Hilarious, Shocking & Touching
I love Mama Ruby! I read The Upper Room years ago and the Mama Ruby character was insane. She was hilarious, over-bearing, controlling and a bit unbelievable. However, in this book, the listener is able to experience the development of Mama Ruby and better understand how she came to be "Mama Ruby". Readers of the Upper Room questioned how Mama Ruby was able to commit the unspeakable act that was central to the plot line. In this prequel, while the reader may not agree about the appropriateness of Mama Ruby's behavior in committing the unspeakable act, they are now able to understand why she did it.
Kevin Free's performance was flawless. I actually forgot that this book had only one person reading it. Well done!
The title is sufficient
The entire series is a testament to eternal love. Dawit showed us the depths of his passion in My Soul to Keep. Jessica rose as a heroine while living in the aftermath of Dawit's passion in The Living Blood. In Blood Colony, we experienced the flirtation of a new, young and potentially fatal love. My Soul to Take demonstrated the maturity of the individuals involved in the flirtation of book 3 and how that maturity allowed two beings that could have destroyed each other to happily coexist in a world of their choosing. It is a satisfying end to a beautiful circle of love, passion and consequences.
She is not my favorite narrator. Luckily the story made it easy to get past the performance.
Love, passion and consequences
Ms Whetstone writes compelling stories with heroines that haunt you long after the story ends. I know Nina and Nan will be with me for a considerable amount of time as I contemplate the dynamics of their tortured relationship and their individual struggles with their personal demons. I can't say that I identified with a particular character in the book, but I definitely felt their anguish over the choices they made in life. I believe that the antagonism I felt toward Nan through the majority of the story was pierced.and diluted with empathy and hope when Ms Whetstone skillfully changed the perspective of the narrative toward the end of the story
Beyond an absorbing story and multidimensional characters, I am often struck by the understated elegance of Ms Whetstone's literary style. On more than one occasion I stopped to marvel at the beauty of her language structure.
Love's many faces
Arthur Opp was undoubtedly my favorite character. I became his cheerleader throughout the story. From the first preview listen to the completion of the book, the professor's humanity tugged at my soul. The professor had many insecurities and vulnerabilities that began in his childhood. We all have insecurities and it was easy to identify with him as a result. With such a limited support system, it was easy to see how he had allowed himself to dwell in a self-imposed prison. With each chapter, I found myself rooting for him as he attempted to overcome his personal issues to get past the traumas of his life.
Authenticity. When reading we often perceive characters in the manner in which we can best identify. Kirby and Keith were able to present the characters with the same traits my mind's ear would have heard them as having.
I would take Charlene out to dinner. She was equally traumatized by life as was the professor. I would have encouraged her not to isolate herself from the professor, because they needed each other.
The story made you think of the "what if's" and the "only if's" about these characters' lives. Just as everyone looks back on their own lives of the paths they left untraveled. In spite of the "what if's", I was satisfied with the conclusion.
A satisfying tale
Learning the ingredients of Mrs. Such's sausages. The peppers were not enough...
Mr. Ballerini's performance was masterful. Most notable is the fact that he maintains the consistent characterizations for all of the characters throughout the series.
Mr. Slaughter was most memorable character for this story. As the prevailing villain, I was intrigued to learn how he became so villainous.
It seems each installment of the Matthew Corbett series is better than its predecessors. The same is true of Mr. Slaughter.
The story quickly drew me in and didn't let me go until the very end. I did not intend to listen to it non-stop, but ultimately I did. I started the book thinking it would be similar to the Matthew Corbett series by the same author. Instead, it was a post apocalyptic novel and I love this genre. It had a bit of mysticism in it and it played better than I would have expected with the story.
My three favorite characters were Swan, Joshua & Sister. I liked these characters individually and I loved the way they interacted with each other. They all demonstrated that in the worst of circumstances the human spirit can remain compassionate, determined and faithful.
This was my first time listening to this narrator.
Yes. I listened to it all day and night.
I consider the Matthew Corbett series and Swan Song to be to very different literary genres. It is rare for an author to write across genres and be just as compelling of a storyteller in each genre. I applaud Robert McCammon for being able to do it so well.
I now regret the time spent on this book. I was enjoying the story until the political overtones became overwhelming.
The story would have been just as good if we didn't have to hear the author's views on socialism and conspiracy theories about the government revoking individual citizens' rights. I enjoy post-civilization fiction. However, this story felt more like Tea Party propaganda.
Yes, Duke Fontaine can only read what is in the book.
I was thoroughly disappointed by the end
I would not consider it better, simply more convenient.
The subject matter (the death penalty) evokes strong opinions from most people. Going in, I had my beliefs on the matter, however, the skillful rendering of the story challenged my beliefs at various points. I believe a good story should challenge your preconceived notions on a topic.
Michael Beck's characterizations were done so well, I often forgot there was just one narrator.
Yes, but other obligations prevented listening to it all at once.
I would listen to this story again in a few years. John Grisham's characters in Clanton, MS live in your heart and mind long after the story is told. Sycamore Row returns to Clanton, the town in which we first got to know Harry Rex, Lucien and Jake. Its like visiting old friends.
Sycamore Row will naturally be compared with The Last Juror and A Time To Kill. The two stories in which we previously visited Clanton, MS with John Grisham. Grisham's legal tales seem more compelling when told in the context of this slow-paced southern town, filled with the local eccentrics.
I especially like Michael Beck's performances of John Grisham's books. I have heard him perform The Chamber as well. I will probably look for his other narrations on Audible as well.
The final scene was impactful.
Characters on Parade
Mama Ruby is my favorite character. She is the center of a universe of misfits. While every fan of Mama Ruby knows she is unpredictable, her antics still have the ability to shock and amuse the reader. The hilarity of her perspectives and actions are magnified when contextualized by the reactions and perspectives of the cast of characters with whom Mama Ruby interacts daily.
Prior to listening to the Upper Room, I listened to Kevin Free's narration of "Mama Ruby". Mr. Free is extremely talented and his ability to enliven characters from the page provided me with a brand new experience with this reading of the Upper Room. I had previously read the Upper Room years ago, but chose to listen to it again through Audible. I think I enjoyed the story far more with Mr. Free's narration. With both performances, Mr. Free does an excellent job, however, he exceeded the mark with the Upper Room.
Through out the story, Mama Ruby guarded against "maniacs" who may attempt to "rape" her or Maureen. When a true rape did occur, I found it ironic that the perpetrator was not "chastened" by Mama Ruby's methods, though one could argue that justice was still served.
Kevin Free's narration of Mary Monroe's The Upper Room results in the perfect storytelling experience!
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