Then she finds out what real trouble is. Olivia's beloved sister, Maddie, is seriously ill. Maddie is living the life Olivia ran like hell from: she's happily married to her high school sweetheart and still living in the small town where they grew up. Stunned and bewildered, Olivia catches the next plane back home.
Maddie's idealism and optimism have always driven Olivia crazy. Even now, when the odds aren't good, Maddie never doubts she'll beat them. But Olivia wonders, is hope just a way of kidding yourself? As if to answer that question, Maddie challenges Olivia to produce her dream film, the impossible-to-make Don Quixote. Olivia's life then becomes a tangle of movie sets, IV drips, and letters to Michael asking him what went wrong and if they might try again. When Maddie takes a turn for the worse, Olivia has to face the hardest choices life can offer. How can one person's heart so truly be in three places at once?
Imbued with all the love one sister can feel for another, and all the frustration too, The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters is heartbreaking and hilarious, somber and delightful, and full of wisdom, joy, and grace. It is a brilliantly written debut about the unlimited possibilities of love and how hope can grow in even the darkest places.
©2004 Elisabeth Robinson; (P)2004 Time Warner AudioBooks, a division of the Time Warner Book Group
"...Like the breakout sentimental best seller The Lovely Bones, The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters is finally wryly effective, capturing the momentum of family sorrow, the ways in which people can care for each other without ever quite coming to terms." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Wrenching, tragicomic first novel...funny, real and inspiring, and the novel's epistolary format is smoothly employed. Moving but never maudlin, this is an accomplished debut." (Publishers Weekly)
"A hilarious and moving story....It's a rare novel that balances Hollywood satire with true emotional resonance, which is why The Hunt Sisters is a higher achievement." (The New York Times)
The music at the beginning and ending of each chapter was ANNOYING!! It was so loud it drown out the narrators voice and it does nothing to add to the story. Audible- how about warning customers of this use of music at the beginning and/or end of every chapter? I find it takes away from the story and is very distracting. Most often it doesn't even fit with the tone or mood of the story.
I really liked this book. I think an audible format is the best format for this type of book. I thought that the characters were each well developed which is strange because the voice is primarily Olivia's. Yet through her letters you learn so much about each of the other characters. I liked the juxtaposition between the Don Quixote theme and the Olivia / Maddie theme. Is the leukemia battle Maddie's windmill? Olivia is the consummate cynic who struggles with issues of lifes’ fairness, personal faith and love. Ultimately the book is about love and how each character learns to value its true meaning.
After hearing some goods things about this book, (Mainly The New York Times's Janet Maslin did a article comparing different Hollywood roman-a clef novels and said this was the best of the bunch) I found this to be a rather shallow 'Lifetime movie' about the author's reaction to her sister's cancer diagnosis. The story is told through letters that the older sister writes to everyone, which works well in the spoken format, but it is very limiting when it comes to the overall story. There are so many times I wanted to hear what other people were actually thinking or doing. The epistlelary style can be exciting and involving ( think of 'Dracula' or more recently " The Egyptoligist"), but when it is just one persons's point of view it get rather tedious especially since Olivia Hunt never comes across as paricularly bright.
In order to flesh out this short novel about the death of her sister, Robinson adds just enough inside info about the making of a Hollywood movie version of 'Don Quiote' with Robin Willams and John Cleese. This is the most amusing parts of the book, but for a much better look into the perils of movie producing, rent the movie of ' "Lost in La Mancha' about the same subject.
By the time Olivia's sister dies, I was more than ready to let her go, but finally at the end we get to here a little something of Madaline's (the dying sister) voice, which comes from beyond the grave, in the form of a lost letter. It's poignent, but too little too late.
I really enjoyed the first couple of CDs out of eight. Number three was a struggle, and number four about killed me. After four, I listened to the last CD (something I never do), and learned everything I needed to know to tie up all loose ends. This book would be great if it was much shorter. The story is personal and engrossing, the writing style is fun, and the reading is talented and natural. But eight CDs is just too long for what the author is trying to convey. If you're interested in listening to only half of it, I think you'll enjoy it.
This book was good for a total of 15 minutes. It was so slow. It was hard to relate or feel any sympathy towards the main character at all. There was almost no character develepment. You cared more about the subplot of a movie being made than of her sister dying. I thought I would never actually finish. I kept waiting for something more out of this book, but unfortuantely that never happened.
I don't take the time to review too many books, but I just finished listening to this and highly recommend it. It was mesmerizing - I couldn't turn it off. The characters are so well developed, so real I keep thinking this must have been a true story. It isn't, but the author was inspired by her own sister's serious illness. The characters are all so human - flawed yet shining and immensely loveable, each in their own way. Set around sister Maddie's aggressive luekemia and sister Olivia's struggle to produce her first movie, Don Quioxte, during her sister's illnes, the tale unfolds as a series of letters, emails, and faxes from Olivia to the people in her life - family, associates, and ex(?) boyfriend Michael. As Maddie battles her illness with courage and dignity, Olivia battles movie studios, directors, and ex-bosses to get her movie made. I would not have thought I would enjoy a tale consisting entirely of letters and other correspondence from Olivia, but I found it immensely interesting and engrossing.
This book is not sugar coated and the ending is devastatingly real but amazingly satisfying at the same time. Olivia's wickedly humorous observations balance the sadness and keep this book somehow upbeat despite Maddie's tragic illness. There is no fairy book ending, but there is most certainly salvation - the real life kind as Olivia discovers so much about herself and the people she loves.
I highly recommend this poignant, entertaining, truly outstanding listen!
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