force me to recast what I view as disadvantages.
I preferred Outliers, but I still liked this book very much.
It is a great story that is enhanced by the narrator
There are sensitivities in this story that are treated with respect and an appropriate knowledge base. Mr. Grisham's content advisors were spot on.
At the risk of understating his performance, Michael Beck's performance was at the level of a genius.
In every slice of life, one can find a circle. There is a place where the circle starts, at one point in time, and the same place where the circle closes, at a different point in time. Sometimes the circle is made for us, but at other times, we make the circle, whether for the good or for evil. Sometimes what we view as the starting point on the circle is actually the ending point, and vice versa; the confusion occurs often because the points are one and the same.
Though the book is long, Grisham is to be commended for a continual stream of intrigue that keeps the desire going. He is a "professional" writer. He is not the professionally trained writer who has delved in lifelong study of literature, classical and otherwise. However, he is skilled at keeping the reader engaged, intrigued and suspended, and ultimately that is what we readers crave. He writes in an everyday language with an ordinary eloquence that fits like well worn jeans.
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