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Robert R.

San Francisco, CA | Member Since 2015

180
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 42 reviews
  • 75 ratings
  • 642 titles in library
  • 28 purchased in 2018
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
3

  • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Gregory Maguire
    • Narrated By John McDonough
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6636)
    Performance
    (4111)
    Story
    (4157)

    Heralded as an instant classic of fantasy literature, Maguire has written a wonderfully imaginative retelling of The Wizard of Oz told from the Wicked Witch's point of view. More than just a fairy tale for adults, Wicked is a meditation on the nature of good and evil.

    Kathleen says: "It's not easy being green"
    "Extremely Amateurish, Convoluted, Poorly Plotted"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Has Wicked turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No.


    What does John McDonough bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    John McDonough was the one saving grace of listening through the tedium that is Wicked. His narration is both entertaining and masterful, and far better than the material he was given.


    Any additional comments?

    What a terrible, poorly constructed and thought out hodgepodge of notions and little more, all glommed together inartfully, in search of a story, a plot, and of universal and resonant themes that never come.

    The book starts out well and is mesmerizing in the beginning chapters when the witch is a baby. After that, it's a complete mess, and not particularly satisfying on any level.

    To say it's half-baked would be generous.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Wrinkle in Time

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Madeleine L'Engle
    • Narrated By Hope Davis, Ava DuVernay, Madeleine L'Engle, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11665)
    Performance
    (10400)
    Story
    (10407)

    Meg Murry, her little brother Charles Wallace, and their mother are having a midnight snack on a dark and stormy night when an unearthly stranger appears at their door. He claims to have been blown off course and goes on to tell them that there is such a thing as a "tesseract", which, if you didn't know, is a wrinkle in time. Meg's father had been experimenting with time travel when he suddenly disappeared. Will Meg, Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin outwit the forces of evil as they search through space for their father?

    Patricia says: "Thank You for a New Narrator"
    "Unsatisfying"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I finally read this (in my 50s). It's a strange mix of sophisticated ideas (which I liked) and characters only a child could embrace with any willing suspension of disbelief (which I didn't). I have zero interest in seeing the film after reading this. If I were between kindergarten and third grade it would have been alright, but the same sophisticated ideas with believable characters (and character names) would have made this something special, which it's not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Too Much Money

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Dominick Dunne
    • Narrated By Ann Marie Lee, Nicholas Hormann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (39)

    Dominick Dunne revives the world he first introduced in his mega-best-selling novel People Like Us, and he brings readers up to date on favorite characters such as Ruby and Elias Renthal, Lil Altemus, and, of course, the beloved Gus Bailey. Once again, he invites us to pull up a seat at the most important tables at Swifty's, get past the doormen at esteemed social clubs like The Butterfield, and venture into the innermost chambers of the Upper East Side's most sumptuous mansions.

    Robert R. says: "Could Have Used a Final Polish"
    "Could Have Used a Final Polish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was published posthumously and really could have used a good final polish.

    Bits of information are repeated over and over, but the worst is that every character refers to a particular person as "the male nurse." Even a female nurse refers to him as a "male nurse," which just wouldn't happen in life.

    The appeal of Dunne's writing is often recognizing the real life people and events he's fictionalizing, but this isn't the best of Dunne's work by a long shot. It might have been if he wasn't aged and in failing health and rushing to finish it before he died.

    The story's more memorable simply for the feel of it and all the little details about the lives of the ultra rich Dunne sprinkles throughout, rather than the overall narrative.

    The story's unmemorable and there's not a single really compelling character, so overall this is a mediocre effort in the end. You can easily skip it without having lost anything from your life.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Logical Family: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Armistead Maupin
    • Narrated By Armistead Maupin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (89)
    Performance
    (84)
    Story
    (84)

    In this long-awaited memoir, the beloved author of the best-selling Tales of the City series chronicles his odyssey from the old South to freewheeling San Francisco and his evolution from curious youth to groundbreaking writer and gay rights pioneer. Also included is an exclusive conversation between Maupin and best-selling author Neil Gaiman.

    Robert R. says: "Ends Abruptly"
    "Ends Abruptly"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read all of Armistead Maupin's books over the years, enjoying some much more than others, finding some absolutely delightful, and some wildly uneven. This account of the author's life kept my attention, and introduced me to a side of his early life I could barely imagine given the difference in our ages, but it glosses over areas of his life I know about, relationships, and events, and then (worse) comes to an abrupt halt with an account of his last meeting with his father. It literally ended (with years and years uncovered) and then said "Epilogue," at which point Maupin read his famous coming out letter for Michael Toliver, and then an interview followed with Neil Gaiman.

    What's the rush? I would have much preferred the author was thorough and didn't gloss over so much of his story, and all I can think is he and his publisher are leaving room for a followup.

    I was satisfied with the content, but disappointed with the abrupt end to it, and overall I was left disappointed.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Garden Party

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 51 mins)
    • By Katherine Mansfield
    • Narrated By Dame Peggy Ashcroft
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    This recording contains four of Katherine Mansfield's best stories. In The Daughters of the Late Colonel, two sisters are recently bereaved; while in Her First Ball a young girl attends her first dance. The Singing Lesson features Miss Meadows, a music teacher in turmoil; and in The Stranger, a middle-aged couple are reunited.

    Robert R. says: "Missing Garden Party"
    "Missing Garden Party"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't know why this is entitled The Garden Party, as it doesn't contain that particular story. It apparently contains The Daughters of the Late Colonel, Her First Ball, The Singing Lesson, and The Stranger. I was interested in this because of the narrator but I particularly wanted to listen to The Garden Party, and was confused for over an hour (there was no garden party), so a little Net research told me I was listening to The Daughters and the Late Colonel and that The Garden Party has completely different characters and subject matter. The title is (apparently) intentionally deceptive, and though I like the narrator and would have been interested if this included The Garden Party, I decided to return this book to Audible and not to reward the publishers' trickery.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Measure of Her Powers: An M. F. K. Fisher Reader

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By M. F. K. Fisher, Dominique Gioia - editor
    • Narrated By Carolyn Cook
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Gathering journals, letters, translations, and selections from her many books, The Measure of Her Powers showcases Fisher's versatility, providing new listeners and loyal fans alike with a sampler from her wide-ranging body of work. M. F. K. Fisher is a perennial literary favorite. Her evolution from an uncertain young woman to a feisty elder with opinions about everything continues to fascinate listeners who understand the complexities of life's hungers.

    Robert R. says: "Dreadful Narration"
    "Dreadful Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator on this is overly gushy and unnatural in her reading, and because it's M.F.K. Fisher's words and Fisher was nothing like this in her style or speech, it was impossible for me to continue for long. You're far better off reading this yourself than listening to this woman who uses her voice like a gushy rollercoaster, over unnatural highs and lows in a way that speaks of an amateur, not Fisher or her life.

    Other than that, no complaints. The story's okay (compiled from other Fisher writings). Any of those would serve you better.

    What were they thinking?

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Princess Diarist

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Carrie Fisher
    • Narrated By Carrie Fisher, Billie Lourd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5011)
    Performance
    (4687)
    Story
    (4655)

    When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved—plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a teenager with an all-consuming crush on her costar, Harrison Ford.

    Gretchen SLP says: "Fireworks at Midnight"
    "Wish I'd Skipped This One"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoy Carrie Fisher's work, but this was rather hard to listen to and just went on and on and on about a very minor affair that should have taken five minutes to gloss over.

    I wish Carrie Fisher every success and happiness in life with her next project. This one is perhaps her only "off" work to date. Anything else she's done I highly recommend.

    From what she was talking about to how it was delivered, this was a disappointment and chore to get through, alas.

    6 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • The French Chef in America: Julia Child's Second Act

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Alex Prud'homme
    • Narrated By Alex Prud'homme
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (34)

    Julia Child is synonymous with French cooking, but her legacy runs much deeper. Now, her great-nephew and My Life in France coauthor vividly recounts the myriad ways in which she profoundly shaped how we eat today. He shows us Child in the aftermath of the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, suddenly finding herself America's first lady of French food and under considerable pressure to embrace her new mantle.

    Robert R. says: "Even If You Think You've Heard it All..."
    "Even If You Think You've Heard it All..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Surprisingly, even if you've read several biographies of Julia Child, this one manages to give a very thorough overview of events in Julia Child's life up until her death, and to keep it fresh along the way, especially in contrasting Julia's personal thoughts (gleaned from letters and so on) compared to the Julia we saw that was her public persona. (The same can be said for her collaborators, Simone "Simca" Beck and Judith Jones.)

    The narration was well done. It's well researched, insightful, and well written. If I have one criticism it's with pronunciation of some of the names of people. Pierre Franey's last name is pronounced to rhyme with Rainy rather than rhyming with Fan-Bay. Dione Lucas is pronounced as Dee-Own when it should be Dee-Oh-Knee. And so on.

    Overall, highly recommended. It was a pleasure to listen to from beginning to end, and a fond remembrance of many of the events in Julia's life and memories of our own revisited along the way here.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Constant Alien: An Autobiography

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Catherine Schell
    • Narrated By Catherine Schell
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Catherine Schell has lived a life more dramatic and colourful than any of her many acting roles. Her story sweeps from her birth during an Allied bombing raid in Budapest to life under postwar Russian occupation, escape, and life as a refugee in Austria; a strict convent school life in America; and on to Germany, where she became an actress.

    Robert R. says: "Fascinating from Beginning to End"
    "Fascinating from Beginning to End"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Having been a fan of actress Catherine Schell since the mid-1970s, the book I was expecting paled in comparison to the supreme accomplishment Ms. Schell delivered. While her professional exploits and stories of her cast members and so on were wonderful, classy, and dignified, the real draw here was a complete surprise. Ms. Schell's life is fascinating, from her childhood with the family escaping the Nazis to the present day. Highly, highly recommended, and a real pleasure to hear the actress narrating her own story. Regal class and elegance. Those qualities have always surrounded Ms. Schell, and they're here in abundance. Reading the book would be wonderful, but hearing the book in Ms. Schell's own words and voice added so much to the experience.

    Sadly, many will never know the bounty we have here. They may not know the actress or her work, but her life story alone would be a fascinating read for anyone.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Making Masterpiece: My 25 Years behind the Scenes at Masterpiece and Mystery! on PBS

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Rebecca Eaton
    • Narrated By Meredith Mitchell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    For more than 25 years and counting, Rebecca Eatonhas presided over PBS's Masterpiece Theatre, the longest-running weekly prime-time drama series in American history. From the runaway hits Upstairs, Downstairs and The Buccaneers to the hugely popular Inspector Morse, Prime Suspect, and Poirot, Masterpiece Theatre and its sibling series Mystery! have been required viewing for fans of quality drama.

    Jean says: "Engaging memoir"
    "Glad I Listened"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wasn't sure I was going to find this engaging, but I did, and it only took a few days to listen to. It was a pleasure to follow the back story of Masterpiece Theatre/Masterpiece over the years, and to learn a little of the behind-the-scenes information on how these shows came to be, the challenges along the way, the personalities involved, and so on.

    I hesitated, wondering if an entire book of it would get boring. It didn't. Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • In and Out of the Kitchen

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 50 mins)
    • By Miles Jupp
    • Narrated By Miles Jupp
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    The hilarious sitcom written by and starring Miles Jupp, featuring the entries and recipes from the kitchen diary of cookery writer Damien Trench. In these four episodes, Damien decides to do a radio programme about the French bean, accepts a job for a supermarket's online magazine, deals with a crisis affecting his Umbrian holiday villa and is offered a chance to front his own TV show.

    Robert R. says: "The Most Boring Purchase Ever on Audible"
    "The Most Boring Purchase Ever on Audible"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There's nothing here. It's just droning. No story. Little character. You could say that being an American I don't "get British humor," but my listening and purchasing history would belie that assumption.

    It's just not funny, and to say it's "mildly entertaining" would be generous.

    If you are going to buy it, at least don't buy this version. Get the one with Series 1-3 bundled together and save yourself some money. This one's getting returned. I got through the first three chapters, but finally quit during the fourth and final. There's nothing here and it never improved.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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