Liz and Sarabeth were childhood neighbors in the suburbs of Northern California, brought as close as sisters by the suicide of Sarabeth's mother when the girls were just 16. In the decades that followed - through Liz's marriage and the birth of her children, through Sarabeth's attempts to make a happy life for herself despite the shadow cast by her mother's act, their relationship remained a source of continuity and strength.
But when Liz's adolescent daughter enters dangerous waters that threaten to engulf the family, the fault lines in the women's friendship are revealed, and both Liz and Sarabeth are forced to reexamine their most deeply held beliefs about their connection. Songs Without Words is about the sometimes confining roles we take on in our closest relationships, about the familial myths that shape us, both as children and as parents, and about the limits, and the power, of the friendships we create when we are young.
©2007 Ann Packer; (P)2007 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.
"A richly nuanced meditation on the place of friendship in women's lives." (Publishers Weekly)
This book moved me deeply. I became interested in the book after hearing the author interviewed on National Public Radio. However, after reading the listener reviews on Audible.com, I wondered if I would actually enjoy it. I am so glad I got the book despite the other listener reviews. The book examines depression through a prism of different characters who arrive in that state through differing routes. It is a sensitive, deeply moving description of the impact on four different individuals, as well as on each one's family and friends of the illness and the course it may take. The story does revolve around a friendship between two mature women women and what it means when one cannot meet an urgent need of the other. But it also dissects the paralysis that depression can induce, using the lenses of the different life circumstances that precede the illness. There are no easy, flip answers here! This psychological novel is obviously not for everyone. For me, however, it resonated with experiences in my own life, and I think many others will find it meaningful. I liked the narrator, and felt the tone was appropriate for the subject matter.
Not just dull -- I also wanted to like these characters and their fabulous homes and lives. But, I just wanted to smack all of them by the time I was done with the book -- in the end, they were all boringly narcissistic.
When I donwloaded this book, the preview of the narration was not available, and I have learned, for good, that the narration makes the listening experience. I will have to read Ann Packer's latest in print form in order to fairly critique her book.
Let me start by saying that I did not finish the book. I gave it a valiant effort, it was a book club choice or I would have given up much sooner than 5 ½ hours into it. I kept waiting for a real storyline, but it was just suicide, deep depression and selfish personalities.
There is really no storyline – just one boring depressing life after another… arrrghhh so frustrating to waste a credit…
I've read Ann Packer's first book, The Dive From Clausen's Pier, twice and it is one of my all time favortie books. I had been eagerly awaiting the release of this book and downloaded it before a week where I was going to have to drive around 800 miles for my job. This book was really slow and depressing and I found it hard to listen while driving because it made me feel drowsy. I wanted a couple of the characters to just get over themselves. I agree with another reviewer that the lack of communication between many or the characters was frustrating. I thought the narration was okay. This isn't my favorite narrator, but I don't think she made a bad situation worse.
I have a little over an hour left on this book and I am only listening to the end because I keep thinking that something interesting has to happen at some point!! The characters are all difficult to like, self centered and depressing - I find it hard to have any compassion for any of them. The book is excruciatingly slow moving....I expected so much more from this author. I think the narrator is fine, she just doesn't have much to work with on this one.
The book deals with suicide and I have to say that at several points I was hoping that ALL of the characters would commit suicide and put this listener out of her misery!!!
Don't bother with this one.
I agree with the other reviewers who felt that it was depressing, boring and hard to keep listening to. I also kept thinking there must be more to the story, but there never was. I don't think there was even one character in the book who wasn't unhappy. I wish I hadn't wasted my time finishing the book.
Audiophile since the days I had to check 'em out on rickety cassette tapes at the local library. Currently working the other side of production as an author of romance and scifi/fantasy.
Technically solid writing is the best I can say. Horrible in every other way. The reader ends the book still waiting for the semblance of a story to really emerge. Reader pulls off an okay performance, given the lack of exciting/interesting material she was given.
Very disappointed. Very boring. I couldn't even listen to the last 45 minutes because frankly, I just didn't care. I do NOT recommend this book.
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