In this tautly woven tour de force, the paths of four very different women intersect, briefly but significantly, in ways that will change each of them forever. MacKenzie Bezos’s Traps is a propulsive exploration of the snares we build for ourselves, and of how life’s trials and reversals can lead to startling freedoms.
Dana is a beautiful young security guard trained in special ops can disarm a bomb or suture a wound but is terrified of committing to the man she loves. Lynn is a fiercely independent older woman living alone in Nevada and running a ranch for rescued dogs. Jessica is a reclusive movie star and mother of two whose father keeps selling her out to the paparazzi. Vivian is a 17-year-old prostitute who will do anything to protect her twin babies. Bezos brings deep intelligence and rich texture to her portraits of four women whose fates, though only tangentially connected, are linked in miraculous ways.
With infallible comic timing and enormous emotional generosity, Bezos mines the interior lives of her heroines: their fears, their longings, and above all the remarkable reservoirs of inner strength they bring to their struggles. Instantly engrossing, powerfully moving, and impossible to stop listening to, Bezos’s pause-resisting novel reminds us that sometimes our greatest gifts may come to us disguised as our greatest obstacles.
MacKenzie Bezos has written a very compelling story of four women, each of whom is struggling with something painful in her life--bad relationship with a father, loss of a daughter, loss of innocence, and letting go of defenses that keeps her from closeness with others. Dana, Jessica, Lynn and Vivian are beautifully portrayed with a sensitive hand by the author, as their lives intersect in sometimes surprising ways, while they are being transformed through facing their fears.
I found myself unable to turn this off and go to sleep--so engaging was it. I rarely listen to a book straight through, but I didn't turn this off till the wee hours of the morning. It felt to me that to have turned it off for a while would have been like a surgical cut in the middle of it--[I felt] it was meant to be heard as a whole--just as the lives of these women had to keep moving toward each other as they did in order to face their fears and be transformed in their encounters. There seemed an internal unity to the story--and I just could never find a place that I could stop listening--as though it might have broken that unity.
I feel that the author has good insight into the internal struggles of women, and can sensitively describe those feelings and needs--partly by leading the reader into their inner minds, and partly by designing situations that reveal what they have been dealing with. Her descriptions are given with a very creative view toward painting a picture of each woman's life that fleshes out what they are facing.
Dina Pearlman does a wonderful job with many different voices--making each one distinct so that it was easy to distinguish which character was speaking.
I will be recommending this book to all my friends. I think it would be good if read, but I believe it is great to have listened to it. Brought it all so much more alive for me--as the women (and people around them) all were clearly distinct, thanks to the narrator.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
What would have made Traps better?
I wish I had more insight into the characters. The story is told as if you are watching it. You have no idea what events led up to the behavior of the characters. you get lost in the mundane details.
Would you ever listen to anything by MacKenzie Bezos again?
This is her first novel. Everyone deserves a second chance.
Have you listened to any of Dina Pearlman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I thought Dina Pearlman's narration was the one redeeming quality of the book. She has great voice talent and I enjoy her different character voices.
What character would you cut from Traps?
I would not cut ant of the characters. I just wanted more insight to the characters.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Too much obsessively observed detailed descriptions that do nothing to further the narrative. The plot is quite well driven and stays interesting in spite of all the tiny (pointless?) details.
this is a really wonderful book with strong female characters. four, each with their own personal "traps" -- things that have held them back from truly living for a long time...each with hopes that things will get better.
over four days, we learn, briefly, their lives...and see them all heading down a path where they will all intertwine.
the story is a good one. i especially liked Vivian and Lynn...the story was a quieter, deeper one...but of course all four women had their pieces that fit into the well written narrative.
the only reason i don't give this 5 stars (i pondered over the rating for a while) is that i think that each story could have been developed a little bit better. perhaps a slightly longer novel would have brought the women from stories on a page to real and exciting characters. i felt, a bit, that the story was rushed....and tidied up a bit too quickly at the end.
that being said, this story was written beautifully and read beautifully...each woman's reflections were powerful and resonated with me...i really liked it.
This is an interesting story and held my interest, throughout. I am not always pleased when if I feel there are too many characters to keep track of. But, in this case, each character fell right into place. It is a book worth spending time, enjoying.
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
It reminds me of a summer book, as it really meanders to its destination.
What was most disappointing about MacKenzie Bezos’s story?
The pace was a little slow.
Which character – as performed by Dina Pearlman – was your favorite?
All of them, she really helped make the story!!
Do you think Traps needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
No, not if it's at the same pace.
Any additional comments?
Worth the money if it's offered on sale.