"Amazing, the pain that can be caused by wielding the sword of charm." Rachel idolizes Miri's charm, beauty and family that represents perfection in contrast to the chaos of her own life. She is often blind to Miri's manipulation of others for personal gain, not only in their early years of growing up together in a Denver Jewish Orthodox community, but also in their adult lives. Amid issues of cultural identity and an era of growing feminism, they struggle to sustain a complex, often competitive friendship throughout the challenges of marriage, careers, and family relationships. Miri's s daughter, Tamar, initially offers the friends a link that will strengthen their uneasy bond. However, when Tamar develops a passion for the dangerous sport of caving at a very early age, Rachel and Miri's friendship faces a test more severe than any the women have ever experienced. Reconciliation is not where you might expect. This spiritually beautiful novel explores the ramifications of life's choices.
©2009 Joanne Greenberg (P)2010 Brook Forest Voices
This narration is almost killing the story for me. The narrator should be reading the story, not trying to act it out. Among her irritating habits are the following:
1. She unnaturally deepens her voice for all the male characters, which sounds ludicrous. Imagine if a male narrator read all female dialogue in a falsetto!
2. She gives all the older Jewish characters what sound like attempts at European accents, which is problematic for two reasons - (a) the text doesn't establish that all these characters are foreign born, and (b) the accent she affects sounds like no accent I have ever heard, and I have known and interacted with many Jews from Eastern and Northern Europe.
3. When (albeit rarely) Hebrew and Yiddish names and words occur in the text, her pronunciation is atrocious.
4. Worst of all is the simpering-sweet voice she gives to Miri. The text indicates that Miri has a manner that instantly charms and wins over nearly everyone who meets her, whether she is being sincere or not. The way the narrator makes Miri sound, I would expect everyone who hears her to cringe and try to avoid her as much as possible.
I had read many books by Joanne Greenberg in the past and enjoyed them for the author's use of language and sympathetic characterizations. It is likely if I was reading rather than listening, I would feel the same about this book. I'm forcing myself to plow ahead with the book (I'm over halfway through) because the story has captured me, and I am doing my best to imagine how it would sound in my mind's ear if I was reading it instead of listening to this narrator.
I have also listened to many other audiobooks as my "companions" on daily 3 mile walks. The narration in no other audiobook I have listened to has been anywhere near this dreadful. Not all readers have equally mellifluous voices, but I'd rather hear a monotone, even a robot reader, rather than suffer through this.
Please do a service to your authors and customers, and expect a higher standard from your readers.
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