Chatham, Ontario, Canada
By far, this has to have been the best audiobook I've listened to, yet. The voice talent really made the characters shine and made you feel like you were in the sunny south.
Part of me wishes to compare "The Help" to "Gone with the Wind". Both books give a glimpse into the historical lives of black women in the United States, and brings to light the progression from servitude to freedom and equality.
Another part of me wishes to compare it to "The Book of Negroes", as both books highlight the struggles of black women in history and the steps taken to improve lives and become equals.
My favourite character was Minny Jackson: The narrator brought this character to life, and made you see her strength and stubbornness, but also her fear. Minny's love of cooking really came to the forefront in the narration, too--and made me drool! Her struggle between what she knew was right, and what was proper, was very evident, too--life as a black maid in a white household in Mississippi couldn't have been easy in the 1960s, especially for a woman who liked to be outspoken.
If only I had had the time to listen to this book in one sitting. It was a really gripping story told in such a way as to really keep your attention. The author also used many humorous devices to really bring the story alive.
You must listen. Really. The sooner, the better.
On one hand, I would say the audio edition of The Handmaid's Tale is better, as you get to hear the lack of inflection in Offred's voice, who is obviously suppressed by Gileadian society, as she recounts her tale. On the other hand, this lack of inflection affects your interpretation of the text.
The Commander's surprise outing for Offred was the most memorable moment for me. This outing lead Offred to see what changes had been imposed in another area of Gilead, as she had visited the locale in Pre-Gileadian times. It allowed her to reflect on all that had changed, and also helped her to learn more about some people from her past.
Claire Dane's tone of voice drives home the fact that she has been suppressed and isn't allowed to feel or have opinions. She is meant only to be a reproductive unit, to do her job, and remain meek and subservient.
Honestly, I think the name is perfect. Perhaps, it could be called: "A Handmaid of Gilead", or "The Baby Machines".
I found "The Handmaid's Tale" to be very thought-provoking. It made me thankful for the role of women in our society, the less-distinct lines between social classes in our society and the freedom we have to be with the person we love. It was also scary to realise that our society could easily slip into such a system.
What I loved best about Wicked was the main character, Elphaba. Gregory Maguire gave a very unique view of this Wicked Witch of the West, allowing readers to understand where she came from and the reasons for her actions, as well as her tragic demise. It definitely took her a while to become comfortable in her own skin... being green, and all!
Gregory Maguire created back-stories for each of the characters in the Wizard of Oz, leading you to see the story in a whole new (adult) light. His brilliant use of foreshadowing really added to both Wicked AND the Wizard of Oz.
John McDonough aptly portrayed each of the characters:You could always identify which character was speaking by the change in vocal timbre and pitch. My favourite was his portrayal of Elphaba, as she came across as a crass character, who often snapped at people but still had her soft spots.
I preferred to put time between my listenings, as I liked to take time to compare the plot from the Wizard of Oz to Wicked.
John McDonough's voice has a soft, relaxing quality about it that was very pleasant to the ear. Unfortunately, it meant that it was very easy to let my mind wander, leading me to have to rewind often to make sure I didn't miss anything!
Rip-Off was a eclectic collection of stories written by Sci-Fi writers that each began with their author's own favourite first line of a book. The variety offered in the book really appealed to me.
Sophia in "Every Fuzzy Beast of the Earth, Every Pink Fowl of the Air" by Tad Williams was my favourite character. Unfortunately, if I shared my reasoning, I'd be spoiling the story!
It was a perfect book to listen to if you only have short times free--I found I needed a lot of time to reflect on what I'd listened to in each story.
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