Kate Rudd did a phenomenal, outstanding job narrating this highly emotional read. Considering the subject matter and the emotionally charged nature of this book, it would have been so easy to overdo the narration. But Kate Rudd’s performance was perfection, bringing to life these amazing characters and telling this heart-wrenching story so naturally that it was as if I was listening to Hazels private thoughts. And yes, I could still recognize a great narration even when I don’t know how I heard anything over the sobbing mess I was reduced to throughout this book. I highly recommend this audiobook experience to anyone that is interested in reading this book.
The story itself, well, I mean its John Green so of course it was amazing. I love this man’s writing. It’s like he effortlessly creates these wonderfully realistic characters; characters that I’d want to know, that I’d want to become friends with. And by the end of the book, I feel like I DO know them and that we’ve been friends forever and I’m so emotionally entwined in the story that its actually difficult to move on to another book when it is over. I felt like that with Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and I certainly feel like that with this incredible book.
I don’t know that there are many of us whose lives have not been touched in some way by cancer, but even if it hasn’t, almost everybody has lost a loved one too early and has felt the utter unfairness of that loss. The Fault in Our Stars is the story of several kids suffering from cancer and is told from their perspective. It is unapologetically and brutally honest, morbidly humorous, simply just real. This book was so filled with unfiltered truth that it was almost uncomfortable to read in some places. But I still recommend that you do.
By the end of this book, I had cried so many tears that the front of my shirt was wet, and days later I’m still tearing up as I recall the story while I write this review. The Fault in Our stars was a powerful, emotionally intense, and incredibly important read. I highly recommend it to anyone regardless of genre.
Wow...this is a difficult review to write because this was such an incredible, emotionally powerful story, I’m having a hard time finding the right words. I do want to say that Emily Klein did an OUTSTANDING job narrating this audio. I’m so glad that I chose to download the audio from Audible. Emily Klein’s narration was such that it immediately pulled me into the story and I felt like I was listening to Lina as she recounted what happened to her and her family. I also especially enjoyed listening to the author explain, at the end of the audio, a bit about the history behind this story and her inspiration for writing this book. I was completely clueless about this part of history but it’s certainly a story that needs to be told.
Between Shades of Gray tells a fictional story based around historical events that I am ashamed to say I was not aware of. During the time that Hitler was in power, he made a pact of non-aggression with Stalin in Russia which ceded several countries including Lithuania to Stalin. Stalin began arresting everyone who he believed may have anti-soviet leanings, men, women and children. Between Shades of Gray begins with Lina and her family being dragged from their home at gunpoint without explanation, loaded onto trains and shipped off. They had no idea where they were headed, all they knew was that there were hundreds of others in the same situation as they were, shoved like animals in a cattle cart on a train far away from everything they know. Lina tells about the journey, the struggles, the atrocities, and the kindnesses they found in the most unexpected places along the way.
It was those unexpected kindnesses and the moments of compassion and quiet strength that the author highlighted so beautifully that it left me a sobbing mess several times. The needless cruelties of some of the guards were in some ways shocking, but in some ways expected, because, far too often, its people that enjoy causing others’ misery that usually seek out these positions of power. One of the things that the author was able to convey was that, it is in the most dire circumstances that the truth of a person’s character becomes known. I think that some people would be surprised at some of the cruel things they may be willing to do to each other for the sake of their family’s and their own survival, just as I think they would be surprised at what they would be willing to risk in order to help a stranger. It’s amazing how far the human spirit can bend without ever being broken, and even then come back from such a unimaginably horrific ordeal and somehow be stronger and wiser and still have the capacity for love and compassion. Between Shades of Gray contains layer upon layer of truths about human nature, about love, about hope, and about determination intertwined into this heartfelt story that on the surface seems so hopeless and sad. The fact that the survivors of this had the foresight to bury the photos and letters and records of this time period so that their story could one day be told just astounds me.
I think that Between Shades of Gray is such an important story for a few reasons. First, to acknowledge what happened to the millions of Lithuanian people who died in these prisons and camp and those who survived to tell the story. Also, to be aware of the things a corrupt system is capable of. I recommend Between Shades of Gray to everyone.
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