This is another of Eric Schlosser's brilliant works - one of those where I didn't want to get out of the car. Whereas other reviewers are asking for conclusions to be made by the author, I had absolutely no problem interpreting the author's conclusion or moreover, coming to my own, and I believe this is the author's intent - that the reader/listener SEE the destruction created by the goverment's witch hunts and failed policies.
An absurd, sparingly told story of a bunch of drunks and a tramp. This novel is broken up into 3 "books" - you can completely throw out the 1st about the "wild nightlife" of Paris. There was nothing interesting at all in the telling, no insight into the characters, no captivating plot, nothing....but drinking. I wish I had a digital copy of the book and could count the times "get a drink" was used - it would be in the hundreds, and without anything engaging told in between.
I did not have any empathy for the main characters, and did not sense any "spiritual dissolution, unrealized love, and vanishing illusions." If these were themes, maybe I needed a drink to ferret them out. I thought these "woe-is-me” motifs were modern day creations. I cannot believe that this novel is considered a masterpiece. The only interesting characters were the supporting cast, particularly the Spanish hotel owner and the bullfighter. It is inconceivable to believe nowadays or moreover in the 1920's, that a reader would feel anything for any of the four main figures (except the bullfighter) who were all in love with the same tramp, Lady Brett Ashley, who was "accustomed to getting what she wants" - there was nothing the least bit interesting about her. A lousy listen - save your money on this book and go buy yourself a drink instead - you'll certainly have more fun.
I found On the Road to be a difficult listen. Despite my long held desire to listen to some of the American classics, Kerouac's "spontaneous, confessional prose style" of writing left me very disappointed in this book. Perhaps if I had read this in college 20 years ago, I might have enjoyed it. But listening to absurd rambling, drinking, more drinking, and gross irresponsibility by the sidekick, Dean Moriarty, for 10 hours, left me feeling nothing more than sorry for the characters. To consider this work an American classic, "a defining work of the postwar Beat Generation," makes me wonder what void America was feeling at that time and what they found in this book to be so compelling. Putting all of the book's epiphanies into a short story would have made this interesting.
One description of the book - "Sal’s travels erode into disappointment. He slowly becomes more dissatisfied with what he finds on the road, and he begins to look back on his previous travels in a more cynical way" - is exactly how I felt about the novel.
Drunken debauchery makes for good fun, but not good literature.
This book was clearly written for high school girls. The only reason I finished the book was in order to be able to discuss it with my college aged niece who was reading it, and was also having a hard time getting through it. I can't decide if this was my worst listen ever, or 'Beach Music'?
As clearly defined by Ian as "a collection of monologues," the lack of a plot made it difficult for me to keep interested. While written as beautiful prose, I found it challenging to listen to and follow while driving.
Out of the 162 books that I have listened to, this was the worst - pure melodrama. The only reason I finished it was for respect to the person who recommended it, hoping that at some point it would get better, but it never did.
Mostly recycled info on the Donald, with some objective reporting on Trump's financial woes. The author, Timothy O'Brien, should never, ever narrate a book again - sounded like a kid reading a book report, which made it difficult to finish this listen.
This is by far the worst Grisham novel I have listened to (in order of preference: The Painted House, The Summons, The Last Juror, The Testamant, and The King of Torts). The plot was hardly worthy of a made-for TV movie script, totally contrived. And, like other reviewers stated, I grew tired of the affected "breathy" narration. Nevertheless, it kept my attention wondering where it would end.
I'd have a hard time recommending this as an audio book. I believe it would be a better read than listen. In my case, while driving, I found the audio book a bit too difficult to listen to, found myself rewinding too often to re-listen to many things that I couldn't catch the first time, either due to the Scottish accent of the narrator, the fact the book jumps back and forth between scenes, or the elaborate language. It's funny, but after completing the whole book, I went back and re-listed to the first 2 hours, and it was as if I had never heard it before. Nonetheless, the second time around, it all made much more sense, however I still believe it is an awkward beginning.
As a whole, this book is about the McLeod family, and primarily about Fenno. Then, about 3/4 of the way through, the storyline just drops off and goes on to discuss Fern. I cannot understand how this did not get edited out. I did not care for this character at this point, and kept asking myself, "but what about Fenno?" This event made the book entirely unbalanced. Sure, Fenno's and Fern's lives intersect, but did Fern's entire history add value to understanding their relationship? - I do not think so. The publisher's summary that Fern "must make peace with her past to embrace her future" is simply putting varnish on the weak part of the book. In my opinion, it was simply a story that the writer could simply not throw out, and the overall story suffers for it.
Overall, the book contains volumes of beautifully written prose. Indeed, Julia Glass does paint wonderful pictures of "love in its limitless forms." Regarding the actual audio format, the narrator is both a blessing and barrier, his different accents and inflections help the listener distinguish between characters and often adds color and charm, but at the same time the Scottish accent can be difficult to understand. Additionally, the book would have greatly benefited from a distinct pause when jumping from one scene to another.
This is not a 10 step book to finding a better career or a meaningful life, and those that are looking for such a book should look elsewhere. In the author's words: "Is this [book] about life or about careers? ?it's about people who've dared to be honest with themselves, those who fought with the seduction of money. What might we learn from those who had faced up to this question?"
If you reading this review, almost certainly you are searching for answers, and will have expectations to address the questions swimming in your head. This appears to have been the situation with many other reviewers here, and many have been disappointed as this book does not offer a self help guide. It even appears that other reviewers [Jennifer?] are jealous of the author's own experience! So with tempered expectations, and the ability to cope with the drab narration by the author, this book does offer meaningful insight.
The author writes based on his own search to the question "What should I do with my life?" - as well telling the stories of others he interviewed. Many will find value in what the author shares from what he learned from those stories and the patterns that emerged: "Is it supposed to feel like destiny? Should I accept my lot, make peace with my ambition. Should I make money first to fund my dream? How do I tell the difference between a curiosity and a passion? When do I need to change my situation, and when is it me that needs to change? If I have a child, will my frustration over my work go away? What will it feel like when I get there? As if the answers should be obvious too, but they're not."
Many cannot learn without being told specifically what to do, while others can find substance in the experiences of others - and this is what this book offers. Moreover, I appreciated the author's honesty: "The product of these efforts is very different from what was originally envisioned. It reflects what was found not what not what was predicted.
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