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R. Klein

Rocketville, Maryland - USA
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The Tattooist of Auschwitz audiobook cover art
  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz

  • A Novel
  • By: Heather Morris
  • Narrated by: Richard Armitage
  • Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 11,720
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 10,727
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 10,665

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (German for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners. Imprisoned for more than two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism - but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A hopeful perspective on a harrowing time

  • By melyssa57 (A Page Before Bedtime dot com) on 10-10-18

More a romance novel than historical record

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

Reviewed: 07-31-19

I was impressed by, and bought this based on the reviews of this book. I read a lot of literature about the holocaust, trying to understand it.

While this book is based on a true story, it is, after all, a novel. At the end of the book, there is a little appendix that suggests the author spent a lot of time with the protagonist, listening to his story, to relay the historical facts. But again, it's a novel, not a biography. So, I'm not sure why that charade is played at the end of the book.

While the book started out well for me, describing the tattooist's arrival at and early experiences at Auschwitz, it quickly transformed into what I could consider a romance novel. Auschwitz, and the history of European Jews and Gypsies take a back seat in the love story.

Other books I've read about the holocaust, and about Auschwitz in particular, describe a place of horrors, where people are restricted, dehumanized, and punished for the slightest infraction of any of a thousand rules - spoken or unspoken.

Yet, the tattooist manages to mostly make friends with the guards, the kapos, and other prisoners, and deftly get himself out of countless dangerous situations.

I couldn't help wondering how, even with the explanations of how the role of tattooist was "political" and thus given certain privileges not shown to other prisoners, this tattooist seems to be part of a coffee klatch. He is able to wander into offices, fraternize with other prisoners, ask for favors from the guards and overseers, and smuggle goods around the camp.

I started to roll my eyes at some of the events, thinking that they seemed awfully unlikely to have occurred in the environment of Auschwitz/Birkenau.

Although life in the camp isn't portrayed as a vacation by any means, the protagonist seems to have the best of luck in even the most tense situations. And while other books and testimonies record extreme competition (to stay alive) among prisoners in the most desperate conditions, the protagonist here is able to move about, and visit other prisoners, and even to visit the women's bunker during the day for a romantic rendezvous. No one ever betrays the tattooist, despite his broad reputation as a man who can help people out of bad situations, or organize extra food for them.

I've read many accounts of starved prisoners dying after liberation, having been deprived of food for so long, that they are unable to digest and handle ordinary food right away. Yet, after falling in with the Russians after his excape, the tattooist is able to enjoy a dinner of very rich food without any problem, and then have a nice breakfast the next morning.

I was perplexed by the accents. I assume the reader is British. Sometimes German guards speak with a mild German accent. Some prisoners (ostensibly from Eastern Europe) speak with a distinct, and even stronger British accent than the narrator's normal speaking voice. But that's neither here nor there in terms of the story.

Many reviews highly praise this book. You may love it. But to me, despite being based on a true-life tale, this book seemed historically inaccurate, with so many unlikely events. I felt that the holocaust merely served as a backdrop for a sentimental love story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

The Package: A Tale of the Holocaust audiobook cover art
  • The Package: A Tale of the Holocaust

  • By: Ms Ellen Elizabeth Dudley
  • Narrated by: Veleka Gray
  • Length: 5 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9

This tragic tale concerns two Jewish women living in Hamburg in Nazi Germany before WW2, Ellen Kaempfer and Betty Holstein, and a non-Jewish woman, Elfriede Mollenhauer, who tried to help them. Ellen and Betty were to be deported by cattle train, which meant standing room only, a journey that would take days. They were to be taken from Hamburg to a work camp in Poland, a journey without food or drink, with only a bucket for a toilet.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Heartbreaking history.

  • By Courtney Odor on 05-21-19

I wish the story didn't so highlight "The Package"

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

Reviewed: 06-16-19

The Package is about the persecution of Jews in Germany, and Europe more widely under Nazi rule, and European occupation, which culminated in the holocaust. It attempts to document events that involve a few particular individuals. The book is mostly historical fiction. The introduction by the author identifies it as what would be a hybrid of actual events and real people, with the bulk of the book being "figments of imagination" of the author, recreating a history of the era.

The book follows two Jewish sisters who experience the ever tightening noose of Nazi policy toward, and persecution of the Jews. Their fate is sealed because they are unable to flee Germany due to health-related issues affecting one sister.

The story documents their experiences. The book is based on what seems to be a somewhat minor event - that of one of the sisters leaving a package of valuables with a gentile friend for safe keeping until her return from being sent to a work camp. We do not know the contents of "the package" until the very end of the book.

It's a tale that readers of holocaust literature are familiar with, told from a mostly first person perspective that tells the story of the broader experiences of persecution of the Jews of Nazi-occupied Europe. Some of the experiences are told in intimate detail, describing the fear and intimidation felt by those rounded up and shipped eastward to work and/or extermination camps. The unknown destinations, the hope that tries to override the fears. The ride in the cattle car, and arrival in a strange and disorganized (to the logical, cultivated mind) destination, for example, are described in stark detail.

Overall, this is a good story, told well. Yet knowing that it was woven from such seemingly insignificant, if factual detail, as the package left for safe keeping, took away from the story for me. In essence, the story is fictional, even if the package was real. Ultimately, the package itself is a small part in the story. I felt like I wasted effort in trying to imagine just what might be in it. I wish it wasn't played up as a main character, even taking its place as the title of the book.

I was surprised, in a positive way, by the fact that the story and fate of the sisters was not sugar coated to provide a happy ending.

This book was provided to me free of charge in exchange for a review. This does not in any way impact my review, which is honest and my own.



The Man in the High Castle audiobook cover art
  • The Man in the High Castle

  • By: Philip K. Dick
  • Narrated by: Jeff Cummings
  • Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 6,163
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5,656
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5,683

It's America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some 20 years earlier the United States lost a war - and is now occupied jointly by Nazi Germany and Japan.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Wanted to see what all the buzz was about!

  • By Gray on 06-23-15

Differs from the Amazon TV version

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

Reviewed: 05-15-19

I was, of course, brought to this book by the television series created by Amazon. I wanted to go back to the original source material in hopes of getting a deeper understanding of the events and concepts.

The book differs dramatically from the Amazon Prime version, being considerably less complex and considerably more compact.

The story, an alternate history of the outcome of the second world war, is much more linear in the book. And contains much less intrigue and complexity of characters.

I think that both versions are interesting. I didn't really think that the book illuminated much for me about the Amazon version, but was an interesting version to hear. Between the two, I found the TV version more engaging and emotionally gripping.

Many of the characters overlap, between the two, but don't expect the book to explain events and relationships in the TV version. The book is a good read, but a more simplistic story.

Europe Central audiobook cover art
  • Europe Central

  • By: William T. Vollmann
  • Narrated by: Ralph Cosham
  • Length: 31 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 81
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 66
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 66

Assembling a composite portrait of these two warring leviathans and the terrible age they defined, the narrative intertwines experiences both real and fictional: a young German who joins the SS to expose its crimes, two generals who collaborate with the enemy for different reasons, the Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich laboring under Stalinist oppression.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Must Listen

  • By Armen on 03-15-09

Might appeal to Soviet history experts

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

Reviewed: 05-15-19

This is a long book, and I often found myself wondering if I really needed to finish it, when I spent so much effort trying to understand exactly what was happening, to whom.

It's a glimpse into the struggle between Communism and Nazism/fascism, and the people who were caught in the middle. One of the central characters is the Russian composer, Shostakovitch. His story seems to pick up, and then fade throughout the book.

The book is nearly 32 hours long, and I felt like I spent a good bit of it wondering who the narrator, or narrators (not the reader) were. From whose point of view or perspective were these stories told? Nearly 32 hours later, I still don't know for sure.

The story shifts around quite a bit, and describes life within states struggling to survive, or conquer. Namely, Russia and Germany during the years of WW II and the post-war era. In that respect, it provides insight into life on the ground for citizens caught up in the political struggles that surround them.

Not being a student of history, I looked up some of the characters on-line while listening to the book, and found that those characters and events were factual. Other aspects of the story - the loves and intimacies of the characters, I assume are fictionalizations created by the author. Perhaps they are based in factual events.

I found the line of the story, or stories in this book quite difficult to follow. There would be sections of the book describing particular players and events during the war that kept my interest for extended periods, and this was what kept me going through to the end. But there were long sequences when I felt lost in the book, too. And those where the sections that kept me questioning why I was even continuing to listen.

The book does describe the terrible and unstable circumstances of daily life. The terrors perpetrated by both Stalin and Hitler upon populations wishing only to continue day-to-day life. The senseless death of millions. The book provides insight into and understanding of cultural differences, too, between Germany and Russia, and the incentives of soldiers and civilians to fight during the terrible war years.

A central theme of the book seems to be the constant spying and surveillance of everyone. The constant uncertainty of whom to trust, and what to say in a sea of constantly changing, swirling waves of political realities. The difficulty of daily life, the starvation and deprivation of citizens is also examined in detail, looking at the lives of specific people in different walks of life.

I thought there were valuable insights, too, into the forces driving both Hitler and Stalin, and how those drove the war, but also the national capacity to wage, and to win a war.

Shostakovitch seems like a central character, at least to me, in no small part because of his position as an accomplished and famous composer, always caught in a web of changing and unidentifiable political directives. His life and times seem to have been very much defined by the political powers and demands around him, as he tried to walk the tightrope in the middle, and write his music to express his own views of what was happening around him. Often, the successes and problems were merely matters of interpretation, and he seemed well suited to be a chameleon when it came to interpretation, that allowed him, against all odds, to continue working in the Communist state during, and long after the war ended. A prime example of "damned if you do, and damned if you don't."

I gave this book three stars because I thought it contained important historical information I was never aware of, and helped with an understanding of that history and the two countries involved. But that value was tempered by the fact that there were so many places in the book I just wasn't sure of what was going on, who it was happening to, or who was telling the story.

In the end, if the book ever answered the oft repeated question, "What was that sound?" I guess I missed it.

Gathering Moss audiobook cover art
  • Gathering Moss

  • A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses
  • By: Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Narrated by: Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Length: 7 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 317
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 295
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 290

Living at the limits of our ordinary perception, mosses are a common but largely unnoticed element of the natural world. Gathering Moss is a beautifully written mix of science and personal reflection that invites listeners to explore and learn from the elegantly simple lives of mosses.   

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Pure lovely, insightful and inspired

  • By J Dowling on 03-16-19

Lovely look at an often unseen world

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

Reviewed: 05-15-19

This book was a lovely confabulation of musings on moss and scientific facts about these tiny plants that surround us, and are often unseen, unnoticed, or ignored. An it carries a strong ecological message, without preaching. The book delves nicely into the interrelatedness of mosses into the larger environment, and illuminates the importance of even the smallest plants and animals to the balance and function of the largest ecosystems.

She examines microscopic details, describing the morphology and physiology of these minute plants, and explains how, and why each species grows in specific conditions and locations - some on rock, some in cracks on a sidewalk, some on tree trunks, and some on only a particular part of a rotting tree stump. There are explanations of how they become established, how they grow, how they survive, and how they reproduce and move to new places to grow. As a teacher and expert in mosses, she inspires readers to consider questions, and seek explanations, explaining how research on these tiny plants is done.

She also presents a spiritual look at the mosses, and their importance to the ecosystems they inhabit.

The depth of her scientific musings is at a level that is very easy to understand for anyone who does not have a scientific background, explained in poetic, lay language. She has a gentle narrative style that is as soft as the mosses themselves.

Hopefully, this book will raise consciousness in people about the minute, unnoticed worlds that exist around us, how important each component is - and how interdependent each component is upon the others.

As I watch forested lands around me decimated to make way for housing, and shopping centers, I suspect that almost no one driving by these devastated landscapes is thinking about the ecological communities - from mosses, to insects and worms, bacteria, to the variety of plants and larger fauna playing out their lives in the isolated quiet of the forest - and supporting the ecosystems of the world around them. Including ours. These complex systems are now disappearing at an alarming rate, and destroying a natural balance that has existed as long as life has existed on our planet.

I hope that this book will help raise consciousness to a point where people will begin to assign a greater importance to the microscopic world around them, upon which all life of the planet rests, and depends.

A Fine Balance audiobook cover art
  • A Fine Balance

  • By: Rohinton Mistry
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 24 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,315
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 956
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 954

In the India of the mid-1970s, Indira Gandhi's government has just come to power. It institutionalizes corruption and arbitrary force, most oppressive to the poorest and weakest people under its sway. Against this backdrop, in an unnamed city by the sea, four people struggle to survive. Dina, Maneck, and two tailors, the Untouchables Om and Ishvar, who are sewing in Dina's service, undergo a series of reversals.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Praise for the Narrator as much as the Writer

  • By Karen P. Smith on 05-10-09

Beautifully written historical novel

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

Reviewed: 04-23-19

A Fine Balance is a fine book. It traces the history of a few families, and a number of different people in India under the rule of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and traces her declaration of a state of emergency. The book depicts the far reaching effects of the caste system, and the state of emergency on ordinary citizens. Through the interrelationships of a number of characters, Mistry does an excellent job of describing India in the 1970s, the vicissitudes of life with rising and falling expectations and fortunes of the story's inhabitants.

The book is engaging throughout, and I found myself wanting to get back to it as often as I could. I started to feel that I needed to know what has happening to my friends in the story.

The characters are beautifully painted, with extensive and interesting insight into who each of the main characters is, and how each got to where they are in the ongoing story.

Highly recommend this book!

Other Minds audiobook cover art
  • Other Minds

  • The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness
  • By: Peter Godfrey-Smith
  • Narrated by: Peter Noble
  • Length: 6 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,156
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,028
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,026

Although mammals and birds are widely regarded as the smartest creatures on earth, it has lately become clear that a very distant branch of the tree of life has also sprouted higher intelligence: the cephalopods, consisting of the squid, the cuttlefish, and above all the octopus. In captivity, octopuses have been known to identify individual human keepers, raid neighboring tanks for food, turn off lightbulbs by spouting jets of water, plug drains, and make daring escapes.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Empathy for an Octopus?

  • By Chris Geschwantner on 05-31-17

More about consciousness than octopuses

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

Reviewed: 01-31-19

This was an excellent read. It was engrossing from start to finish. I expected it to be about octopuses, and octopuses are certainly a big part of the book, but I thought it centered more around evolution, and the development of consciousness. Octopus and other cephalopods, like the cuttlefishes, serve as the examples of other evolutionary branches of animals with highly developed nervous systems. But theirs is a model seemingly quite different from our own.

The author delves deeply into how these branches of evolution might have diverged, and provides insights into research regarding how other animals see and react to the world around them, and how that may differ from our own perceptions and perspectives.

There were many eye-opening concepts and insights into the inner working and worlds of other creatures, how our own conscious (and unconscious) reactions compare with theirs, and how we tend to automatically see them through the lens of our own experiences. This may be a distorted view..

The book takes a scientific approach to all the topics discussed, and gives the reader food for thought.

He discusses interesting findings about visual sensory perception that operate on different levels of consciousness that I'd never heard of before, but that make a lot of sense.

Narration was excellent.

The book revealed interesting facts about cephalopods, and even pigeons, but also about us.

Christmas Eve, 1914 audiobook cover art
  • Christmas Eve, 1914

  • By: Charles Olivier
  • Narrated by: Cameron Daddo, Xander Berkeley, Cody Fern, and others
  • Length: 1 hr and 13 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,117
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,883
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,836

In 1914, the war which was to have been wrapped up by Christmas had - in reality - only just begun, as all sides entrenched themselves deeper into the Great War. Christmas Eve, 1914 follows one company of British officers as they rotate forward to spend their Christmas on the front lines, a mere 80 yards from the German guns. Upper- and working-class men and boys are thrown together into one trench and struggle to survive.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully "illustrated"

  • By anonymous on 12-25-14

Five Stars all around

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

Reviewed: 01-05-19

This is a short, play format telling of the Christmas Truce between the English and British during the first world war. It's beautifully told from the British perspective, capturing the bravado, the courage, and the fear of the English soldiers on the Eve of Christmas, entrenched on the front line in Belgium in 1914. It's beautifully played out, taking the listener to the scene with excellent acting, sound effects, and production quality.

It was an inspiring and moving story that grabs you, and doesn't let go for over an hour as it provides a peek into the terrifying experience of facing death in the unknown. It centers on the relationships of the soldiers, their distant and disconnected higher command, and a new young solider who just joined the regiment.

It's a story of the ugliness of war, of fear, of hope, and irony. All of it comes together beautifully in this excellent production, with a moving ending. Men whose actions are dictated by orders, by fear, and by humanity. The slow and cautious connection that can be made even between bitter enemies, which raises questions about whose war it was, anyway.

While the story takes place on Christmas Eve, the story rises above being "a Christmas tale." This is a good listen any time of the year.

One More Moon: Goodbye Mussolini! One Woman's Story of Fate and Survival audiobook cover art
  • One More Moon: Goodbye Mussolini! One Woman's Story of Fate and Survival

  • By: Ralph Webster
  • Narrated by: Nina Price
  • Length: 12 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7

In 1934, at age 51, Elsa’s sheltered life in Mussolini’s Fascist Italy changes remarkably when she and her husband, Paul, purchase the Pensione Alexandria overlooking the Mediterranean in Naples. When war breaks out in Europe and Italy sides with Germany, Elsa and her family’s fears are quickly realized. The growing sense that the atrocities in German-occupied lands will soon occur in Italy forces them to sell their pensione and attempt a desperate journey to safety in America.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful story about the Italian story in WWII

  • By Mark Twain "Eddie" on 05-09-19
  • One More Moon: Goodbye Mussolini! One Woman's Story of Fate and Survival
  • By: Ralph Webster
  • Narrated by: Nina Price

Insight into 1930s Italy from a German perspective

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

Reviewed: 12-06-18

I have been looking for books that describe the war years and the European holocaust from perspectives beyond Germany and Poland. This is one of the better books I've found on the holocaust era in Italy. It traces the life of a woman from Germany to Italy, where she met her husband long before the war years. As Italian citizens, they were initially spared the antisemitism grasping at German Jews. But over time, Hitler's noose expanded around Europe and began to tighten, finally affecting Jews living in Italy. This story catalogs the changes, and daily lives of citizens of Naples. It provides an interesting comparison of the national personalities of Germans and Italians.

I thought the book spent a good bit of time setting the stage, telling the story of how the main protagonist ended up going to Italy, meeting her future husband, and ending up the proprietress of a pensione in Naples. I thought this segment of the book dragged, with too much detail of every thought and decision described in painful detail.

However, once the story began to encompass an account of historical events surrounding the rise of the Italian Fascists and the Nazis in Germany, I very much appreciated the details.

The story provides a glimpse into how political events - the depression, antisemitism, the rise of fascism and Nazism affected ordinary citizens on the street. This is the story of pretty ordinary people, caught in the storm of dictatorships and growing hatreds.

The book describes the day-to-day challenges faced by people trying to keep their heads down, or flee oppression. The descriptions of the specific challenges faced - from having to surrender your possessions and monetary assets to the state to be allowed to leave, the bureaucratic labyrinth to navigate to secure official paperwork, securing a foreign currency (American dollars) to pay for ever-shrinking number of available tickets for passage out of Europe, the sequential closing of ports, the dangers of sailing the Atlantic, and securing visas in an ever-changing maze of political events. The challenges were enormous, as they remain today, for refugees.

This is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the historical environment for Jews in Europe before, and during the war. It shines a light on the lives of people caught up in the storm, and the trials of trying to escape.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary, unbiased review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Girls & Boys audiobook cover art
  • Girls & Boys

  • By: Dennis Kelly
  • Narrated by: Carey Mulligan
  • Length: 1 hr and 46 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,510
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,861
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9,796

A pulse-pounding new play from Tony Award-winning® playwright Dennis Kelly takes you on a journey that is at once hilarious, gripping, and heartbreaking. This world-premiere production starring Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby, An Education) is available exclusively on Audible after a celebrated run at the Royal Court Theatre in London and off-Broadway at the Minetta Lane Theatre. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I have never heard a story performed so well.

  • By Erin Reeve on 07-05-18

Terrific!

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

Reviewed: 11-10-18

I had little to no idea what to expect in this audio. And as I listened, I had no real idea exactly where it was going. As it unfolds, and I think "unfolds" is exactly what this story does, I thought it was human, intriguing and real, all the way through.

I've since read some of the other reviews, and agree, it gets dark, but not without reason to serve the tale. If you're expecting a comedic story, as some apparently had expected it to be, this isn't it. But it's a deep dive into a life, a marriage, an intimate story of experience.

The narration is superb, capturing the lightness, and then the darkness of the events and emotions that run through the story. In a way if feels as if you're sitting in a coffee shop with a friend you haven't seen in a long time, who is now pouring out her story to you with the coffee.

Or, maybe sitting at the next table, unable to get up, mesmerized by the story being told by the woman nearby.

This is absolutely well written and well read, and I'd highly recommend it!