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Publisher's Summary

Award-winning author Jane Hamilton touched readers' hearts with her emotionally-charged novel, A Map of the World. She intimately involves her readers, again, with The Book of Ruth, winner of the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Award.

Growing up in a world of physical and emotional poverty, Ruth believes her shrewish mother's assessment of her - that she is dimwitted and worthless. When she marries an emotionally unstable ne'er-do-well, her troubles only multiply. Her job at the dry cleaners can't afford her little family the luxury of moving out of her mother's house. As the incessant bickering between her troubled husband and her abusive mother reaches a violent climax, Ruth must find a way to survive. The Book of Ruth shines as a bittersweet testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

©1988 Jane Hamilton (P)1997 Recorded Books, LLC

What listeners say about The Book of Ruth

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    63
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Performance
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    10
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Story
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

It Enters Your Soul

I bought this book for two reasons. One, it was long and I had a lot of housework to do one weekend and enjoy the distraction of a good tale. and two, I liked the narrator's voice.

I found myself pulled into Ruth's world and that isn't necessarily a good thing. I had to stop listening a few times as I found myself slipping into her unhappiness.

This is a very poignant tale where the dynamics of family dysfunctional relationships are explored and often beaten down with a sledge hammer.

If you want something light and cheery, this isn't for you. If you think you can handle being introspective for the 13 hours it takes to listen, I would highly recommend it.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fabulous character study. 1 of my all time fav SAD

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, but not everyone. It's very intense, not at all a quick read of a pick-me-up.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Book of Ruth?

It is so obvious that Ruth is intelligent. I can't understand how some readers are confused by this. There are many instances that prove this: while she immersed herself in audiobook classics with her neighbor,how she made the spelling bee, to name a couple. Ruth has no resources to improve her life. This is mainly what I found so sad. The character study was amazing, so typical of Jane Hamilton.I wish they had A Map of the World on audio- another fantastic Hamilton read.Back to Ruth, she has Aunt Sid - and it is she who saves her. Another character I really like is Daisy (the lovable slut) although she is instrumental into introducing Ruth to the man who will be one of her downfalls. I like almost all the characters. They were so damaged. I can't tell you how many times I've listened to this book. I love it that much.

Have you listened to any of Angela Jayne Rogers’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

She was absolutely perfect for Ruth. I read the print version years ago. Angela Jayne Roger's brings Ruth to life. Her inflections are spot on and her naivete shows through perfectly.

Any additional comments?

I love this book so much!! Will listen to it many more times. I love Ruth!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful writing, narrated so well

This is a stunningly beautiful book dark, yet written and narrated so strongly it rises above the darkness. It’s slow, but almost every sentence is a winner. The narrator did an amazing job binging the characters to life.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

This Book Makes My Lifetime Top 10

I loved the printed book and loved the abridged audio book and was excited to see this book become available. But this version just wasn't as good as the others. The audio quality for parts of the book was poor. The narrator didn't seem to understand the story and I found myself correcting her diction as I listened. The story is amazing, haunting, memorable. Worth picking up if you like interesting characters. Chances are, you'll see someone you know in Ruby, Ruth or May. Ruth is a heroine worth rooting for. Jane Hamilton's ear for dialog is superb. This is an older title. Its worth a listen.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Very depressing, and much to slow for my liking

Victims are totally not my cup of tea. I was completely disappointed in this book. Knowing a little about this background, there were moments when I felt that she was smart and going to get out from behind the cloud that she was born under. It shed a completely deferent light on her when her brother’s letter was read, and she did not get it, instead she was angry with him, when she should have seen that he was her victim and the brunt of her anger, as she was her mother’s. Very disappointing, would not and have not recommended it.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One of my all-time favorite books 📚

I'm always awestruck by the story itself and its retelling. They want 15 words in a review, but this book never fails to leave me speechless.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

in-depth

loved the history being explained in-depth before the crux of the story came to fruition. The artist who verbalize the author thoughts and ideas of the main character was splendid.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An Incredibl Story

How Ruth survives a seemingly uncaring mother and a not very bright abusive husband is a story that keeps you listening and wondering how she survives. The narrator is fabulous

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Story of Survival

Although the protagonist is verbally beaten down by her mother and those around her, she never plays the victim. She and the other characters were wonderfully developed and the narration was great. I enjoyed listening to the story and was left wanting more at then end. It was touching how she began to become more confident, but like all of us still had her doubts.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Tragic story told in an entertaining style.

I read this book many years ago and have often thought about the author's still. I've read every Jane Hamilton book. Sadly, there aren't many. Book of Ruth is my favorite.