World-famous anthropologist Gray Kaiser has almost everything. She is brilliance, self-sufficient, and beautiful. But at 59, one thing is still missing from her life. She has never been in love....
For 10 years Estrin Lancaster has fled Philadelphia. From the Philippines to Berlin, she's been a traveler without a destination, an expatriate without a motherland....
Eva never really wanted to be a mother - and certainly not the mother of a boy who ends up murdering seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher....
This is the story of Frank and April Wheeler, a bright, beautiful, and talented couple who have lived on the assumption that greatness is only just around the corner....
As the daughter of a drug dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. It's safer to keep her mouth shut and stay out of sight....
When Kristin Chapman agrees to let her husband, Richard, host his brother's bachelor party, she expects a certain amount of debauchery....
In 2029 the United States is engaged in a bloodless world war that will wipe out the savings of millions of American families....
The Things They Carried’s portrayal of the boots-on-the-ground experience of soldiers in the Vietnam War is a landmark in war writing.....
In 1631, Sara de Vos is admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke's in Holland, the first woman to be so recognized. Three hundred years later, only one work is known to remain....
Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn't spoken for many years, comes to see her....
For the past twenty-five years, Margaret Atwood has written works of striking originality and imagination. In The Blind Assassin...
In Ordinary Grace, Krueger looks back to 1961 to tell the story of Frank Drum, a boy on the cusp of manhood....
Each heir wants the house. Yet to buy the other out, two siblings must team against one. Just as in girlhood, Corlis is torn between allying with the decent but fearful youngest and the iconoclastic eldest, who covets his legacy to destroy it. A Perfectly Good Family is a stunning examination of inheritance, literal and psychological: what we take from our parents, what we discard, and what we are stuck with, like it or not.
Sad that previous reviewers did not give this story a chance. True, the narration detracts from an otherwise insightful dissection of sibling relationships. The house the children inherit is the most lovable of the characters. If you are a fan of Shriver's, give this book a chance. You will be rewarded with an almost Dickensian heartfelt American novel.
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
I loved we need to talk about Kevin which is why I choose this book by the same author - and perhaps It too is a great book, but the narratation is so monotonous that I couldn't even make it through the first half.<br/>No Character voices no pauses between conversations or even pauses between paragraphs.<br/>Do not waste your money<br/>
Would you ever listen to anything by Lionel Shriver again?
yes provided the narrator was different
What didn’t you like about Susan Ericksen’s performance?
No character voices very monotonous
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from A Perfectly Good Family?
couldn't Even finish the story unfortunately
this book is like one long whine!!! I just wanted to scream "Get A Life!". It was actually painful to hear and I would imagine just as painful to read. We read it for my book group and one other woman said no one should ever have to read this book. I think it holds the top spot as the all time WORST book I have ever read/listened to.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
I am a Lionel Shriver fan, and this book, while good enough, is not up to "We Need To Talk About Kevin". The story's premise is promising - three siblings attempting to dispose of the family estate, with none of them having enough funding to buy the others out. However I missed the added layer of computers, internet, email, cell phones and texting, that books written before 1994, or "B.C.", i.e. "Before Personal Computers" conspicuously lack. There is the usual variety of distorted personalities, most of them interesting, compelling and amusing, with plenty of quirks and glitches, but the narrative style seems artificially antiquated, and this book feels much older than it is. I kept imagining a "Gone With The Wind" setting, rather than North Carolina circa 1993. Still, it's a good story, and the author's facility with dimensional characterization is evident. I did think she could have done more with the protagonist, however, IMO the only really likable individual in the story.
My low rating of 2 stars is mainly for the narration, which I thought was overly dramatic and shrill. And...I have never ever heard "potatoes" pronounced "po-tah-toes". The pronunciation made me laugh out loud! Narration should err on the side of the majority of listeners, and I would guess there are very few out there who pronounce the typical tuber with a long "a".
On balance, it's a good listen, excellent picaresque entertainment, and I recommend it - even though it's not quite up to my personal standards.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful
I have read most of Lional Shriver's books and enjoyed them very much but this does not reach her usual standard. She does not have enough to say and it is padded with dull detail. The book is not helped by the narration of Susan Ericksen and her attempts to adopt an English accent, often mispronouncing words including her assumption that potato rhymes with the English pronounciation of tomato.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Lionel Shriver is fantastic. All her books are very different but never fail to deliver. Her story telling works for me and my to be engaged from page one.
If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?
I love Lionel Shriver. I love her sharp wit, her satirical approach to topical themes, her language and rich vocabulary, her sarcasm, her lack of fear and well, just about everything about her. I feared Kevin, felt smug about health and weight with Big Brother. I laughed at journos in The New Republic and felt a whole mixture of emotions at So Much For That. So this, my fifth Shriver, was a huge ask: a book about a sister and her two brothers fighting over their inheritance. The two brothers, one an alcoholic who left home at an early age, appears to attract disaster and has a string of ex-wives, and the other hard-working, caring, studious with a gentle perfect wife - were so appealing to me (I can't think why) that I suppose I was setting myself up for disappointment. The novel was quite simply boring. If had known these people in my real life, I'd have walked the other way when I spotted them at the mall.
How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?
I would have cut out about half of it.
How did the narrator detract from the book?
The narrator was one of the worst I have listened to. She sounded as if she were straining her voice. Perhaps the sentences were too long for her lung capacity, but it sounded as if she were running out of air quite often, which was an uncomfortable sensation for the listener. And finally, sorry - we British do not say potaaaato (rhyming with tomato) - ever. And persevere is not pronounced purr-sever.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
There were some aspects of the book I liked. The characters were well drawn. I do like the anti-heros she writes so well.
Any additional comments?
I will try another Lionel Shriver.but I'll stick to the newer titles. Perhaps her earlier books are not as sharp as her later ones.