I'm of the mindset that if you write a memoir you need to narrate the audiobook yourself (it's the one time I'll give bad narration a pass.) "Bossypants" is all the better because of Tina Fey's narration. She's incredibly engaging and her dry, self-deprecating humor will keep you laughing the whole way through. I'm a big fan of "SNL" and "30 Rock" so it was really interesting to get a behind-the-scenes look at the shows. And her opinion of Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits is spot on!
As someone who has been to the diet rodeo several times in the past few years, I relate so much to "Such a Pretty Fat". I've read it a few times but recently decided to listen to it because I've been struggling to continue losing weight and I thought it would give me the motivation to keep going. Happily, I was right. My experiences with WW meetings mirror Jen's and I laughed the hardest at the characters she encountered - people who are afraid of office birthday cakes are everywhere! This book is an honest look at the various diet programs out there (Jen tries Atkins, Jenny Craig, and WW) and the day-to-day struggle involved in losing weight.
Jamie Heinlein is a great narrator. She has Jen's snarky undertones down pat and I love that she doesn't try to put on a male voice for Fletch. Thanks to her, I enjoyed listening to this even more than I've enjoyed reading it in the past.
Move over, "50 Shades", there's a new Twilight fanfic in town! I'm really surprised that no one has mentioned this yet but Julian is basically a British Edward Cullen. He's an overbearing, filthy rich piano prodigy who is so beautiful that Kate can't stop talking about it. Kate is Bella Swan. She's a swooning damsel-in-distress who is gorgeous but doesn't realize it and although book smart, does a ridiculous number of frustratingly stupid things. That's not to mention how many plot points seem to be a direct rip-off of events from "Twilight". I won't list them out to avoid spoilers but trust me, it's true - especially in the first half of the book.
Other than "Twilight", it also reminded me of "The Time Traveler's Wife" and "My Name Is Memory" mixed together. I enjoyed how descriptive it was (all of the gushing over Julian's looks aside) but the plot is pretty iffy. The impetus for the time travel is farfetched and bizarre at best. And while it was nice that everything wrapped up neatly, it was annoying that it all happened via a conversation between two characters.
I seem to be in the minority here but I didn't like the narration at all. The voice she does for Alicia seems like it would have fit Kate better. Kate sounds a little too old. And her male voices are terrible. Charlie sounds like a surfer. Julian sounds a little stodgy - definitely nothing like the leonine god he is described as over and over.
Overall, this was an OK listen. If a sequel came along, I might give it a shot although I'd definitely read it rather than listen to it if the narrator remains the same.
I've loved all of Jen's memoirs to date and "Jeneration X" is no exception. Actually, it may be my new favorite (dethroning "Such a Pretty Fat".) Even though I'm a Gen Y-er, I tend to agree with her assessment of my generation. I wish more of my peers would listen to this and learn some of her Reluctant Adult Lessons.
Jen's narration is the best thing about this audiobook. She's very engaging and I found myself getting completely drawn into her stories. I wish she had narrated her other books as well!
I really love Jen Lancaster's funny, acerbic memoirs and I was so hoping that her first foray into fiction was going to be just as great. But it reads exactly like one of her memoirs, even down to the footnotes. Let's be real - Mia is Jen, Mac is Fletch, Daisy is Maisy, and her best friend Tracey is Stacey. Even the narrator is exactly the same and sounds just like she does when reading "Bitter is the New Black". I wish Jen had tried to write this in another style. It works really well for memoirs but doesn't translate as well to fiction. Like everything else she's written, it was punchy, fast-paced, and very funny. But I still can't help feeling disappointed.
I think if I had read this instead of listening to it, I might have rated it lower. It's a little all over the place. This book benefits greatly from Mindy's narration. She's on-par with Tina Fey in terms of skill - Mindy is funny and very charming and you really get drawn into her stories - though this is definitely no "Bossypants" (and Mindy is quick to point that out in the introduction!) As a fan of "The Office" (although admittedly not lately) and especially Kelly Kapoor, I enjoyed all of the behind-the-scenes stories. And at 4 1/2 hours, it's a perfect shorter listen.
As much as I love "Something Borrowed", "Something Blue" is hands down my favorite of the two. The writing here is just as good but Darcy as a narrator is more interesting than Rachel. And her observations are wittier and snarkier which makes it a lot more fun. The ending is definitely predictable but Darcy's journey to her happily ever after is hard fought and well deserved and I loved watching her get there.
I was a little concerned when I saw that the narrator had changed because I really enjoyed Jennifer Wiltsie's Darcy but Christine Marshall did a great job.
...but I really liked "Girls in White Dresses". It was told in vignettes with the focus shifting from one girl to another. The focus came back on most of the girls later on in the book though no one more so than Isabella. She was the character I related to most and so I enjoyed popping in to see what was going on in her life as the years progressed.
I think what I loved most about it was how realistic the dialogue was. This is exactly how my friends and I talk and I often found myself laughing as I pictured one of my friends saying some of the lines. I can understand how the repetitive "she said" can get annoying. It usually bothers me too but I didn't notice it here.
I liked Emily Janice Card's narration enough. I think she sounded like a snarky 20-something, though some of the voices she did were a little irritating (especially Lauren's voice.)
A lot of chick lit involves wacky misadventures with larger-than-life heroines. "Something Borrowed" could have very easily followed suit (I'm picturing Rachel and Dex hiding behind planters to avoid Darcy.) Thankfully, wacky misadventures are not Giffin's style and it's one of the reasons why she's the best chick lit author writing today. That's not to say there's anything wrong with madcap plots and bold heroines (I'm looking at you, Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series.) But there's something to be said about the serious way Giffin approaches the topic. Rachel is jeopardizing her lifelong friendship with Darcy by sleeping with Dex. But as she analyzes her friendship with Darcy, Rachel sees that maybe things aren't as cut-and-dry as one might imagine. I thought their friendship - for better or for worse - was incredibly realistic. And yes, the ending was a bit predictable but there were still a few surprises along the way.
I loved the writing. Giffin doesn't get bogged down in extraneous details and as a listener, there's nothing that causes me to lose focus on a story faster than a long-winded description of a room or someone's outfit.
I also loved the narration. Jennifer Wiltsie does an excellent job of capturing the different characters' voices. When Rachel speaks about Darcy, you can hear the barely contained jealousy in her voice. Darcy is loud, brash, and a little whiny, just as I imagined.
If you loved this as much as I did, you'll definitely want to listen to "Something Blue" and the rest of Emily Giffin's novels. She worked cameos of characters from "Something Borrowed" into "Baby Proof", "Love the One You're With", and "Heart of the Matter" that give you a glimpse into their futures. It's one of my favorite things about any given Giffin book!
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