Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the rickety old covered bridge in the woods near her house, she always emerges in the places she needs to be. Vic doesn't tell anyone about her unusual ability, because she knows no one will believe her. She has trouble understanding it herself.
I haven't read a horror novel for maybe 20 years (am more a literary fiction type now), but I chose this on a whim, and because I like Kate Mulgrew's voice. I did not regret my choice! Joe Hill's writing is vivid and strong; he can create truly frightening images and wickedly funny lines, often in the same scene, and the narration is rich and nuanced -- a truly great performance.
Make sure you listen all the way to the very end! There's a key bit of information in the production credits that you won't want to miss, and then Joe Hill talks about writing and his rather famous family of writers.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful
Performance artists Caleb and Camille Fang dedicated themselves to making great art. But when an artist's work lies in subverting normality, it can be difficult to raise well-adjusted children. Just ask Buster and Annie Fang. For as long as they can remember, they starred (unwillingly) in their parents' madcap pieces. But now that they are grown up, the chaos of their childhood has made it difficult to cope with life outside the fishbowl of their parents' strange world.
Loved everything about this book: the story, the characters, the impeccable narration. It's a great book if you like novels about children whose first (and perhaps greatest) accomplishment is to survive their weird, messed up families. (You will want to run the Fang parents over in your car, but you will also be cheering for Child A and Child B, Annie and Buster, the whole way through.) It`s also a great book about art and what it means to create something. Usually I hate reading descriptions of art in books, but the Fangs' horrible performance pieces were an awful delight.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
Jeanne Darst was born the youngest of four daughters in an old, celebrated family long past its glory days. For the early part of her life, the family survived on the memory of past generations' grandeur, and the romantic belief that Darst's father would restore that greatness with his destined career as a novelist. Within a few years, however, it was abundantly clear to everyone but him that despite the many years enslaved to the writer's craft and lifestyle, he was never going to sell a book.
The title alone made me want to read this book, and I was not disappointed. Fiction (and alcohol) ruin a lot of things in this book about Darst's coming-of-age, but her particular brand of humour, her truthfulness, and ultimately her compassion for her parents elevate and illuminate even the saddest parts of the story. A couple of times, the pacing of the narrative seemed off, but Darst is such good company, I didn't really mind. Very well narrated by the author. I was sorry when it ended. Write more, Jeanne!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
"I was at my wit's end. I'd had enough of this job, this life, and my relationship had broken up. Should I eat chocolate, or go to India, or fall in love? Then I had a revelation: Why not do all three, in that order? And so it was that I embarked on a journey that was segmented into three parts and was then made into a major motion picture. But rewind.... The year was 1914. I was just a young German soldier trying to destroy an evil ring with some help from an elf.... Ugh, okay. None of this is true...."
I'm not saying the print version wouldn't be funny, but Showalter's delivery is exquisite. I really did laugh out loud in public, and when I wasn't laughing, I was walking around smiling, snorting, and hooting. A clever, literate, and oh so funny look at everything from publishing to being dumped to restless leg syndrome.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Everyone hates the perfect family. So you’ll love the Battles. Mo is about to hit the big 50, and some uncomfortable truths are becoming quite apparent: She doesn’t understand either of her teenage kids, which as a child psychologist, is fairly embarrassing. She has become entirely grey, inside, and out. Her face has surrendered and is frightening children....
This book was exquisitely and expertly narrated by the author, the highly marvellous Dawn French (whose early comedy sketch with Jennifer Saunders of a disordered mother and daughter eventually led to Absolutely Fabulous).
The novel is told in the voices of four members of the Battle family -- 50 year old mom having a midlife crisis; still-rivers-run-deep dad; 16 year old son with an Oscar Wilde fixation; 18 year old daughter Dora always about to hyperventilate in absolute, outright, oh-my-actual-god indignation. The story came together powerfully well in the last chapters and the ending was highly satisfying.
However, I did find the first half of the book slow. Far too much reflection and exposition by the characters, not enough story. Except for Dora. Dawn French's characterization is so rich and funny that even Dora's most self-absorbed, outraged uptalk is a treat. I could listen to Dora talk about nothing all day long. In fact, I kind of miss her now.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Featuring David Sedaris's unique blend of hilarity and heart, this new collection of keen-eyed animal-themed tales is an utter delight. Though the characters may not be human, the situations in these stories bear an uncanny resemblance to the insanity of everyday life.
I was reluctant to purchase this book (I hate books with animals as characters) but these stories are pure Sedaris -- sharp, funny, sly. And the narration is a delight! Every single character is brought brilliantly, perfectly to life,and even though they are owls and gerbils and snakes and squirrels, I promise you they are all people you know!
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, but what she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
I approached this novel with treipdation, afraid that the horror of Jack and Ma's situation would be too much to bear. But the precociousness of Jack's voice, and his wonder at the mysteries and beauties of his 11' by 11' world, dispelled my worries.
This is not a novel about abduction and sexual abuse and imprisonment, although these factors create Jack and Ma's situation; it is a novel about the bond between a mother and child, the power of that attachment. Although the story is told by Jack, you can feel the love and intelligence and strength of Ma shining through at all times.
The first half is taut and suspenseful; every detail is both mundane and extraordinary, telling you something about how Jack and Ma have survived (they run "track" for exercise, play the screaming game in case a passerby hears them). The second half is not as compelling but just as important.
I especially loved the voices of Jack and his Ma. Not since The Story of Edgar Sawtelle have I felt so absorbed in an audio book, so reluctant to turn off the iPod and interact with the world outside.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful
When he turned 13 in 1980, Rob Sheffield had a lot to learn about women, love, music and himself, and in Talking to Girls About Duran Duran we get a glimpse into his transformation from pasty, geeky "hermit boy" into a young man with his first girlfriend, his first apartment, and a sense of the world.
This was a joy to listen to -- consistently funny, vividly rendered, thoughtful but never self-important, and overall just completely entertaining (and I never even liked Duran Duran!). The laid-back narrator is a perfect match for the self-deprecating humour of the book.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
From the outrageously filthy and oddly innocent comedienne and star of the powerful 2015 film I Smile Back Sarah Silverman comes a memoir—her first book—that is at once shockingly personal, surprisingly poignant, and still pee-in-your-pants funny. If you like Sarah's television show The Sarah Silverman Program, or memoirs such as Chelsea Handler's Are You There Vodka? It's Me Chelsea and Artie Lange's Too Fat to Fish, you'll love The Bedwetter.
I thought this memoir would be...snarkier. It's low in snark, self-pity and self-congratulations, high in clarity, warmth, and intelligence. It provides sharp social commentary and fantastic insight into the profession of comedy. I have a whole new appreciation of Sarah Silverman's cleverness and relevance.
Also: I was never, not even for one second, bored. There were no self-indulgent narrative tangents or preciously clever diatribes. This is very good, very disciplined writing.
Impeccably narrated by the author.
31 of 34 people found this review helpful
After a decade spent in isolation in the Ugandan jungles thinking about stuff, David Cross has written his first book. Known for roles on the small screen such as "never-nude" Tobias Funke on Arrested Development and the role of "David" in Mr. Show with Bob And David, as well as a hugely successful stand-up routine full of sharp-tongued rants and rages, Cross has carved out his place in American comedy.
Sometimes brilliantly spit-out-your-drink funny and fresh, sometimes self-indulgent and boring. Always well narrated, although not all of the audio add-ons worked for me (list of movie character ideas set to music and sung! why? WHY?). Audio chapter divisions made it difficult to skip parts that were making me mental and arrive safely at the start of a fresh new chapter. (Yeah, yeah, I know: I should have bought the print version.)
0 of 1 people found this review helpful