When the story comes to light and Sheba falls prey to the inevitable media circus, Barbara decides to write an account in her friend's defense; an account that reveals not only Sheba's secrets, but her own. What results is a complex psychological portrait framed as a wicked satire - a story of passion and repression, mercy and betrayal.
©2003 Zoë Heller; (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"Gripping from start to finish; Heller brings vivid, nuanced characterizations to the racy story." (Publishers Weekly)
"Both a penetrating character study and a sharp examination of voyeurism, Heller's novel is utterly brilliant." (Booklist)
"Equally adroit at satire and at psychological suspense, Heller charts the course of a predatory friendship and demonstrates the lengths to which some people go for human company." (New Yorker)
I agree with several of the other reviews here. The subtly and elegance of the writing was masterful. I have not seen the movie and from what I've heard, think I'll just leave it that way. I came away with such vivid pictures of these characters I would hate to spoil it, like toothpaste after orange juice. The progression of the main characters from independent interesting women into their tangle of dependancy was so smooth you hardly felt it happening. I made me really look at the more subtle aspects of who we lean on in our lives and why.
I also agree that the narration was perfect for the book. I really enjoyed the entire package.
I love the tongue in cheek tone and wit in this book and the narrator's voice is perfect for the character. Loved the movie and this is even better.
Nadia May's reading nails the tone and characters of this book.
Zoe Heller's dialog. I found myself laughing out loud and gasping in disbelief. A running monologue of the dark, nasty things one thinks about people born from envy, fear and a certain self-righteousness we all have but try our best to never let out.
In the novel, Barbara is not the closet lesbian, manipulator as portrayed in the film adaption. Barb does have a catty yet darkly funny monologue about Sheba and the other teachers, administrator and students. After making friends with the beautiful, rich new art teacher named Sheba, she soon discovers Sheba is having an affair with a 15 year old student.
Sheba is out of control and Barb risks her job keeping Sheba's secret. Yes, Barb does suggest to fellow teacher Brian about the affair after he asks Barb out for dinner. Barb thinking he has an interest in her looks forward to it, only to get invited back to his house and asked what his chances are with Sheba. This tips Barb over after several brush offs from Sheba and lies Sheba tells her about ending her illicit and illegal affair. Once the scandal is out in the public, Sheba's husband Richard tosses her out and makes Sheba have supervised visitation with their down syndrome son. Barb is forced to retire early and lets Sheba move in and cares for her. Richard soon takes up with a 20 something year old student. Sheba can't let go of this 15 year old boy emotionally and physically. Barb helps her with quiet patience and a firm grip on the practical after the damage is done. Sharp wit and beautifully read by Nadia May.
This story needs an actual plot. Listening to it just feels like listening to a bitter person vent all day and ramble.
It was hard to understand the narrator. I know it's set in London, but I've heard other British narrators who were very easy to understand.
No, I really wanted to return the book, and will try to do so.
The narrator who READS this book is just fine--really good, in fact, but the I just got to the point where I couldn't really stand any more of the 1st person narrator/PROTAGONIST of this book. I can like a rogue, but this woman is dreadful in a too-little-redeemed kind of way.
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