Funny. Uncomfortable. Odd.
I love Garrison Keillor, but for me it was a bit disturbing having this book read by him. Yes, I know he wrote it, but hearing him utter phrases like "do it, do it, Jesus just do it" was a bit more than I needed to hear. I'm not a prude I swear, but it was like my grandfather was describing his affair to me. I just did not want to hear it. Usually I listen to books while I do things around the house; cooking, cleaning and taking a shower. I did NOT take this book to the shower with me. I just couldn't do it.
This is really a good book, but I would have preferred to read it.
I bought this audiobook because it was on sale. I'm glad I didn't spend a lot of money on it. There were several things wrong with this audiobook, so I'm going to try to list them. In no particular order:
1)The Writing. I thought for sure this book was written in the 50s or 60s. You know how those books read; the language is dated and the characters all feel stiff. I couldn't keep up with the amount of times a character said "gee" or "golly". The detective in the story referred to himself and other detectives as "dicks". Then various dates and times were mentioned in the book, and I realized this book had to have been written much later than I'd thought. Turns out, it was published in 1990. I never would have guessed. Then I started doing the math...a lot of the history goes back to when the main character (Goldie)'s ex was 10 (in 1967). They say the current time is 20 years after, so 1987. Goldie's ex is a gynecologist, with an 11 year old son. He was practicing when he met Goldie. If they hooked up right away, that would've made him 19 when they met. I've never in my life met a 19 year old gynecologist, and frankly I never want to.
In addition to dated language, the language is just dull. The jokes and puns (and there are a lot of them) aren't funny. Characters would refer to something being odd or unusual, when it wasn't at all. For example, the main character thought it was very funny when her 11 year old son asked, "What's geometry?" That's it. Context isn't needed; it was no funnier in the story that it was just there where I typed it. I actually created a drinking game listening to this book. Take a shot for every time Goldie says "my business", Vonette says "I have a headache" or Patty Sue says "I feel sick". Go ahead. You'll be falling down drunk in an hour.
2)Characters. I'm pretty sure Diane Mott Davidson named her characters after her pets. Fritz and Vonett and Goldie Bear and Tricksy and Patty Sue and Pomeroy. Oh, and let's not forget the 11 year old boy named Archibald. Stupid names aside, every character constantly sounded angry. This was only partly the fault of the narrator, but mostly the fault of the author. You know in bad movies, when people want to show emotion and it comes off as anger? Excitement, sadness, fear, whatever, it all comes out as anger. That's how these characters were. And annoying. There wasn't a sympathetic character among them. I wanted every single one of them to end up dead. There was the philandering grandfather and the drunken grandmother, the abusive ex, who Goldie seemed to bend over backwards to accommodate all while calling him "the jerk". The vapid roommate, boring-as-hell love interests...the whole town should just be burned and the earth salted.
3)Unbelievable Plot Points. The driver ed scene had me actually cursing out loud. I can suspend disbelief with the best of them, but I just couldn't get over how ludicrous this scene was. I can't even go on...this is making me angry.
4)Narration. Barbara Rosenblat managed to make 95% of the characters sound like Phyllis Diller...even the men. Actually, especially the men. It was impossible to figure out who was speaking.
5)Pauses. There were weird, rather long pauses in between chapters. At one point I thought the book had just stopped, it was at least 30 seconds.
Despite all of this, somehow the story itself managed to be compelling. I wanted to know how it ended. Also, the recipes thrown in every now and again were nice. I want to try the one for coffee cake.
I can't imagine anyone but Stephen Fry narrating this book. This was a favourite book before I listened to it, and now I love it even more. When I reread it myself, I now hear it in Stephen's voice. Just delightful.
First let me say that this is one of my favourite books, and I was super excited to see Alan Cumming and Tim Curry in the cast. Once I started listening however I discovered Tim Curry only voiced Van Helsing and that was disappointing since very little is said in his voice in the book. I know that's a small thing to gripe about, but it was a disappointment.
That said, I did enjoy listening to this book very much, and I would recommend it, just don't be expecting too much of the wonderful Mr. Curry because you won't be getting it.
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