I almost didn't listen to this book. The somewhat mixed reviews in here scared me off. Even worse, a friend whose tastes I usually share didn't like it. She stopped listening to the book after about an hour. So, even though I had downloaded the book, I waited six months before I listened to it.
What a mistake to wait, though - this was a GREAT book. It hooked me from the start. Part of the joy was the narrator. It didn't feel like I was listening to a book - I was listening directly to Piscine (Pi) tell me his story. And what a story! Far-fetched though it occasionally became, it was entrancing and gripping.
The book had some very funny parts. I particularly enjoyed Pi's early experiences discovering the great religions and the consequences thereof. Even Pi's earnestness at times is very funny, as when he instructs the reader on how to tame a wild animal in rather unusual circumstances - as if we'll ever need the expertise he is so intent on passing on.
As much as I liked it, I have a couple of small caveats. I found the book a bit gruesome when describing the deaths of several different animals. It also felt a little long to me, even though I was very sad when the book ended.
What can I say? This is a really good book that I highly recommend. After it ended, I couldn't even start another book for a couple of days - I wanted to continue to bask in its glow. I also called my father right away to tell him to get it - something I rarely do. And as for my friend who didn't like it? De gustibus non est disputandum! But I am urging her to re-listen to it.
Dear God. The narration fits the book quite well, by which I mean Cisneros comes across as trying very hard to sound like a child and fails at making it seem natural. I'm unimpressed by this book as a book (and yes, I do "get it," I just think other authors have made the same points in less predictable, more nuanced, more compelling ways) but Cisneros' simpering little-girl voice grates on your ears and makes the 2 hours of this book feel like 20.
This book could have been an engaging and interesting novella, but at nine hours it's about five hours too long.
The first half of the book is so tedious that I nearly stopped listening. In that first segment, there is almost no human interaction - just descriptions of what Martin, the main character, does for a living, and how he goes about that job. Plus Martin's thoughts - lots and lots of his thoughts. A good author could have established Martin's character and quirks in an hour or less; here it took five.
When Martin actually does interact with somebody, even in his memory, the book becomes temporarily more interesting. But the story quickly reverts back to Martin's inner monologue - and believe me, it's one boring monologue.
The book becomes more interesting once some other people enter the story, but all the characters share the same flaws: they are shallowly developed and just not very believable.
In short: interesting premise, lousy execution. Whoever failed to edit this book didn't do Matthew Dicks - or us - any favors.
I couldn't stop listening to this book - it was one of my most enjoyable "listens" all year.
The plot was interesting and full of unexpected moments; it held me captive throughout the book. The characters fleshed out and became likable - I'm still laughing at some of their dialogue. And the narrator was very good - a semi-gruff voice perfectly suited to a war-time tale.
I had never heard of the book, but I'm glad it was on Audible's list of 60 five-star books from 2009. Very good book.
I loved "Time Traveler's Wife" and was really excited to get this book when it came out. I was less excited by the time I finished the book.
"Her Fearful Symmetry" started off well - interesting characters, a mysterious conflict, unusual demands in a will. By the end, however, things had become so preposterous that I was peeved.
It wasn't the supernatural elements that were preposterous - like "Time Traveler's Wife", the not-real-life (paranormal) setup was good. If you were willing to suspend disbelief for a little, the situation was believable.
What didn't make sense were the choices the characters made. For example, and without giving away too much, the huge dissatisfaction that one of the main characters experienced pretty much came out of nowhere - and the character's idea for resolving it was just nuts.
On the other hand, the narrator was really good. Her switching between accents was surprisingly good and her characterizations were very believable.
On balance, I guess I enjoyed the book - there were enough good parts to it. I am disappointed that it didn't stick together well enough in the last third, but I like Niffenegger's writing enough that I'm sure I'll read her next book.
"Nobody's Fool" sure doesn't sound very promising. It chronicles roughly five weeks in the life of a 60-year-old semi-crippled man with money, legal, family, friend, and lover problems. Other than that, life is pretty good.
What a story, though! It's full of richly-developed characters, plenty of smiles and laughs, and is wonderfully paced. To me, the story never felt long, even through a 24-hour listen.
The book was made even better by the narrator (Ron McLarty, who also wrote and read "The Memory of Running" - yet another great listen). Though the book is full of characters, McLarty keeps them separate through distinct and seemingly-accurate accents. He's got to be one of my favorite narrators.
This book won't give you fast action, exotic locales, or skimpy characters. It will give you real people (some of whom actually learn something about themselves) and a sense of place so real you'll swear you've lived there. I loved this book and the more I listened to it, the better it got.
I'd put "Nobody's Fool" on a par with some of my other favorite listens from Audible. If you liked any or all of the following books, I'm sure you'll like this one:
The Secret Life of Bees
Life of Pi
Time Traveler's Wife
What an incredible book ? a wonderful story about love, life, and time. The characters are appealing, flawed, interesting, human. The story was engaging, even engrossing. By the end the characters felt like good friends I had known all their lives. I also really enjoyed the two narrators, male and female, and thought their reading added tremendously to the believability of the book.
I?ve listened to some great books through Audible (?Middlesex?, ?Secret Life of Bees?, etc.) but I don?t think I ever sat as long in my garage, unwilling to turn off the story and go into the house. Often I would drive the long way to work just so I could hear more of the story.
The book is not perfect. The middle third or so I found a bit slow and I wished the pace would pick up again. But the beginning got me hooked right away and the ending was great. As is the case with most good books, I wished this one would not end.
An earlier reviewer complained about the graphic sex. While there are a few scenes that are somewhat explicit, they?re not long or gratuitous and didn?t bother me. However, those descriptions might be offensive to some people. You may not want to listen to those three or four brief sections with your 10-year-old child.
One thing is for sure - don?t be fooled into thinking this is a science-fiction book. While it may sound like it, since the central premise involves time travel, it?s not. The time travel is incidental to the character development and just adds a sense of fun and uniqueness to the story.
All in all, I loved this book and have recommended it to several people already. Get this book and enjoy it!
Engaging book and narrator/author. The book is an interesting overview of scientific thinking and knowledge, both historical and current. My knowledge of science is not deep, but I enjoyed the presentation and feel I learned a lot. While listening to the book, I was amazed at the number of newspaper articles I saw that related to something the book had just covered - made me feel like a much smarter human!
The book bears repeated listening - I'm sure I missed things the first time around. But much of what I heard has stuck with me. Even now, a month after I've finished the book, I keep referring to it in conversations and bringing up interesting tidbits from it.
Nice overview, interesting narrator - all in all a worthwhile book.
I had very high expectations - great reviews, etc. However, the plot was at times ridiculous, at other times highly transparent. The narrator's accents drove me nuts.
Still, it held my interest enough to want to know what happened next. But I wouldn't recommend it - there's got to be better stuff out than this book.
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