The multi-talented director and actor, Ben Stiller narrates the classic James Thurber short story that inspired the new major motion picture, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
Mild-mannered Walter Mitty is a day-dreamer who escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. This well-known and beloved tale has launched its famous protagonist into the cultural lexicon, warranting his inclusion in English-language dictionaries and countless anthologies. Stiller's imaginative performance as Mitty is the perfect re-introduction to the classic character and a great preface to the upcoming film, for longtime fans and new listeners alike.
See The Secret Life of Walter Mitty when it hits theaters this Christmas.
©1942 Copyright renewed 1970 Rosemary A. Thurber. (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
"Ben Stiller was not only aptly cast in the recently released movie of the same title, he's also sublime as the entertaining narrator of Thurber's original short story. A timid man escapes his boring life by living in his imagination - which is full of fantasies of daring heroic adventures. Stiller grasps this concept by imbuing each new character that Walter Mitty assumes with a bold, creative voice." (AudioFile)
I'm a big fan of SF/F/Horror, and all things in between and out.
Oh, this is a fun treat! It's been years since I read James Thurber's best known story - I remembered it being lighthearted, but boy can memories be faulty!
"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is really equal parts whimsy and melancholy. It's an ode to escapism and imagination, no doubt (not to mention wish-fulfillment), but in the end even poor Mitty's imagination seems to have it out for him as much as his life does, and is maybe just as empty and frustrating.
Ben Stiller's reading hits all the right notes. He's able to capture the joy of Mitty's different daydreams, but also scales back when we're following Mitty through the frustrations of his real life, and find the sadness that permeates the story, and Mitty himself.
It's a short little story, and it was a delight to hear it here.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
Delightful short story providing gentle smiles with underlying pathos for what poor Mitty's mundane life must be like. His secret lives reveal the heroic spirit that could light a spark if it only dared. Obviously released as a promotion for the upcoming movie, but I think I prefer the short version that leaves more to our imagination. After all - that's what it's really all about isn't it?
stiller's perfect voice for this timeless thurber story, perfectly delivered. pure entertainment. thanks, audible.
his voice and his sense of humor
Ardent Audible listener with a long commute!
James Thurber! James Thurber!
Ben Stiller! Ben Stiller!
Can you tell I was more than a little thrilled by this Audible short? James Thurber (1894-1961) was a wonderful commentator and cartoonist who was 50 years ahead of his time. For the last five years, every time I read a blog or a tweet that misses its mark, I've wondered, "What would Thurber say?"
"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (1939, 1942) tells the story of a henpecked man, on a quest to find new galoshes and dog biscuits, who daydreams an exciting life of saving lives and crucial war missions. He's every person - who hasn't thought of heroically saving a stranger from a falling shelf in an earthquake or tornado when you're stuck in a line at the grocery store, wondering whose tragedy People Magazine is exploiting this week?
Ben Stiller does the narration, and - I'm going out on a limb that even a real life timid Walter Mitty would venture onto - I think that's because a movie version of "Mitty" is coming out. Just a guess on my part, of course. Stiller did a fantastic job acting in "Night at the Museum" (2006), one of my favorite movie adaptations of a book (Milan Trenc, 1993). Stiller directs and stars in "Mitty" and I hope I enjoy the movie as much.
I'm only rating the audio at a 4, though, because while Stiller is a Great Narrator, the production wasn't. Too echo-y.
If you're wondering about the title of the review - it's another Thurber short story.
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Yes. This is is a classic short story everyone should hear.
The first time it switches out of fantasy into reality.
The operating room and the pen. I laughed out loud.
The ending, I always thought of this as a comic story but it is full of melancholy.
Ben Stiller's performance is first rate.
It's a gem of a story; a tiny slice of an ordinary life, and Ben Stiller reads it beautifully. One of the things I enjoyed most was sharing it with my partner, who is new to the joys of both Thurber and audiobooks.
It struck me how maligned is Mrs Mitty. She's as limited by their marriage as is Walter, and wants only to do the best for him. The restrictions he's seeking to escape are entirely of his own creation. I feel that Thurber blames her for the life in which Walter has trapped them both. It stood out for me much more on this reading than in my earlier years.
It wasn't overacted, or camp, or exaggerated. He let Thurber's text shine through.
Well - Walter is really the only character. But I have developed a fleeting fondness for the glimpse of Mrs Mitty (and I've always liked the passer-by who noticed: "That man said "puppy biscuits"! ")
Don't expect anything like the current Ben Stiller movie, or even the old Danny Kaye one. The genius of Thurber's story is the tiny vignette from the every day existence of someone who could be any of us. It's also a wonderful introduction for the greater absurdism of other of Thurber's humour.
I enjoyed this short story...made more enjoyable because of Stiller's performance. (I do love audio books!) It's a fun teaser for the upcoming movie...it'll be interesting to see how it's portrayed in film. I recommend this audiobook.
Moving further from work extended my daily commute... thank God for Audible.
Shamelessly listened in preparation for the upcoming movie and so pleased I did. I can understand why someone thought this extremely short story a worthy candidate for film adaptation.
In only a few minutes, the character of Walter Mitty is impressively brought to life. His story is touching and tragic, but in small and conflicted ways. I love how Thurber kept this short instead of fleshing it out—it had the feeling of driving past a suburban home and peering in through a window… catching a glimpse of the inhabitants inside. The reader can imagine all varieties of interesting conclusions from these brief insights. And isn't that the real gift of Walter Mitty? Imagining?
A really worthwhile, quick listen.
i have always enjoyed this story and it is a classic. i would like to have seen Stiller be a little more vibrant with his narration, but it is worth the short time investment and it's free so how can you really go wrong. a very fun Calvin & Hobbes style adult fantasy.
15 minutes was way too short - I wanted more, but what a perfect 15 minutes! I wasn't interested in seeing the movie until I listened to this segment & listened to Ben Stiller's section afterward. What a fun imagination!
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