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The Magic of Youth Audiobook

The Magic of Youth: An Affair with Beauty: The Mystique of Howard Chandler Christy

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Publisher's Summary

Fame, fortune, and beautiful models - Howard Chandler Christy had them all.

Christy was the most famous American painter of the Jazz Age, a time when an elite brotherhood of New York artists dominated the publishing world. Christy had eclipsed all of them with his ''Christy Girl'', an idealized woman who redefined beauty, influenced fashion, and inspired generations of women.

The Magic of Youth is the first book in An Affair with Beauty - The Mystique of Howard Chandler Christy, a biographical trilogy of the artist's epic life as told primarily through the eyes of his second wife, Nancy, a former Cosmopolitan model once considered to be one of the most beautiful women in America. As she reflects on her life, Nancy tells of first meeting Christy in 1912 and becoming his top model. She is captivated by his irresistible charm and the glamour of his enchanting world, but discovers that things are not always what they seem and even the great Christy has scandalous secrets.

©2016 James Philip Head (P)2016 James Philip Head

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  •  
    AudioBook Reviewer Madison, WI, United States 09-23-16
    AudioBook Reviewer Madison, WI, United States 09-23-16 Member Since 2011

    All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com

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    "The writing is beautiful, artistic, and lucid"

    The Magic of Youth: An Affair with Beauty: The Mystique of Howard Chandler Christy by James Philip Head was a difficult listen for me. The first hour provided over-the-top gushing compliments, flattery, and was more in line with the Yale vs. Duke basketball game from this year’s NCAA tournament. Twitter showed no one cares about the wealthy and privileged doing really well. With the basketball game, however, at least there was conflict., a winner and a loser. In the first part of this book, conflict was noticeably absent; it was a glorious homage to a painter and husband, with no flaws (until much later.)

    The writing is beautiful, artistic, and lucid. But the author’s portrait is of a second model wife admiring her husband and thinking about the troubles of her neighbors from their Manhattan home overlooking New York’s Central Park, the story falls flat. The author works hard to separate what Nancy Palmer Christy said and what he imagined, but either way, conflict drives a story and I don’t think most readers would wait that long to get there.

    While Howard Chandler Christy was a famous American painter, and the ”Christy Girl”, an icon, in 2016, I think this story falls short as a read for the general public. Eventually, the book gets to the inevitable issues, but a good editor should have recommended the author start in media res. The story is about a painter, so inevitably, using audio will be a challenge to begin with. I would have recommended the story be told backwards, from painting to painter, from brush to quill.

    Still, there is a golden nostalgia to the book; sometimes the lexis seems erudite, sometimes sophomoric. But the author stays in form throughout the story, working to develop a picture of life we might ascribe to in fame and fortune. I look to The Great Gatsby as a way to take away everything from the protagonist while giving him everything. Unfortunately, this book gave everything too easily and waited too long to take it away. I know this compares a great fiction to a non-fiction, but I think it’s the organization of the book that keeps it out of the gallery.

    A few might be interested in Howard Chandler Christy who are already fans, but I don’t think this base would expand much from this novel. If you like art, this book is a maybe listen, if you don’t, the book will confirm the stereotypes.

    About the Narrator

    Pamela Almand, the narrator, provides a warm reading, really saving the audiobook. Her pacing and speech provide a blanket to tuck each scene in. I would highly recommend her work with fellow narrator Scott Thomas in the novel In Movement There Is Peace: Stumbling 500 Miles Along the Way to the Spirit

    Audiobook was provided for review by the narrator.

    Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog

    [If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beach Guy 08-16-16
    Beach Guy 08-16-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Compelling biography"
    Would you listen to The Magic of Youth again? Why?

    No. I will listen to the next book in the trilogy however.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Magic of Youth?

    I could picture the light-filled studio and the events leading up to the artist's death drew me into that moment.


    Have you listened to any of Pamela Almand’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    The female narrator has a wonderful voice well suited to this. She is able to convey emotion and different genders's voices successfully and without the overly dramatic reads many narrators give. I have not listened to any other audiobooks my this narrator but will do so.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Horse Girl 08-15-16
    Horse Girl 08-15-16

    I'm new into audiobooks but now I'm hooked and listen to everything!

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    "Good listen to transport you in time"
    Where does The Magic of Youth rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is right up there. It makes a true story with all the historical details very interesting and thrilling and you know the writer knows what he is talking about.


    What about Pamela Almand’s performance did you like?

    I have listened to a lot of her audiobooks but this is the first biography I have listened to. She brings the same energy and emotion to this book to make even a non-fiction book exciting and interesting. She gives a distinct voice to each person and makes you feel like you're right there with them all.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I didn't want it to end and I think it ended too abruptly without answering my questions but I'll certainly listen to the second one to find out the rest of the story.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mitch Cleveland, OH 08-15-16
    Mitch Cleveland, OH 08-15-16
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    "This is a fascinating exciting and true biography"
    Where does The Magic of Youth rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    best of the non-fiction books


    What about Pamela Almand’s performance did you like?

    She makes this come alive and keeps the story interesting even with the historical background details. This is not the usual dry biography and it is told with a storyteller's skill.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Gatsby of the Art World


    Any additional comments?

    It makes me want to know much more about this artist and why he wasn't famous. I would like to listen to the next book written by Head.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann M. 08-15-16
    Ann M. 08-15-16 Member Since 2013

    Audiofile

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    "This reads like a novel and I can't wait for #2"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, it is beautifully-written and the voice is perfect for the characters and story


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When Nancy first came to the mansion on the hill and discovered it was Howard's home and she was already falling in love with him. I liked the character's voices and the descriptions of the amazing times they lived in and the famous friends they had.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Magic of Youth and why?

    Howard


    Any additional comments?

    This was an easy book to listen to and the reader had a smooth pleasant delivery that matched what I pictured perfectly and was never boring as in some biographies I have listened to.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    janien hampshire, UK 09-25-16
    janien hampshire, UK 09-25-16

    Audible addict. Love picking up a new read.......review everything I've listened to on audible.

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    "Interesting factual historical fiction about an iconic American Artist"

    The first of a trilogy about the artist. I was reticent as I knew nothing about Christie. The presentation though is excellent and engaging, the reader having a truly beautiful voice, in keeping with the title.

    Story matter is interesting,a biography as told from the perspective of Christies second wife and one of his models. Worth listening to, particularly if interested in art.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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