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Frank McCourt narrates 'Tis himself, having that beautiful Irish lilt in his voice that made his childhood more real, more touchable as I listened. I could almost smell the filth in the streets above the cooking of fish and whatever is available. I could hear Frank and his siblings playfully fighting in bed, freezing and hungry but having such fun. His mother had many hardships since her husband generally didn't bring home a paycheck and eventually took off. Frank, being the oldest, worked like crazy doing anything at all for money, and became smarter about it. Mostly flat broke, it's less of a moral decision when there's a coin to be made, and he learns the best ways to make more from some. His family needs the money, but Frank is saving to go to America. Often teased about his "dream," the most unlikely people help him to realize his dream, and his family to literally stay alive. I didn't want it to end!
I listen at night, and this book kept me up all night! A marriage torn apart, a man following his dreams with his dog at his side, trying to recapture his little girl from the grandparents who consider him a loser. Great story and narration.
I picked this particular recording at random, because all of her selections are terrific. First I should say that this is a program about sex, for sex, all sex all the time. But, it is one of the funniest shows I've ever listened to. Sometimes she discusses particular subject, other times she'll have a guest, often an author and usually a sexpert. On some shows she'll answer letters, and is very good at drawing inferences and explaining things the writer may not understand without ever being condescending. That said, she is always funny funny funny! I always laugh out loud as I listen to these at night. If only my husband knew what I was listening to. . . !
This book has great characters and the plot unfolds slowly, drawing you in. However, I had difficulty getting past the stiff, plastic tone of the narrator. Along with that, there were pregnant pauses in odd places as though the words were being figured out, and even a few mispronunciations of common words. Getting past all of that was a bit difficult, but when I finally did it was a thoroughly enjoyable read. A rerecording would serve this book well.
This is one of the best books I've "read," which is saying quite a bit. The plot was upon me before I realized what was happening. At first I suspected this was a strict religious group, but it became far more than that! Such a fantastic idea for a way of life is almost amusing if it weren't so serious. Their regard for human life was strange, and the world, in some countries, currently has some aspects of this book's theories. It reminded me a bit of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, except the ending, and the tension, the constant requirements to live with this group through most of the book, were far more imaginative. This was one I could hardly put down.
Having read this book several years ago, I was looking forward to having it read to me. I settled back and started the book, which began fine. But in no time we were about nine chapters in, and so it went. The core of the story is there, with a little more, but it misses on the mysticism and beauty of the unabridged version.
This book is such a great read I couldn't put it down. It stayed in my thoughts when I couldn't read it, and I used any excuse to get back to it. A quirky, humorous and sad story, it is written as vividly as though the author was experiencing everything as she wrote. The characters are almost alive and kind of odd, having lived in a small community for so long. But the great thing is that everyone accepts the quirks of others, at least until the end.
When I was young, my mother gave me this book for Christmas. I still have it. She was given a copy from one of her older sisters when SHE was young. It was quite a treat in a time when treats were few; she could escape with Sara from their poverty that necessitated raising chickens behind the house, among other things. They weren't raised for eggs, but fattened in Chicago, not on a farm or in a rural area.
After reading this wonderful story my mother, as a girl, thought all things were possible. I derived the same secret and exciting thought. She wasn't wearing clothing handed down and patched wool stockings; I wasn't wearing things my mom got at the informal neighborhood swap. No, we were wearing beautiful clothing underneath. We could always be kind when someone was mean because we knew who we really were, despite the evil child who socked me in the stomach, and the nasty boy who chased her with a snapping turtle. Many times I remember wishing the floor would open and swallow me. But then I would remember who I really was (or could be) and life would go on as it always did.
Children seem to grow up so fast now, they don't get a chance to imagine and pretend; I gave a copy of this book to each of my nieces when they needed some extra joy and distraction. Psychologists may say the basic unlikeliness of the happy ending is a warped crutch. I thought it was a beautiful tale and if Sara could be happy while waiting for her fondest wish to be granted, couldn't I? So there!
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