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Polish Princess

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  • Beautiful Boy

  • A Father's Journey through His Son's Meth Addiction
  • By: David Sheff
  • Narrated by: Anthony Heald
  • Length: 11 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,596
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,123
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,116

David Sheff's story is a first: a teenager's addiction from the parent's point of view, a real-time chronicle of the shocking descent into substance abuse and the gradual emergence into hope.

Before meth, Sheff's son, Nic, was a varsity athlete, honor student, and award-winning journalist. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who stole money from his eight-year-old brother and lived on the streets. With haunting candor, Sheff traces the first warning signs, the attempts at rehabilitation, and, at last, the way past addiction. He shows us that, whatever an addict's fate, the rest of the family must care for one another, too, lest they become addicted to addiction.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Gripping Story

  • By Bev K. on 05-06-10

Overall heartbreaking account

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-02-18

I couldn't stop listening to this heartbreaking account of a father's slow realization that his son is not just a troubled youth, but a hardcore drug addict. David Sheff sifts through his son's life...the upper-middle class upbringing, educated and creative parents, a miserable divorce, lenient household, creative and academic promise...desperately searching for clues for the reason of his son's addiction, hopelessly ignoring all the while that it really doesn't matter why.
Some of the most fascinating parts of the book are the statistics about crystal meth addiction and the conversations with the experts in the field of drug addiction. I realized we had a problem with the drug in the US, but the shocking details about the drug...and the dour prognosis for its users, is really something of which every American should be aware.
A word about the narrator, however. Although I eventually got used to him, the initial fifteen minutes of the book made me want to poke my ears out with a sharp stick. He has a particularly...cloying way of doing children's voices and dialogue that just set my teeth on edge. I almost gave up on the book except for the fact that is so well written and intriguing right out of the gate.

  • Educated

  • A Memoir
  • By: Tara Westover
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 23,712
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 21,529
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 21,420

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Other Side of Idaho's Mountains

  • By Darwin8u on 03-28-18

Lots of questions

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-24-18

Ultimately this is a story of a woman who was raised a survivalist and homeschooled in the backwoods who, along with several of her siblings, then went on to higher education....even receiving PhD's at really esteemed universities. The question is: Is it in spite of or because of her odd upbringing?? Now, some of the childhood she recounts is horrific, but some of it felt just plain voyeur-like, but at times I really wanted to hear her family's side of it all! She makes mental health diagnoses without support, and although there were some really odd and terrible things that happened when she was younger, she admits that she wonders if her memory is faulty because so many people at that time argue that she is wrong in the way things happened. Overall, it's a good story about her success over a childhood that obviously lacking, but in the end I just have to wonder at the veracity of some of her story. And that affected my enjoyment of the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • West Cork

  • By: Sam Bungey, Jennifer Forde
  • Narrated by: Sam Bungey, Jennifer Forde
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 23,070
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,598
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20,601

This much we do know: Sophie Toscan du Plantier was murdered days before Christmas in 1996, her broken body discovered at the edge of her property near the town of Schull in West Cork, Ireland. The rest remains a mystery. Gripping, yet ever elusive, join the real-life hunt for answers in the year’s first not-to-be-missed, true-crime series.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • ENTERTAINING AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING

  • By Ann on 02-13-18

Worth the listen

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-31-18

What did you love best about West Cork?

I liked the format of the podcast.

What other book might you compare West Cork to and why?

It's a podcast, basically like a 20/20 that you listen to. If you are into true crime, etc. this may be for you, but I have no other book to compare it to.

Have you listened to any of Sam Bungey and Jennifer Forde ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No.

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

No extreme reactions, just a thoughtful and introspective look at the murder, and particularly, at the odd behavior of the suspect.

  • The Rosie Project

  • A Novel
  • By: Graeme Simsion
  • Narrated by: Dan O'Grady
  • Length: 7 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,105
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,092
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,080

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a "wonderful" husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical - most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver. Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent - and on a quest of her own....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not a typical romance - so much more

  • By Gretchen on 10-03-13

Something different

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-26-17

Where does The Rosie Project rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It's pretty high up there. It's one of the few that I would listen to again.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Rosie Project?

Lots of funny moments, funnier than I had expected. I loved them visiting NYC as I had just been there. I read it for my book club and expected just another sappy, contemporary love story but this is a lot more.

What about Dan O'Grady’s performance did you like?

He did a good job with his wonderful Aussie accent! Just enough inflation for the main character to come to life while still presenting as someone with Asperger's.

If you could rename The Rosie Project, what would you call it?

Seriously? I wouldn't rename it and how would this question help future listeners anyway?

  • Hillbilly Elegy

  • A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
  • By: J. D. Vance
  • Narrated by: J. D. Vance
  • Length: 6 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37,696
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33,911
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33,841

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis - that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over 40 years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enlightening!

  • By Gotta Tellya on 09-11-16

Liked it better than I thought I would.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-08-16

What did you love best about Hillbilly Elegy?

If Jeannette Walls, Glass Castles, was a glimpse into the horror of poverty among the American children of the Appalachians, Vance's is a continuation. His description of his life with his grandparents and parents and his search for stability and answers goes a step beyond Walls. He tries to figure out WHY the poverty exists. WHY did his family behave like that. WHY did the actions of his childhood continue to affect him into adulthood.

What did you like best about this story?

I don't necessarily agree with all of Vance's politics. But I agree with a lot of what he writes, based on my own childhood and interaction with similar people. When he presented an observation, one that I almost always agreed with, he would also present a documented fact or statistic to support his theory. And I would think sadly, "Aha. Yup. I always suspected that."

Which scene was your favorite?

I don't know that there was a particular scene, as it's a non-fiction book, but the author's descriptions of life with his grandparents were always amusing and kind of sweet.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Based on my own childhood, there was a lot I could relate to. There were actually moments, while listening, when I realized I was holding my breath as he explained the damage and long lasting effects of childhood trauma.

Any additional comments?

Usually I dislike it when authors read their own books, unless the author is an actor. But Vance does a very good job here. He has a nice cadence and tone, he never comes across flat nor does he overact. Well done.

  • The Taming of the Queen

  • By: Philippa Gregory
  • Narrated by: Bianca Amato
  • Length: 18 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,934
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,773
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,762

Kateryn Parr, a 30-year-old widow in a secret affair with a new lover, has no choice when a man old enough to be her father who has buried four wives - King Henry VIII - commands her to marry him.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • You'd better like repetition

  • By A customer on 09-17-15

Recommended

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-21-16

What did you love best about The Taming of the Queen?

The fleshing out of Katharine Parr. It was ambitious for Gregory to take on this wife of Henry VIII because her story isn't as immediately salacious or tantalizing as an Anne Boleyn's or Katherine Howard's. I also liked the references to Anne of Cleves, whom I think is a particularly fascinating and neglected wife.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Henry VIII. In fact, I would venture that, like in some sitcoms where any scene without the secondary character is boring, Gregory's portrayal of Henry is the best part of the book. I found myself most interested when he was being discussed or referred to or just in the scene. She portrays him as he must have been in his later years, petty, cruel, and bitter, but still desperate to maintain his legacy.

What about Bianca Amato’s performance did you like?

She did a good job of Henry's voice and also of showing the despair and fear that overwhelmed Katharine at times.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. But it was a good listen and flowed nicely. It was something I looked forward to listening to in my car, etc. but not one of those books where I hated to leave my car because I wanted to know what happened next!

Any additional comments?

Remember that Katharine Parr's legacy was religious and intellectual. She helped translate the bible for the "common people" in Henry VIII's kingdom and also held small classes in her rooms for study. This was an admirable undertaking and interesting. There is a lot of emphasis in the book on this part of her life because it is, I believe, the part that we know the most about, it is what we have evidence of. Having said that, there is a reason so many books are written about Anne Boleyn and her rise and fall in Henry's life. It's because that scenario, as well as her character, is fascinating. Katharine and her story...not as fascinating...but still realize that she outlived Henry and contributed a lot to the country's faith. Still...having read this book, I don't feel the need to read anymore about her. It was very heavy on the her thoughts regarding the superiority of the Protestant faith vs. Catholicism, which of course was how Katherine felt, but I got the idea pretty quickly and felt at times like I was being beat over the head with that same point time and time again. But frankly, there's just not that much more that we know about her.

  • In a Dark, Dark Wood

  • By: Ruth Ware
  • Narrated by: Imogen Church
  • Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,154
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,389
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8,372

Leonora, known to some as Lee and others as Nora, is a reclusive crime writer, unwilling to leave her nest of an apartment unless it is absolutely necessary. When a friend she hasn't seen or spoken to in years unexpectedly invites Nora ( Lee) to a weekend away in an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. Forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured but alive, with the knowledge that someone is dead.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable, yes, but mostly just frustrating

  • By De Plume on 07-31-17

Worth the listen

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-12-16

Would you consider the audio edition of In a Dark, Dark Wood to be better than the print version?

Yes.

Would you recommend In a Dark, Dark Wood to your friends? Why or why not?

Yes. I would recommend it. It kept my interest. This is like a "Rebecca", without the talent of Daphne DuMaurier. But the narrator brought it to life.

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

Never listened to her before. But I think she did a great job with a fair to good book. She made the book for me. She did a wonderful job narrating as the introverted, slightly paranoid, strange main character that knows something is off....

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

No.

Any additional comments?

Get it. It's better than 3/4 of the stuff on Audible :/

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • After Schizophrenia

  • The Story of How My Sister Got Help, Got Hope, and Got on With Life
  • By: Margaret Hawkins
  • Narrated by: Ann Richardson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18

From her early 30's until her early 60's, Barbara Hawkins lived cloistered in her family home in suburban Chicago, a prisoner of undiagnosed mental illness. Hearing voices and paralyzed with fear, she was never evaluated, never treated, and refused to leave the house. After Schizophrenia is the story of Barb's descent into severe mental illness and the healing that has come only in recent years: after her parents' death, when her sister, Margaret, became her guardian. With uncanny grace and humor, Margaret chronicles her family's struggle with Barb's mental illness.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Kinder, Gentler Look at Schizophrenia

  • By Kindle Customer on 10-20-13

Better than I had expected.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-23-16

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. It's a fascinating story of the progression of schizophrenia, and the precarious climb out again. It is also an interesting look at the history of the treatment of the disease in a non-clinical, personal fashion. I was surprised at how well written the book was considering the author isn't a professional writer. It isn't as gripping as some mental health autobiographies out there, but it held my interest.

What other book might you compare After Schizophrenia to and why?

There are a few biographies like Cult Insanity by Irene Spencer, or maybe one of the Carrie Fischer books, that touches on the personal difficulties of someone's life....that just grab you. I think the topic of mental illness, especially the mystifying symptoms of schizophrenia, interests us all. This book was a well written, surprisingly well written, account of the illness told with love by a sister.

What about Ann M. Richardson’s performance did you like?

The narrator was good. I'm glad the author wasn't tempted to read her own book as that usually kills a book for me if they aren't professional actors.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. I got hooked. This was a good listen, easy and interesting and I was sorry when it ended...always the mark of a successful audiobook! She discusses the day to day struggles of a family dealing with a member that has a severe mental illness...and she does it in a very matter of fact, low drama way that is still so darn interesting! I mean, we all have heard of celebrities having nervous breakdowns but then what? What is their life like afterwards? And the glimpse into the HISTORY of her sister's life....that was so interesting. Her parents were mortified, and frightened, and there were few treatment options available initially. Not until later does her sister get help, and journey to a spot of peace is uplifting without the offer of false hope.

Any additional comments?

Get it if you have an interest in biographies or first person stories about mental illness or life struggles...even though this was written by the sister of a schizophrenic, it is intriguing and insightful. I get bored with audiobooks soooo easily, I return them left and right and get so frustrated. I'm glad I found this one and can recommend it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Bring Up the Bodies

  • A Novel
  • By: Hilary Mantel
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 14 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,394
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,088
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,102

Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice. At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfection in story and the telling

  • By Ry Young on 09-18-12

Phenomenal.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-11-16

Would you consider the audio edition of Bring Up the Bodies to be better than the print version?

I would listen to Simon Vance read the phone book.
The fact that he has this incredible bit of literature to narrate was only icing on the cake. Better than the print version? I don't know if many audio books are...but this one would qualify.

What other book might you compare Bring Up the Bodies to and why?

Wolf Hall, the first in the series. Other than that, Mantel is unique. She's incredibly intelligent and doesn't write down to her readers. Her characters are incredible and her description of settings brings them to life.
If anything, I'd read something that explored this particular era and the Tudor court specifically.

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

I think I've listened to just about all of Simon Vance's audiobooks. He is an incredible narrator and this is no exception. He brought Cromwell to life.

  • A Head Full of Ghosts

  • By: Paul Tremblay
  • Narrated by: Joy Osmanski
  • Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,143
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,995
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,992

The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when 14-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia. To her parents' despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie's descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Page turner

  • By E.C. on 07-31-15

Just okay. Sorry.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-30-15

Would you try another book from Paul Tremblay and/or Joy Osmanski?

No, I think I got a sufficient indication of his writing. Depending on the book I may try the narrator again, just not in this genre.

Would you recommend A Head Full of Ghosts to your friends? Why or why not?

Probably not. It really didn't provide any real enjoyment for me.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Joy Osmanski?

I think the narrator did an okay job at the young protagonist. However, she was limited past that. She has a very young, sometimes immature voice. She would probably do a good job narrating a YA book or romance novel. As it was her attempts at masculine voices were just bad. Maybe the book needed more than one narrator.

Do you think A Head Full of Ghosts needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful