LISTENER

Roberta L. Ruben

  • 31
  • reviews
  • 74
  • helpful votes
  • 188
  • ratings
  • The Darkest Child

  • By: Dolores Phillips
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 15 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 674
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 609
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 607

In 1958 Georgia, the shade of a 13-year-old black girl's skin can make the difference in her fate. Tangy Mae is the smartest of her mother's 10 children, but she is also the darkest complected. The Quinns - all different skin shades, all with unknown fathers - live with their charismatic, beautiful, and tyrannical mother, Rozelle, in poverty on the fringes of a Georgia town where Jim Crow rules. Rozelle's children live in fear of her mood swings and her violence, but they are devoted to her. Rozelle pulls her children out of school when they are 12 years old so that they can help support her by going to work.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My heart couldn't take it

  • By NIXX1993 on 03-01-18

Strong Female Characters

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

Reviewed: 10-01-18

Murders, Prostitution, Ghosts, and Hatred for ones female children kept me glued to this Historical Novel of a Southern Black Families’ survival. A single mother and her 10 children, who never knew their fathers, tried to survive any way they can. This is not an adolescent novel but a commentary on life for African Americans in the south in the second half of the 20th century. Revenge and insanity keep you listening because you want to know who survives the poverty, racial hatred and injustices, childbirth and abortions. If you liked “Sing, Unburied, Sing”, you will love this novel.

Everything that could go wrong did until the heroine graduates high school and leave her insane mother who had already killed 3 of her child. Recommend for those who love being frightened.

  • Zero Day

  • By: David Baldacci
  • Narrated by: Ron McLarty, Orlagh Cassidy
  • Length: 13 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,330
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,184
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,173

From David Baldacci - the modern master of the thriller and number-one worldwide best-selling novelist - comes a new hero: a lone Army Special Agent taking on the toughest crimes facing the nation. John Puller is a combat veteran and the best military investigator in the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigative Division. His father was an Army fighting legend, and his brother is serving a life sentence for treason in a federal military prison. Puller has an indomitable spirit and an unstoppable drive to find the truth.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Big fan of David Baldacci, not a fan of Zero Day

  • By William R. on 11-22-11

Where are the Nukes?

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

Reviewed: 09-14-18

Full of suspense and logically organized story that seems believable in this day and age. All characters are well developed. Author keeps you interested in finding the real source of the murders.

  • Kindred

  • By: Octavia E. Butler
  • Narrated by: Kim Staunton
  • Length: 10 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,794
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,173
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,157

Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. After saving a drowning white boy there, she finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to the present just in time to save her life. During numerous such time-defying episodes with the same young man, she realizes she's been given a challenge.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Felt the Experience

  • By S. Davis on 11-03-07

Living History

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

Reviewed: 09-04-18

Original Experiences for every listener. Time travelers and Historians will enjoy this unique story. I felt like I was experiencing the life in 1840’s south. I was seeing life through the eyes of the time traveler who was trying to understand why slaves didn’t kill their masters and their children but kept following orders.

  • Alias Grace

  • By: Margaret Atwood
  • Narrated by: Margaret Atwood, Sarah Gadon
  • Length: 15 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,812
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,668
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,660

It's 1843, and Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer and his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders. An up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Read the book after watching the series.

  • By Sheri Martin on 12-30-17

Women Surviving the 19th Century Northern Wilderness

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

Reviewed: 07-04-18

Reflections on the life of a woman accused of murder when she was 15 and living in the Canadian wilderness. Part 1 of the tale is told through the eyes of a child who immigrated from Ireland with a large family try to find a better life. Part 2 reflects life in prison, the trial and what the prisoner could remember of the murders she witnessed. Part 3: Her finally release from prison 30 years after being caught. Author development of the characters in the story fully. Description of historic events were convincing and wonderfully written. Excellent Reading of this historic novel.

  • Where the Jews Aren't

  • The Sad and Absurd Story of Birobidzhan, Russia's Jewish Autonomous Region
  • By: Masha Gessen
  • Narrated by: Christina Delaine
  • Length: 5 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 12
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10

In 1929, the Soviet government set aside a sparsely populated area in the Soviet Far East for settlement by Jews. The place was called Birobidzhan. The idea of an autonomous Jewish region was championed by Jewish Communists, Yiddishists, and intellectuals, who envisioned a haven of post-oppression Jewish culture. By the mid-1930s tens of thousands of Soviet Jews, as well as about a thousand Jews from abroad, had moved there.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Jewish World of Our Ancestors

  • By Roberta L. Ruben on 06-16-18

The Jewish World of Our Ancestors

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

Reviewed: 06-16-18

Very moving. It revealed what happened to the Russian Jews who were not killed at the turn of the 20th Century and lived through the Russian Revolution and the start of the USSR. Most important was the history of Yiddish and the culture of the Jews during WWII and throughout Eastern Europe during and after the war. I had never heard of The Dream of Birobidzhan the proposed homeland for the millions of Jews of Eastern Europe before Hitler.

Recommended for all interested in Israel, Jewish History and Live in Russia after the revolution and before Putin.

  • Fantasyland

  • How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History
  • By: Kurt Andersen
  • Narrated by: Kurt Andersen
  • Length: 19 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,602
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,434
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,425

A razor-sharp thinker offers a new understanding of our post-truth world and explains the American instinct to believe in make-believe, from the Pilgrims to P. T. Barnum to Disneyland to zealots of every stripe...to Donald Trump. In this sweeping, eloquent history of America, Kurt Andersen demonstrates that what's happening in our country today - this strange, post-factual, "fake news" moment we're all living through - is not something entirely new, but rather the ultimate expression of our national character and path.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book, but...

  • By Synthpulse on 11-15-17

Enlightening

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

Reviewed: 05-15-18

Many new ideas about the history of fundamentalist Christians and their influence on America and its politics. Provided me with greater insight into the results of the 2016 presidential election. Recommended for those running for office around the country and those who know little about the power of the Christian Religious Right.

  • Educated

  • A Memoir
  • By: Tara Westover
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 17,963
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 16,365
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 16,274

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

The Power of Education

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

Reviewed: 05-03-18

Many raised in fundamentalist religious cultures, home schooled, or who have escaped a family with a mentally ill parent, can find comfort in reading of Julia Whelan’s successes. Knowing and learning your own strengths is the key message of this memoir. Recommended reading for adolescents and adults fighting to accept responsibility for their decisions.

Trying to understand the rational domestic violence in her family is a major goal of the author.

  • A Man Called Ove

  • By: Fredrik Backman
  • Narrated by: George Newbern
  • Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 60,770
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55,604
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55,506

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon - the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him "the bitter neighbor from hell". But behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I Laughed and I Cried

  • By Bill on 08-22-15

Angry Old Man Wins

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

Reviewed: 02-01-18

What made the experience of listening to A Man Called Ove the most enjoyable?

Ove’s honesty and tenacity

Which scene was your favorite?

I enjoyed the story of the older couple who had social services after them to take them to a nursing home because husband had Dementia and wife MS, It was Ove’s love for his wife and his old friend that made him ask the computer nerds for help saving their future independence. I also enjoyed his trip to the computer store to purchase an Ipad computer and how he was treated by the staff at the store.

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

Ove’s changes in attitude towards other people who were nothing like his stereotype of what people should know and think.

Any additional comments?

If you have ever had a parent or loved one who stubbornly holds on to being correct even when they are totally wrong, this read is for you!

  • Disobedience

  • By: Naomi Alderman
  • Narrated by: Rachel Atkins
  • Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 250
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 234
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 232

In a cramped synagogue in north-west London, the eminent elderly rabbi passes away. On the other side of the Atlantic, his estranged daughter, Ronit, hears of her father's death and returns to London for the funeral. She has not returned home in 15 years. Ronit looks forward to a week or two of revisiting old friends, perhaps settling old scores. But she finds the community she grew up in a more confusing place than she'd anticipated.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Overall it was ok, I guess... Not really.

  • By Stephanie Qualia Gomes on 03-02-17

Orthodox Jewish Women

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

Reviewed: 01-29-18

Would you listen to Disobedience again? Why?

Yes, need to understand what the author is going through as a modern Jewish Women.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I liked the end. It reflected how I felt as a Jewish Women in America in the 20th Century.

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

The Hebrew pronunciation of many words was incorrect and that bothered me. If you don’t know Hebrew you would enjoy her British accent. The author is British make it more meaningful to use this narrator.

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

I was moved by her decision about being a Jew and/or a lesbian. She is bi-sexual but explains that unlike African Americans, Jews and Lesbians can choose to ignore their differences and keep others from knowing they are different. This may cause some from feeling isolated but know one questions their behavior. One must admit to being different.

Any additional comments?

It is important to know where you come from and where you are going in America. This seems to be the message the author is communicating to all readers. Be yourself!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • 1984

  • New Classic Edition
  • By: George Orwell
  • Narrated by: Simon Prebble
  • Length: 11 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,553
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,730
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,758

George Orwell depicts a gray, totalitarian world dominated by Big Brother and its vast network of agents, including the Thought Police - a world in which news is manufactured according to the authorities' will and people live tepid lives by rote. Winston Smith, a hero with no heroic qualities, longs only for truth and decency. But living in a social system in which privacy does not exist and where those with unorthodox ideas are brainwashed or put to death, he knows there is no hope for him.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Better than the real thing

  • By Andrew George on 05-30-08

We Are Living During 1984

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

Reviewed: 12-17-17

This was a prediction of the future. Orwell was off by 50 years but he saw it coming and no-one could be believe him. He was talking about a Communist take over not a Capitalist take over as we are having under Trump. We are turning into an Oligarchy and Putin’s Russia is the model. Keep ReReading this novel you learn something new about the future each time you listen.