I don't know what book the publisher's summary was written for, but I don't think it's this one. My husband & I listened for as long as we could stand the boredom of it during a long drive, and never even got close to anything in the plot that the publisher describes. Can't imagine ever being bored enough with real life to want to try to listen to this long enough to finish it.
Enjoyable atmospherics & observations of the human condition and I wanted to love this book, but the 2 main characters never came alive for me. Paul's wandering off from his happy home, with never a word about how or why, and Cora's similar departure from her husband, just made them seem like wraiths; no flesh & blood. Interesting ending, though. I actually wished it had started there!
The narration is perfect. You can almost always tell who's speaking, and yet the different voices aren't overdone. An enjoyable tone and pace.
Even though detective fiction isn't my favorite genre, I did enjoy this story, and appreciated the fact that it wasn't filled with violence. I can relax with a whodunit if it's not making me cringe all the time. This one kept me up most of one night.
Fascinating plot twist at the end.
The author bravely bares much of her family life, her work life, and her physical struggles with ALS. She is a courageous reporter on the crime beat for her newspaper for 20 years, until she can no longer make it up and down the courthouse steps without falling. Unlike some who might stop working before that humiliating point, she does not. We begin to see she's like that throughout all the domains of life, including this writing.
Many parts of this rather short memoir are full of juice, others are a little flat, obviously padded out to complete the book she was rushing to publish before she could no longer communicate. She typed much of this book on an iPhone, using only 1 finger, so who am I to complain about any of it, including the fact that it feels like this was a magazine article stretched out to become a book.
The writing itself is good. It's the content that left me feeling there was a point in her life after being diagnosed with ALS where she started pushing friends and family into colorful situations in order to create material to write about, and the material suffers for this.
She's careful to not invade the privacy of her husband and children too much, and so we see them only glancingly, and only in specific anecdotes. One of the most fascinating aspects of her story might have been how a marriage relationship endures, changes, suffers, or grows in such a struggle, but she avoids that mostly, and it leaves a yawning gap in the picture.
But clearly, this memoir screams the message that she is doing ALS and end-of-life on her own terms, and so she does. Despite its flaws and gaps, the book is compelling reading.
Shades of brown and black, relieved only by the stark white light shining upon the too-frequent masturbation scenes. Characters you don't even want to like, let alone care about. I persevered through the entire ~5 hours, which seemed like 20, and nothing improved. There is a strange plot twist at the end, but it feels absolutely meaningless, since it involves characters we know virtually nothing about. On the up side, the narrator is great. I just hope he didn't feel suicidal after spending so much time with this author's work.
The author seems to have run out of energy and now feels it's ok to make a novel out of one sentence: "This is my destiny, to mother a king." Waste of time & money.
Elizabeth Berg's narration sparkles with each character's different voice, catching the local inflections and the personality tones just perfectly. Her story is totally engaging, though yes, I'll admit the characters she chooses to highlight include some of the extremes of high school categories, but they are played out to realistic perfection, and the situations are moving as well as thought-provoking. I found the overcoming of challenges uplifting rather than depressing, and I had to laugh out loud at the way one particularly bitchy woman talks to herself inside her head. A very entertaining listen, over too soon.
Lauren Weedman is hilarious! She writes with side-splitting accuracy about life and work and love and everything, and she narrates the book herself with the zing that only a professional actor, which she is, can give. Why is her name still such a secret? She is an incredibly talented writer and performer, and I'm certain we're going to see more comedy from her. Don't let the fact that you haven't heard of her stop you from getting and savoring this funny, funny book. And I found her website where you can see clips of her doing other pieces. The one where she portrays a woman trying to videotape herself doing a little striptease dance as a birthday present for her boyfriend is killer.
Those of us who've been listening to PHC for several decades recognize as familiar old friends pretty much every thread in this story, but we don't mind. It's the human condition. Some people complain about Garrison's deadpan delivery on this audio book, but not those of us who love him...his mere voice reminds of us a generous, quirky view of life that comes along with it.
Garrison Keillor said that "The Red & The Black" was his favorite novel, and he's a hero of mine, so I gave this a try, I really did. I'm a great fan of audio books; have read at least 400 of them from various sources, and have given up on only a handful. This is one of the handful. I realize that it's from another culture in time and place, so I knew it might not be a quick, easy read. But sheesh! Feels like slogging through mud. Too bad. Any study tips, Garrison? Or, perhaps later, in my dotage....
Not McLynn's finest writing, but an interesting and enjoyable listen, especially if, like me, you have a hard time finding novels that don't feature murder, mayhem, & gratuitous porn. This piece is narrated by McLynn herself, and she is a professional actor, so it's well done, with perfect emphasis in all the right places, in a brogue that is mostly easily understandable for an American listener. The only quibble I have is that her voice is breathy and therefore difficult to hear in a noisy environment. McLynn's more recent book, "Bright Lights & Promises," is definitely a 5-star read.
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