The author chose to narrate his own material. His excitement for portions of the text constantly leaves him with mumbled, out of breath finishes to sentences. This is a remarkable problem in that it is so correctable. The author's material is brilliant, and he surely knows it so well that he doesn't notice the mumbled readings, but is there no editor to demand improved diction and retakes?
It is so meaningful to listen to Brian directly rather than just read words on a page. The hockey goalie moment with his son cuts to the core and deepens my understanding of Brian's struggle. I gave the story portion 3 stars because the flash forward and back style was perhaps over-used and created confusion. Of course I'm left wanting more. The story really doesn't end; we wonder if Mrs. Castner's grandma is right after all and that the soldier husband really doesn't return. And we wonder how much is sacrificed by our soldiers in combat.
I thank you for your service Brian, but I know what a woefully small token my appreciation is in comparison to what you and your comrades endure. I will add my prayers for you on many levels. I can't think of a more stunning member of the Body of Christ than the EOD soldier willing to absorb the explosive wickedness of other men in order to enhance the safety of civilians and fellow soldiers.
The yearning for an original and eternal goodness remains, despite the monumental efforts of dark forces to reduce this world and this life to nihilistic senselessness. Brian's life carries such an enormous portion from each side of that struggle. I wonder if Brian's shadow (his "crazy") is so large and menacing because the depth of his sacrifice has been so large. Naming it is a good step forward. When my shadow pops in, I like to thank it for reminding me that I remain a work in progress. My experience has been that the more I recognize it in a non-judgmental, almost affectionate way, the less demanding it becomes.
This book is a gripping experience, and it humbles the listener with the profound price paid by soldiers in their attempts to make peace in troubled parts of the world.
Great listen, but my audio has a line of gibberish at the beginning of each chapter. I thought it was reverse audio -- but reversing the clip with the tools in Audacity software did not help. Looking at the book visually on Amazon reveals a text message in code. Chapter 1 leads with: Yjcv ku vjg pcog qh vjg uauvgo wugf da jco qrgtctcvqtu vq ocmg htgg rjqpg ecnnu? Googling "Yjcv ku vjg pcog" points to others who have cracked a quite simple code. In audible, however, rest assured you are not hearing words spoken in any intelligible language -- in forward or in reverse; nor is any person or demon speaking in tongues. I'd love to know what Ray Porter said when he was told to narrate that stuff.
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