Frederick Davidson does a great job as the droll, sarcastic narrator of this story. It is still funny, even a century later. The plot does get bogged down in philosophical thoughts and bits of Christian theology, and the first part of the book is better than the second, but I enjoyed the reading and marveled at how much the truth of how we are treated as youth matters as to what kind of adults we become.
After reading this book, it is fascinating to look up history on the life of Samuel Butler and see how thinly this novel is a disguised autobiography. He is really a tremendously talented writer.
This novel and its mediations on loss and loneliness and the connections that the characters from different stories eventually have with each other are hard to dwell on when you are listening to it. I believe that reading it would be better. I got a hard copy and after reading certain sections and seeing words repeated, I was able to make the connections that a careful reader would pick up on, which answered a bunch of questions for me about who is who in the novel. Just listening in the car, this was not something I could do, and I was happy I read it. The different stories all have separate narrators and this was helpful as they are interspersed with each other, and otherwise it would have been hard to know who was talking.
The voice of a young girl with Asperger's Syndrome rings a bit false to me. I have read a number of these types of things and I was surprised this won the National Book Award considering it was a bit plodding and predictable. The narration was excellent, but that did not save the book for me.
I enjoyed this audiobook and the narrator was very good. The issue with the story, however, is that it hinges on quite a number of coincidences in order to propel the plot, and a writer as good as Paulsen dosen't have to do that. It could have been longer and those issues could have been resolved more imaginatively. The little historical factual notes at the end of chapters serve to complement the plot and I thought they were particularly interesting. I could see how they could take away from the narrative, however, if someone was reading it, and not listening. The book contains some rather violent scenes so I would not recommend it for younger than 10 years old.
This was well read and held your interest. The point of view of a young boy in Vietnam during the war there is unique to children's literature in English, I think, and the writing is tight and well plotted, and lovely. Very appropriate for a 4th - 6th grade reader, and can be listened to by all ages.
Like in "The Corrections", the author delves into the psyches of some pretty unlikeable people, but even though each one of them has faults, and rarely can the listener identify with any of them particularly, they are all simply humans with flaws and you grow to love them. It is well read, and the satisfying ending left me in tears while sitting in the car--and not tears of sadness, but of the moving realization that we are probably all scarred by our individual stories, but choosing to live our best lives is what keeps us sane as long as we continue to see the beauty in the world and our relationships to others.
This book stayed with me for days after finishing it.
This story is told in the voice of a 5th grade girl and Sisi Johnson gets it absolutely right. I highly recommend this as a great book for a family, or especially for young people in grades 4 and up. The author helps you to see the world through the eyes of a disabled child who is very intelligent but can't speak--and it can really change the way people see and treat others with disabilities.
The narrators do a wonderful job with the many voices and characters, making this a much better listen than reading it alone. Great fun, and fascinating history is learned too.
Lorrie Moore never met a simile she didn't like--there must be hundreds of descriptions in that form throughout this book. It is writing so clever that one must stop to admire it, which distances the reader from the plot, as thin as it is. Mostly it is the slow revelations of a young college narrator who learns about love and loss in a year of her life. I enjoyed listening to it, although it is not a book I would recommend to people as a book "you can't put down" because it meanders often and sometimes feels like a meditation on life, which doesn't always compel me in an audiobook.
But the narrator, Mia Barron, is spot on with her ironic smarminess and voice of youthful longing. Get this one if you admire the great wordsmiths and like to be amazed by unusual talent.
I certainly can understand how some may think this book to be complex because it has so many characters and there is some work involved in keeping them straight. But boring and meandering? Not at all. I was fascinated from start to finish and still wonder if this story could have really happened in history, as I discoved later that the author did not research. Doesn't matter--a great book!
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