CA, United States | Member Since 2012
A married school teacher drives to Home Depot on a rainy night and buys the hatchet she will soon use to kill her husband.
Interesting story, right?
No. It's actually really dull. I began listening to the audiobook because I wanted an answer to the question, "How do couples get to hatchet murder?". (I'm still not sure.)
I kept listening to the audiobook to answer the question, "How and why did Joyce Maynard write such a lousy book." That, for me, became a much more interesting mystery.
Here's what I think: Maynard knew fairly early on that she had no angle on the story and no affinity with the people involved, but she had bills to pay and was reluctant (as anyone would be) to eat all the time she'd spent researching with no payday. So she did what writers do - she put words on pages. What to include? Everything.Want to know what game the five year old daughter of the woman who now lives in the house where the murder was committed was playing when Maynard finally got the owners to agree to let her see the place? It's in there! Along with an account of every unreturned phone call and every interview request refused.
And there are lots and lots of those. Virtually no one with anything to say about the murder wants to say it to Joyce Maynard.
Desperate to convince people to open up, Maynard keeps sending the dittohead sportsfans she's trying to win over copies of her books. She wants them to believe (and to believe herself) that she will elevate their story with the power of her prose.
"Get away from my Escapade," say the sportsfans. They suspect she might be an elitist, feminist, liberal*.
And they're totally right.
If Maynard can't see or comprehend that the car enthusiast, sportsfans she's writing about DON'T READ, there is no way in hell she could ever tell this story. I mean, she can forgive the hatchet murder thing, but "Faulkner who?" blinds her to their humanity.
In other words, there is a class and culture disconnect in this book you can't believe. Maynard can make no judgment about anyone, or come down on any side, because she's judged everyone. She just can't admit it. She sounds like an earnest teen coming back from the retirement home saying, " Awwwww. Those old people were so sweet." She might as well be writing about Ewoks for all the depth and variation she's given them.
But that's just me getting something off my chest.
For the book, I thought it was dull-- all detail, no organizing prinicple or insight. Not captivating for either the characters or the deed. Go nowhere long.
For the narration - Appropriately midwestern. Good, workman-like job that doesn't call attention to itself. I've no idea why anyone would have a problem with it.
*Not that there's anything wrong with being an elitist, liberal, feminist- I do it all the time :-)
I got this book on sale, and that's good. The rest was not so good. The characters were poorly developed and unlikeable -- self-centered and/or very poor decision-makers. Midway through, I was rooting for no one -- a situation that never improved. The plot was bizarrely disjointed, shifting from a very sketchy prisioner of war story (resolved as a two minute aside) to a domestic crime story that really never made much sense on any level. It all felt very glued and spackled. I have to recommend you keep browsing
I wanted to like this book (too) so I was disappointed that it read so much like entries in a dashed-off blog. The tone is wry but ultimately pleasant about everyone and everything. No investigation or insight, just "my day at the event". Since I have an interest in the topic, I found the unrelated personal details frustrating. And it's mostly all unrelated personal detail. Detail of the "I saw a cute boy in the bar but nothing happened" variety.
On the other hand, how long have I been waiting for Starlee Kine to finish her book on self help? Ages! And still nothing!
The publisher's summary had me very excited to listen to this book! Identity theft on the internet - love that idea. Sadly, the publisher's summary is very misleading. Don't be fooled - There's no twisty-turny, laugh-out-loud, fantastical story about online mischief here. The book is far more philosophical. (Why this strong desire to turn one thing into everything?) In other words, it's thinky pain from start to finish. Beautiful prose. Lovely insights. But also, (from my perspective,) a very tedius (2 out of nine hours) exploration of religion (Judaism in this case).
The dentistry, on the other hand, was fascinating. Vividly depicted and engaging.
And Campbell Scott is an amazing narrator.
I bought this book because lies fascinate me. Liars too. Cyclists - not so much. That probably has a lot to do with my lukewarm enjoyment of this book.
My other problem was as follows: Either I'm nuts or Tyler Hamilton truly believes that his being a loving person (lots of time spent on how much he loves his folks, his wife, his teammates and the world) means he can do the exact same thing as Lance Armstrong for the very same reasons and not be guilty of the same crime. I'm mystified by this. Also annoyed.
But perhaps Tyler is just being a good domestique. For me, this book has made Lance's lack of apology look far more appealing. In that respect, well done.
Don't judge this book by it's cover. It's not a witty, hip, comment on self help. It's a fairly plodding, uninspired attempt to be helpful.
I think it's a shame Augusten Burroghs didn't take the time to address the serious issues in the book with his demonstrated skill. The lackluster prose and preachy "we're talking about you, not me" content was a terrible departure from his usual work. Imagine Miley Cyrus singing Wagner. A perplexing, painful experience.
I love you, Augusten. "Dry"'s one of my favorite books. But you need a new editor, agent, publisher or just someone who will hold you to your talent and not just cash in on your past. Be great.
I had my doubts about this book, but when Peter Sagal on NPR said he liked it, I trusted him. Peter, you owe me $17.99 and a xanax.
How is this book so popular? It's a first person narrative told by two throughly disgusting people. Do you really want two disgusting people talking to you for eight hours? I couldn't stand it.
The narrators both have whimpering puppy voices that made it so much worse. (Do you really want to feel angry at whimpering puppies for eight hours?)
To be fair, there's a lot of the book to go, so maybe the ending is good enough to make up for the first twelve torturous chapters. But I doubt it. The fact that it's based on true events makes it a non-story. Insightful? No. I think we all know what a terrible relationship is like by now.
So really, I would only listen if you want to be angry and annoyed for an extended period of time. If so, dig in.
This book is a tribute to the murdered teens. It gives a very detailed description of their lives: what they liked about school, their Harry Potter addiction, and the memorials after their deaths. The actual crime and criminal are almost never mentioned. I understand the impulse, but the result is a non-story.
Be grateful for everything your body's done for you and get ready to die.
Seriously. That's the meditation. In predictable eyes to toes progression.
"Your eyes are a miracle. They've helped you to see all these years. Be grateful."
If that sounds good to you, be my guest. But I was kind of hoping to hear my life *wasn't* over - so I was appalled.
Also - not for atheists. Be warned.
It's a great story. I side with the defense on evidence, so I enjoyed listening to Ashton lose again.
Be warned: If you want more incriminating evidence to be part of this book, you'll be disappointed. Nothing new is here revealed.
I loved the book, but I also loved the verdict. If your mind is made up against Casey, I can't imagine you'd enjoy this book very much. If you're open to the defense, I think you'll find the book thought provoking and enjoyable. Even, dare I say, persuasive.
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