Excellent audio rendation of the book. It was entertaining, thought provoking and insightful. Totally enjoyed this recording.
Annie Wauters, the reader, over-dramatizes events and over-characterizes voices. Must she lower her voice to a grating rasp to depict Roger Chillingsworth, or raise it to a squeeky falsetto for Pearl? A tiresome listen.
The first hour and thirty-nine minutes of this book is a painfully boring introduction by the author, just rambling on about his life and how he came across a scarlet letter while working in a customs house and decided to write a story about it. I kept listening because I figured the intro wouldn't be very long, but I was wrong. The only valuable piece of info from the intro is that the book is based on a true story. (It would have taken him the equivalent of 3 minutes to explain that!) Do yourself a favor and skip ahead! The story was OK, but not as good as I had hoped. (The intro may have left a bad taste in my mouth.)
Believe it or not I missed reading this in high school. So now after several decades of exposure to the lessons, morals, and imagery this classic has gifted the public domain, I found the actual event of finally reading the book to be somewhat anticlimactic. To my surprise, I already had the essential plot down; I was already aware of the great hypocracy of the Puritans, and I already knew that poor Hester Prynne was a victim of said society. So while I can't be critical of this novel, I do come away from it wondering why we choke our poor 9th graders with it so that they never dare read another Hawthorne novel in their lives. Hawthorne's other stories can be so much easier to grasp and still convey many and most of the same important lessons. The narration was fine, though irritating in spots as he tended to the overdramatic interpretation of some of the characters' speech. I wonder if "reading" this again via a different narrator would have left me with a better impression of the book itself.
I agree that the first 1 hour and 39 minutes was a waste of time. Wish I would have read other comments before I started listening to boring introduction.
Skip the introduction...and forward to 1 hour and 39 minutes and listen to the first chapter.
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