I never realized Frankenstein's Monster (who is never given a name) was such an eloquent, well-spoken, thoughtful, sensitive and sympathetic character. Mind you, he's also a ruthless killer, but as the story unfolds you find out the reasons for his behaviour.
This is one of the most depressing books I have ever read/listened to.
Don't get me wrong: this book is a classic and should rightly be considered one of the greatest examples of English literature... but holy crap. If you have depressive tendencies or even if it's kinda gray outside and you're feeling a little blue - this book isn't gonna make you feel better.
Steven Vance is an excellent narrator - although I found myself "tuning him out" - not sure if that was because the story was so bleak and I needed to keep my sanity or if it was just his reading. Nevertheless, he does a good job with the voices of the different characters.
***THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS***
The Program is an evil bad thing where teenagers get sent if they show signs of depression. ALL TEENAGERS show signs of depression at some point. I just couldn't suspend my disbelief on this point - I was really hoping the book would explain the sociological background in which people (big bad parents in this story) would willingly send their children to have their memories erased. The grownups in this book are portrayed as uncaring (the doctors, handlers, parents) and I just can't fathom a world, even an alternate universe, where people care so little about their own children. The ONLY treatment for signs of depression is memory erasure. Not therapy. Not talking it out. Not even mild exercise. Your kid's depressed? Have her memory erased. WTF?
Teenagers go from normal to suicidal in a matter of 2 weeks - WHY? This is never explained. Why are so many teenagers committing suicide - we're told that its a contagious disease - are people being poisoned? Is there mind control coming out of the TV? I was really hoping there would be some revelation about the causes of the epidemic.
When Sloane gets taken in to The Program, the very first time she is offered medication she takes it. Without being coerced. Without being injected against her will. Without even being threatened to be injected against her will. This is totally believable because she spends the first part of the book talking about how evil The Program is and how they will erase her memories.
When she comes out of the program, she seems to be the only person who is interested in learning about her past. Another point which I found hard to fathom.
At no point in the book is any differentiation made between grief, sadness, and depression. Everyone is sad once in a while, and grief is normal and expected when someone close to you has taken their life. But not everyone who is sad or grieving commits suicide. Not all people suffering from depression commit suicide. So why are these teenagers killing themselves? Unanswered questions might make a book more interesting, but in this case it just makes it hard to believe.
This book reminds me of that episode of South Park where the townspeople's underpants keep disappearing. The gang discovers that it's because there are gnomes breaking in to their houses at night to steal their underpants.
When they ask the gnomes WHY it is that they are stealing people's underpants, we find out that it's all part of the gnomes' master plan:
Step 1: Steal Underpants
Step 2: ????
Step 3: PROFIT!!!
Do you see that big question mark in the middle? 4-hour work week reminds me of the gnomes' master plan that somehow they will turn a bunch of underpants into profit.
According to Ferris, step 1 is finding your own "underpants" to invent/patent and or distribute and sell. Step 2 is a big blurry question mark of spending thousands of dollars on advertising for a product you don't even have yet, just to see if people will buy it. Step 3 is where everything magically works out and all of a sudden you are earning PROFIT!!!
I found very little I could actually apply to my life.
I loved this book. Compelling story, believable characters, definitely glad I listened to it!
However I almost stopped listening after a few minutes because the main narrator (Rudnicki) has a lot of vocal pops and cracks - I'm surprised that wasn't edited out.
But the the story was so good that I just kept listening and tried to ignore all the mouth noises.
If you like witty satire of American culture - this book is for you. This book pokes fun at everything - beauty pageants, TV commercials, hair removal products, reality shows, boy bands, corporate America, and even has a Sarah Palin-esque presidential hopeful and a Kim Jong-Il type with lots more than world domination on his mind.
There's also a serious side to all this silliness - a look at how women are portrayed in the media, the expectations that women are faced with from society, how it's ok if you haven't got it all figured out by the time you're 16 years old.
All of the "footnotes" got a little annoying - I found they interrupted the flow of the story. Other than that - I think this is a great book for young women especially.
Please note: if you download the book in one part - it has 51 minutes missing at the end. So download it in parts.
I contacted Audible twice about this but they didn't believe me / understand what I was talking about.
Go to Settings --> Download Settings --> Download by Parts
Anthony Ferguson does his best with this contrived, predictable story but MacLean gives him very little tension or excitement to build up. The characters were boring and two-dimensional and I just didn't care about them. It wasn't even fun to listen to!
An absolutely wonderful narration by Anne Hathaway! She gives each character a voice and it was a delight to listen. Perfect for all ages.
Simon Prebble's narration is simply the best.
1984 is at times sad, touching, nauseating, heart-wrenching, terrifying and always brilliant. I regret not reading/listening sooner!
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