I thought this audiobook was simply horrible on every level. I've listened to dozens of audiobooks over the years, and I can honestly tell you that this is the first one I just couldn't bear finishing. I thought "Sybil" (both the book and the movie) was compelling, interesting, fascinating, saddening, and horrifying (as well as believable). But I can't believe I wasted a credit on this completely ridiculous piece of nonsense. By "non-sense" I mean: it doesn't make sense. Are we supposed to believe that just about every single adult in the MPD woman's childhood sexually abused her, including devil-worshiping neighbors, father, grandfather, uncle, etc.? I mean, I'm assuming this is supposed to be factual, right? The MD who wrote the book is the same MD narrating the series of events in the book, correct? There are parts in this book that are just laughably unbelievable -- like the Christmas card all 17 personalities signed for the doctor, each with his or her own little message (boy, that must have been one of those novelty over-sized holiday cards!). I can't even begin to debate how far-fetched and transparently false the events in this book must be. Even now I am spending too much time thinking about this James Frey-worthy monstrosity while I write this review. I just want to erase it from my mind as quickly as possible.
This is one of the few non-fiction audiobooks I've heard that is completely engaging. I loved the narrator's voice and sometimes felt like I was listening to a radio news reader from back in the day -- there was something authentic to his style that fit the subject matter. The book itself was an amazing account of the hunt for a Nazi fugitive halfway around the world (and the fact these guys pulled this off without cell phones, computers, Internet...it's mind-boggling). There's just enough background information on Eichmann to inform the listener on his crimes, and even better there's a good amount of information on the backgrounds of many of the key heroes involved in the hunt. I found it so uplifting to imagine all these men working together with no pay, no guarantees, no safety net, in order to pull off one of the most magnificent bring-to-justice stories ever.
I am the kind of person who likes to read literary, "paper" books (classics, Russian lit, lit criticism) and listen to more popular, "fun" audiobooks (mysteries, historical fiction). I love to listen to a long audiobook (Wilkie Collins, Ken Follet) while driving or cleaning. One of my favorite audiobooks is "The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield, and "The Forgotten Garden" is almost as good. I agree with other reviewers that it's a bit predictable, but even so, it's a sweeping, engrossing, and fun book to listen to. If you loved "The Thirteenth Tale," you will probably love "The Forgotten Garden," and so for that reason, I give it 5 stars.
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