©1998 Ruth Ozeki Lounsbury; (P)2003 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Her work is unique in presentation yet moving and entertaining. Highly recommended." (Library Journal)
"Ozeki's first novel has some fine touches, including a pleasing prose style, the feisty, independent protagonist, and her modern relationship with her attractive musician boyfriend....this quirky novel will no doubt find an audience." (Booklist)
"A tale both heartwarming and horrific....Character gems and exquisite plotting make this a treasure to read." (Kirkus)
"Ozeki masks a deeper purpose with a light tone....A comical-satirical-farcical-epical-tragical-romantical novel." (Chicago Tribune Book Review)
I had no idea what to expect with this selection, but it was one of those, "Hmm, I have one more book credit to use before the end of the month, let's give this a shot" selections for me. Wow. I enjoyed this as much as anything I've listened to on Audible. The story was at times heartwarming, at times hilarious, at times harrowing, and at times sickening. Sometimes all of those things in the same chapter! I'm the type with a squeamish stomach, and there were points in the story where I would normally fast-forward to get past the uncomfortable parts. Not this time--I was totally enthralled, and I thought about the story and the characters long after I had turned off the Otis player for the day. The narrator was incredible; for the first time ever I clicked on a narrator's name on the Audible website to see what else she has narrated. To my surprise and pleasure, I found another book by Ruth Ozeki (an author I had never heard of before this book), and I can't wait to listen!
Wow. Yes, I've heard about how badly the cattle are treated, and how they're fed antibiotics, etc. that get passed on to us - but I've never really "connected it". I've never had such a vivid picture of the inhumane treatment or what lengths corporate America will go to for the all mighty dollar. How very sad for us all.
Don't let this throw you - the book is VERY entertaining and the reading of it is the best I have heard by far. This narrator is absolutely wonderful and breaths life into each character - and there are many - the book does not have one dull moment - both due to the writing and the narration.
I highly recommend this to one and all and will encourage anyone I can to read, listen or feel this book.
My favorite Audible.com book so far. Wonderful narration, believable, complex and amusing characters well delineated. I was sad to have it end and immediately went looking for another novel by the same author. An unlikely title but should not be missed.
I have to confess that I purchased this book based on its funky postmodern cover..... It took me a while to get used to reader Anna Fields voice (which initially I found a little dry) but after about 30 minutes I was hooked and I really began to enjoy the intelligence and depth she brought to the reading.
My Year of Meats is:
part documentary on paper,
part exploration of cultural difference and intersection,
and fully an emotionally engaging tale of one womans journey for truth(s) both professional and personal.
I highly recommend this novel.
Outstanding story and superior narration. There is a good narrative, interesting characters, and eye-opening information about the business of "meat" in the US. One of my favorite books of this year !
I have to admit I found this book during a search for the narrator, Anna Fields - this is the second book I've listened to that she has narrated and she is INCREDIBLE! I liked the premise of the story as described by Audible - I became wrapped up in this story so quickly and became so invested in Jane and Akiko and the outcome of their stories. There are, as others have pointed out, some very gorey, painful and touching parts to this story and as someone said, they occur within moments of each other!! I can't wait to listen to the other offering by Ruth Ozeki read by Anna Fields - I anticipate being enthralled!!
I enjoyed the narration of this book, it was paced very well. I loved the cultural differences contrasted between Japan and the US and their views of the meat and food industry, in marriage and love, and business of documentaries and television. I believe the book becomes politically-themed and the the author's views are conveyed through the writing of this novel. So, my decision to download her other book is still not made as of this writing as a result. I know the meat industry and the world of medicine is far from perfect and I'm not sure if it is an appropriate subject for entertainment, frankly, I was saddened by the effects and abuses of adulterated food. I did not find modern medicine blunders very entertaining either. I gave this book 3 stars, because it held my attention through the storytelling in spite of some of the content and end results. I thought this book would be a little more light-hearted. I was not prepared for the gloom.
A well-written novel that is thoughtful, touching and bittersweet all at once. Jane Little, the protagonist, is born to a Japanese mother and American father, and Ozeki deftly manuevers back and forth between the two cultures. In particular, Ozeki does a great job of capturing the silliness of Japanese television and the late 20th century Japanese corporate world. Highly reccomended.
I chose this audiobook because I had first listened to Ruth Ozeki's other available novel, All Over Creation. The story was extremely interesting to me, but the reader Anna Fields was just fantastic. So I picked up this book because Anna Fields was also the reader. I was not disappointed. The story is definitely quirky with its cast of characters and intertwining story lines. It made me go through a gamut of emotions. Totally engrossing. I would definitely recommend this book.
This book had so much promise and so much potential, but it ultimately fell flat. It started off strong with good writing and an interesting premise, but it began a slow spiraling descent from there.
I don't know why, but I always feel like I have to defend myself when I don't like a book that preaches of some sort of moral premise. I'm well aware of the issues behind the American meat industry and several of the other issues discussed and I agree that they need to be addressed, but I did not like this book.
Now that I have that out of the way. My issues with this book.
1. Strawmen, strawmen everywhere. This book felt like it was the result of a daydream the author had where she argued with people about issues she was passionate about. None of the behavior that she paints as unacceptable is believable. And a lot of the positions she paints the meat industry, doctors, society, or men as having are laughably far off from being accurate.
2. Stereotyping. From the clever mixed race main character to the evil Japanese salary-man husband who oppresses his wife. This is a book of stereotyping and extremes. None of the characters were three dimensional, and they were all caricatures that the author used as a weak framework to hang her overly present moral message on.
3. Didactic preaching. The key to moralistic storytelling is to make the story show what you are trying to express. Not to explicitly state your message over and over again. I felt like the author was banging on a pot and screaming at some points.
It's just unfortunate that such an interesting premise and such interesting ideas and a good moral message were sidelined by such easily correctable issues.
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