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Publisher's Summary

Here is the heart-wrenching book that inspired the critically acclaimed movie. Cal and Beth Jarrett are ordinary people: a happy couple living with grocery bills, taxes, barbeque dinners, and orthodontist appointments for their two sons. But when a terrible accident takes the life of one son, their lives begin to fall apart. This is the story of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances - and the lengths they will go to put their lives together again.

©1976 Judith Guest (P)1985 Recorded Books, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall

A beautiful book

I saw the movie 'Ordinary People' and thought I'd like to listen to the book it is based on. This is a beautiful book - very moving and sensitive and also really interesting and character driven. Although it is set in the late 60's the book hasn't dated much at all, it still has a very contemporary feel. The narrator is excellent. A great listen!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Too slow.

Would you try another book from Judith Guest and/or Aviva Skell?

The book is very slow and the narration almost put me to sleep. The movie was much better. I expected more because the books are always supposed to be better than the movies. But not this one.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Better narration.

What didn’t you like about Aviva Skell’s performance?

Too monotone.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Not really

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Ordinary?

Would you listen to Ordinary People again? Why?

Yes like other reviews I did see the movie first. That said I was able to imagine what the author was writing about as I listened. Here the mother was a bit softer than in the movie. Yes they were having the same struggles of loosing a loved one. Some of the dialog was lifted pretty close to word for word.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Conrad. I related to him like me in a lot of ways. My growing up and struggling to relate to my mother was similar to his. Also him trying to come to terms with himself is no easy task.

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

This is the first listen. So cannot compare.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It kept my interest although no huge emotion overcame me.

Any additional comments?

If you have not seen the movie, this will be a slow listen/read. If after you do listen/read this book and you enjoyed, then I would really recommend the movie. If you have seen the movie first and wondering about this book, if you are a hard core fan then I would recommend it. If you are just a casual fan, you might not be so inclined to read this.

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Wow! The best book about grief and therapy -- ever.

Wow! The best book about grief and therapy -- ever. The movie was great too. Though the book holds more details.

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A man's voice would have been more effective.

Having seen the film many times and it being one of my favorites, it would've been very difficult for this book to have compared favorably. But it's interesting how much the film diverges from the text of the book and now the film has a great deal more depth to me than it did previously. The only thing that I find that is unfortunate is that the narrator in this audiobook is a woman rather than a man. As the protagonist of the story is obviously male, I can't help but feel that the story would have had more impact with a male narrator. Still, this is an interesting study in family dynamics to which many people will be able to sadly relate. Recommended, but not without reservations.

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ahhh

it was pretty boring nothing realy exciting at all happened. you expect something big then bang nothing.

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Buy the book.

Narration made it difficult to finish the audio book. Better off reading the book.

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Excellent!

Well written, well read and well visioned. Saw the movie and read the book. I loved both!

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Weird Ending

What disappointed you about Ordinary People?

It ended like a bad movie that ends all of a sudden. A couple of hours into it I lost interest and purchased a new book. I only went back to it because I was out of audiobooks and a it was the only one I had.

Has Ordinary People turned you off from other books in this genre?

It did not have anything too exciting about. Just like the title, it was just plain and ordinary.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Narration was OK.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It was just OK. Not the type of book that I would be interested in listening to again.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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good story, narrator could have been better

I enjoyed the story. But I had a hard time, sometimes, figuring out who was speaking. The narrator made little to no effort to create individual voices for the characters, so sometimes when there were conversations between the characters, it was difficult to follow who was saying what.
The characters were honest and interesting, and I really felt for Conrad, the central character of the story.
Despite the narrator, I enjoyed listening to this book -- I couldn't wait to hear how everything turned out.

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  • Mr. Acapella
  • 09-29-14

Superb study of manners

Its impossible not to compare books with their film counterparts. This is a case in point. They are both excellent and the film is very faithful to the book. There are small differences in order of events and their portrayal. But if you liked the film you should appreciate the book too. Good reading but sometimes a little annoying in the knowing way she speaks of teenage life.