I read this book for a book group expecting big things, since I fell in love with The Things They Carried. This.. well it fell flat. I wasn't particularly motivated to keep listening, in part because the story wasn't that captivating. The characters no longer held my interest after getting about 1/4 of the way through. In part, it felt like they were colored *too* much by the narration--I disliked the performance of the wife, which made it harder for me to keep listening.
It might have been better if I'd read it, but I'm not sure. As one person I discussed the book with pointed out, the reliance on the My Lai Massacre and this future senator's role in it felt a bit cheap. The use of multiple possible narratives just didn't strike me as important. The "Evidence" chapters felt a bit like a cop out.
The only thing that felt really honest about the book was its inclusion of testimonials from the characters who participated in the war--O'Brien, as always, managed to capture what it does to a person when you teach them to kill and teach them to fight. I just don't know that I felt this story was necessary to make that point.
I had heard good things about this series so I was eager to give it a read, but the book slogged and seemed to go on far longer than necessary. I don't need to have likable characters to enjoy a book, but this was filled with such drab, familiar characters that it didn't keep my attention.
I thought the world was well-built, but served only as a reminder of the books depressing point: cynical, uninteresting people will be cynical and uninterested wherever they find themselves.
The narration was totally fine, but not memorable. Didn't lose anything by listening to it rather than reading, but didn't gain much either.
Was initially turned off by the structure and the slow start, so I put it down and walked away. However I came back to it, listening on my walk to work every morning, and got drawn back into the story. Definitely takes a little while but the narration is great, and the story ends up being one that packs a punch.
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