BOOK DETAILS: Slow Dance in Purgatory by Amy Harmon, read by Emily Woo Zeller, published by Tantor Au..Show More »dio (2014) / Length: 7 hrs 27 min
SERIES INFO: This is Book #1 of 2 in the "Purgatory" duology. Both books are available on audio.
SUMMARY: She isn't actually a Ghost Whisper, since the ghosts she sees are mostly just echoes that don't interact with her. But she has been able to see them since she was young.
I like most everything about this one, and only wish we had gotten more of the wonderful interactions between Johnny & Maggie.
CHARACTERS: Maggie O'Bannon: A not-too-tough former foster kid who loves to dance. She doesn't really fit in, but finally has a support system and doesn't want to lose it.
Johnny Kinross: He was a bad boy in the typical 50's sense of the word, tuff. He was never a jerk or abuser. He tried to take good care of his mother & little brother. He has matured even more after spending 50 years fading in & out and never able to go anywhere. He tries to do right by Maggie.
Maggie & Johnny: I really like this relationship despite its seemingly impossible nature. They spend time together, talk, have fun, and support each other.
I love Gus, the elderly Janitor Maggie works with.
WORLDBUILDING: This takes place in a High School in the small town of Honeyville, Texas. There are flashbacks to the same town in the '50s. What I noticed when listening was a good sense of the colors and sounds of the time.
As for the paranormal aspect, as I said above, most ghosts are just echoes. But several incidents are related in which a ghost (besides Johnny, who isn't sure what he is) actually interacts with someone.
PLOT: The beginning is an extremely poignant exploration of Johnny's condition - stuck, often alone, never a part of things. After that we get a flashback to how he ended up that way. The book uses quite a few flashbacks and people telling stories about what happened to explore his life before, as well as those of few other characters (who are now elderly or dead).
The ending is a kind of cliffhanger.
HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS: --The Chapter Headings - which are all 1950's song titles --Maggie & Johnny make their own drive-in theater --My favorite quote:
“Why would you even try to stay away?!” Maggie interrupted, as impassioned as he. “What did I do?”
“It’s not what YOU did! It’s what I’m doing to you!” Johnny gaped at her, incredulous.
“Maggie – if this were 1958, and none of this had ever happened, and I was just a guy and you were my girl…..I would hold on to you and never let you go,” Johnny implored huskily, “But it isn’t 1958…and I am not just a guy, in love with his girl.”
I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: Moderate swearing & innuendo / Shad's crush. This relationship has enough troubles, they don't need a third wheel. / The bullying teacher (whose father was apparently also a bullying teacher). Anyone who constantly taunts a dyslexic student and sets them up to fail should be fired.
OTHER CAUTIONS: Johnny's mother is said to have been having an affair with the (married) mayor. / He made out with a teacher in order to pass her class. / Gus' daughter (Shad's mother) is a drug addicted prostitute whose behavior humiliates them.
NARRATION: Character voices differentiated = Yes / Opposite sex voices acceptable = Yes, I think that Gus' voice especially suits him. And Shad's voice is teenage creaky without being annoying / Accents = This book takes place in Texas, but there aren't really any accents / Phrasing, Pacing & Pronunciation = Good / Emoting = Good / Speed = listened on 1.25, my usual, and it was a tiny touch slow.
I loved part 2! I felt it was more intricate and richly plotted than the first book. The love story also didn't unfold quite as easily as it did on th..Show More »e last one, which helped me believe in it more. But it also closed the circle with the last story and helped you understand perhaps why they did fall in love so easily. It also has a unique take on time travel which was fun.