"Amazing, the pain that can be caused by wielding the sword of charm." Rachel idolizes Miri's charm, beauty and family that represents perfection in contrast to the chaos of her own life. She is often blind to Miri's manipulation of others for personal gain, not only in their early years of growing up together in a Denver Jewish Orthodox community, but also in their adult lives. Amid issues of cultural identity and an era of growing feminism, they struggle to sustain a complex, often competitive friendship throughout the challenges of marriage, careers, and family relationships. Miri's s daughter, Tamar, initially offers the friends a link that will strengthen their uneasy bond. However, when Tamar develops a passion for the dangerous sport of caving at a very early age, Rachel and Miri's friendship faces a test more severe than any the women have ever experienced. Reconciliation is not where you might expect. This spiritually beautiful novel explores the ramifications of life's choices.
How could the performance have been better?
This narration is almost killing the story for me. The narrator should be reading the story, not trying to act it out. Among her irritating habits are the following:
1. She unnaturally deepens her voice for all the male characters, which sounds ludicrous. Imagine if a male narrator read all female dialogue in a falsetto!
2. She gives all the older Jewish characters what sound like attempts at European accents, which is problematic for two reasons - (a) the text doesn't establish that all these characters are foreign born, and (b) the accent she affects sounds like no accent I have ever heard, and I have known and interacted with many Jews from Eastern and Northern Europe.
3. When (albeit rarely) Hebrew and Yiddish names and words occur in the text, her pronunciation is atrocious.
4. Worst of all is the simpering-sweet voice she gives to Miri. The text indicates that Miri has a manner that instantly charms and wins over nearly everyone who meets her, whether she is being sincere or not. The way the narrator makes Miri sound, I would expect everyone who hears her to cringe and try to avoid her as much as possible.
I had read many books by Joanne Greenberg in the past and enjoyed them for the author's use of language and sympathetic characterizations. It is likely if I was reading rather than listening, I would feel the same about this book. I'm forcing myself to plow ahead with the book (I'm over halfway through) because the story has captured me, and I am doing my best to imagine how it would sound in my mind's ear if I was reading it instead of listening to this narrator.
I have also listened to many other audiobooks as my "companions" on daily 3 mile walks. The narration in no other audiobook I have listened to has been anywhere near this dreadful. Not all readers have equally mellifluous voices, but I'd rather hear a monotone, even a robot reader, rather than suffer through this.
Please do a service to your authors and customers, and expect a higher standard from your readers.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of Miri, Who Charms to be better than the print version?
Definitely! After seeing the only written review, I was afraid to try listening. But I am very happy I ignored it and decided to purchase regardless of their viewpoint. This was a wonderful interpretation by the reader and based upon the others who have rated the audio, the other reviewer was not the norm.
What did you like best about this story?
The story really paints the beauty of Colorado. Loved the description of the cave and Denver/Boulder from an earlier generation. Friendship that survives over the years.
What does Diana Andrade bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
The narrator brought the characters to life and was able to take us through the years with her character changes. She had very believable emotion when the child was missing. (Trying not to spoil the story for others) I really loved the multiple voices she was able to do. I was never confused by who was speaking which has been the case in many of the audiobooks I have listened to. I never had to rewind to figure it out.