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The 14-year-old narrator of In Zanesville is a late bloomer; a sidekick, a marching band dropout, a disastrous babysitter, the kind of girl whose Eureka moment is the discovery that "fudge" can't be said with an English accent. Luckily, she has a best friend with whom she shares the everyday adventures of a 1970s American girlhood. In time, their friendship is tested - by their families' claims on them, by a clique of popular girls who stumble upon them, and by the first, startling, subversive intimations of womanhood.
With dry wit and piercing observation, Jo Ann Beard shows us that in the seemingly quiet streets of America's innumerable Zanesvilles is a world of wonders, and that within the souls of the overlooked often burns something radiant.
The reader spoiled this book for me. I love to hear the books read aloud by great readers; this woman is not one. It sounds as though she didn't read the book before recording it. She puts the emphasis on the wrong word in sentences and never gets a rhythm going. The 'voice' she adopts for the narrator sounds neither like a 14 year old girl nor like an adult remembering what it was like to be 14. I will pick up the book and read it to myself, I guess. Sorry to be so negative, but other buyers should be forewarned.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
I really enjoyed the story; made me a bit nostalgic for my childhood girlfriends. But the narrator was not appropriate for this story. She sounded like Betty White reading a children's book. I got used to the voice and was able to finish the book but a different narrator would have made this a really memorable listen.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Loved this book! The reader was fine, the story was superlative. It was like time travel. The writing is crisp, observant, wry, and spot on. It made me miss my best friend relationships of early adolescents and made my heart ache for what is ahead for my daughter. This book deserves awards, awards, awards.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Beard's own coming of age story, poignant, funny, honest, and engaging. One of the best I've ever read.
What did you like best about In Zanesville? What did you like least?
As a pre-teen/teen in the mid to late '70's, I identified with much of the lead character's experiences. However, the narrator spoiled the book for me. She took breaths in the middle of sentences and phrases, sounded like an elderly woman who has had one too many cigarettes (not at all like the teen girl telling the story) - I was very surprised at the choice of narrator for this book. I have younger friends who really enjoyed reading this book (not listening to the audiobook). I wish I had read the book instead of getting the audible version.
What other book might you compare In Zanesville to and why?
Any coming-of age story would be similar to this one. There were no new ideas or takes on lifestories, but I didn't mind that.
Would you be willing to try another one of Jo Anna Perrin’s performances?
If this book were a movie would you go see it?
Any additional comments?
Does anyone at Audible listen to the narrators? I can't believe that this one slipped through. Usually I enjoy the narration. And, in the rare cases where I don't, I can at least listen to the book without the narration ruining it for me. In this case, the narrator irritated me so much that it took about 2 months for me to get through the book. I only listened to the whole thing because other friends had such positive things to say about the story.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes. The nostalgic quality brought me back to my own teen years.
Who was your favorite character and why?
The wise beyond her years un-named narrator.
Any additional comments?
I really enjoyed this book although I think the author should have actually stated this was a look-back at childhood, as the ruminations of the book's main character- supposedly 14 years old- are too articulate and wise beyond her years. I enjoyed the fact that the audiobook's actual narrator, Joanna Perrin, had a more womanly voice for the narration. I think it was a way of giving us a