"Molly Ringwald"--yeah, I had preconceptions, but I had a credit on my account and I had read good reviews, so I tried it. This book blew me away, and not just because it was this particular actor's fine literary debut. Each story on its own is true and touching, a perfect bubble in time. Well done. As you read on, it will take a minute or two into each story before you realize who the characters are, where we are in their lives, whose perspective we are seeing. It is so much fun, so surprising, so perfectly fitting together into a great 'novel'. I LOVED 'When it Happens to You', and I will enjoy listening to it again. The author herself is an enjoyable narrator.
All-around great listening experience: very good readers, tight writing that pulls you through the story, terrifically plotted, every character layered and interesting at least and flesh-crawling-creepy at worst, and an unexpected ending that becomes, upon reflection, somewhat comforting, considering....
What a great trick the author has played here! Amazing book, talented author!
This is a book on a serious subject trivialized by immature prose, big holes in logic, and a quick tied-up-in-a-bow ending. The main character is a social worker who has an arguably understandable excuse for accidentally leaving her baby in a hot car, but all she can do is shrill 'I didn't know I didn't know!' at doctors, cops, everybody; no explanation is ever attempted. The ridiculous narrator does hysteria very well, until you want to hit her with a Taser. Then there's the secondary story line about the street-smart little girl, wise beyond her years, yadda yadda......all just too tiresome to go into.
Publishing this book was a shameful waste of resources! Zero stars, if I could.
'All Souls' is quintessential Americana. A story about that shining city on a hill; or, actually, the people living at the bottom of the hill after all the s#it has rolled down. It's about close-knit, loyal communities with scrappy kids, neighbors who look out for each other, and a culture that has adapted for survival. They must survive grinding poverty, corruption and malfeasance in the police department, indifference or callous manipulation from politicians, collusion between local politics and media in portrayals of these people, and the final, ruinous piece of the puzzle: the drug empire of Whitey Bulger. (Not long ago, the FBI arrested Whitey here in SoCal, where he'd been hiding for 25 years, and I didn't get why it was such a big deal. Now, I get it.) He was the wizard behind the curtain in the South Boston drug trade, and the sickening litany of deaths in this book can mostly be traced to drugs.
The author's sad, resigned voice as he tells how kids died, over and over, his friends, his brothers, is just heartbreaking. The code of silence, born of loyalty and self-protection, means no one is ever punished for these murders.
This memoir is not all sad. The author loves Southie, and its good people, and, in picking the memories of his family and friends, gives a real you-are-there feeling to this memoir.
I am so tired of hearing about 'high-powered' 'over-achievers' and their 'charmed lives' and their over-scheduled kids and their expensive designer everything; I'm not envious, or interested, I'm just bored. But if you can overlook that construct, which the author uses so that her brain-injured heroine can learn what is 'truly important' in life, this book is a fascinating look at a really weird phenomenon, 'left neglect', in which an injury to the right brain leaves one unaware that 'left' exists; the left of the room, the left of the page, the left of the body, the left of anything. Weird! And it seems like the author could not have done a better job of describing the frustrations of this affliction if she did, indeed, suffer from it herself. It is really interesting to follow this woman's road to recovery. And the reader was excellent.
That's all I have to say. In fact, he is so funny that I'm sure this book gave many second-hand laughs. Like when this old lady was out upon a lovely morning, walking her dog, listening to Mr. Short on her iPod,... and was suddenly shrieking with laughter, tripping over her own feet, grabbing her knees..... and probably giving some passersby a good laugh on their way to work.
I am no fan of fantasy, sci-fi, or horror stories, but the title and the reviews of this book got me interested. I ended up really enjoying it, because the author used a fascinating and creepy discovery reported several years ago in a scientific journal (a fungus that invaded ants' bodies and turned them into 'zombie ants' before the fungal growths exploded out their heads) as the basis for this end-of-the-world story about a creepy fungus taking over human bodies. You don't have to suspend any disbelief, you don't roll your eyes, you won't throw the book down and yell,'Oh my Gawd, that would Never Happen!!', because.....yikes, it already has happened to another species. Weird.
Very well read, Ms. Williams!
The voices are pitch-perfect and the dialog is as true and natural as anything you overheard at Starbucks this morning. It's a long book, with many characters and interwoven stories, but the energy does not flag for a moment. The longer I listened to this, the more impressed I was by the author's talent! I am not a fan of 'romance' novels, and I was afraid this might turn out to belong in the genre, but it definitely does not. It is a sharp-eyed and funny look at conspicuous consumption, step-families, date rape, domestic violence, helicopter parents, PTA Nazis, and the crazy way little lies can come back and bite you. Very enjoyable book; the strong Aussie accent of the reader did get a little tiring to listen to over time, for my ears, anyway.
His soft brogue purrs like a cat curled up on your lap. Yet he tells a gruesome story, and some may wonder why; why relive that, why broadcast it? I write this review to thank him, because that was my father, too, and that was me, and when I heard Alan Cumming voicing exactly the same thoughts and fears that I had as a child, I suddenly felt---weirdly---understood, or at least, not alone. And I admire him tremendously for confronting his father as an adult, and, ultimately, forgiving him. I've thought Mr. Cumming a fine actor, and now I think he is a fine person, and a fine storyteller, too. I recommend this book for its beautiful narration, and a story of familial dysfunction and abuse that is surmounted without bitterness.
I kept waiting for this book to get as wonderful as its published reviews promised, but it just got increasingly less interesting, not more. Rich family, jealousy, in-fighting, snotty teenagers, all spending summers on their private island....and that's pretty much where it stays. The bombshell was more like a 'so what' by the time it came.
Excellent writing, excellent research, excellent narration, and a terrifying story about a lunatic nurse who spends more than a decade killing HUNDREDS of (healthy) patients in several hospitals in a tri-state area. And although there are signs that point to him as being somehow responsible, negligent, or downright murderous in many of these cases, ALL of the hospital administrators involved simply send him off to work somewhere else, and with good references, so that their own hospitals and reputations will suffer no damage or recriminations, or God forbid, actual liability. Can't afford to lose patient referrals over a few extra dead people.
There is, finally, one woman working in this cesspool of ever-rising profit who manages to locate her conscience, and she turns in the 'good nurse' to the police. He makes confessions, but can't remember all his victims. The estimate is more than 400. And he is the only one is jail. NONE of those hospital administrators who, by letting him continue working, allowed the killing to continue, was charged with anything. I think that's a crime.
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