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The Coma Monologues  By  cover art

The Coma Monologues

By: Mario Milosevic
Narrated by: Michelle Babb
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Publisher's Summary

For Gary Hawken, life in a coma comes with few perks. Nurses care for him and people sit by his bed and tell him stories, but the glorious mess of life passes him by. In a world where survival depends on his ability to understand his stories, Gary must recognize the value of his own soul. A hypnotic tale of one man's struggle to find the truth in his own epic life.

©2011, 2014 Mario Milosevic (P)2015 Mario Milosevic

What listeners say about The Coma Monologues

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Whether To Wake Or Not To Wake

Where does The Coma Monologues rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Right up there! It was an amazing experience and I could not imagine experiencing this particular book in any other way... Unless it was watching it on a stage :)

Who was your favorite character and why?

The centaur because he was so far from the mythological being as to truly be comedic just for existing :)

What does Michelle Babb bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She brings loads of nuance and expression to the characters that I would totally miss. Her performance makes.the characters seem much more.alive than myself reading the book ever could!!

If you could take any character from The Coma Monologues out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Melody to ask.her how she could stay so positive and keep the faith for so long! I cannot fathom sacrificing so much and being so hopeful in such an arduous situation :)

Any additional comments?

This book is a loosely strewn together collection of essays on a common theme in chronological order. I believe if to be a stand alone novel.


What I find most intriguing about this book is that it could be easily acted out as a play with little effort. There wouldn't need to be any real conversion of the work. It also could be used as audition pieces as each essay is really only person giving a monologue as per the premise of the book.


Gary is in a coma. His wife desperately wants him to wake up and rejoin the land of the living. She devises a plan to get various people from his life.to come and talk to him. She hopes that he will hear something that will make him want to wake up. She also records the conversations for later playback to Gary in case repetition helps to hasten the process. Will her plan succeed? Can her hear them? Will he wake up? Does he want to? Or will he die without ever waking up again?


***This book is suitable for adult readers who enjoy hopeful and dramatic novels full of joy, disappointment, humor and angst tempered with grief and paranormal aspects :)




°°°The performance contained within this audio book was varied and engaging evoking both happiness and grief as well as humor and frustration alternately. I believe books like this lend them self easily to narration as they are basically written for the stage already :) I look forward to more! Both from the author and this incredibly talented narrator :) °°°

1 person found this helpful

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A Conceptually Interesting Listen

Any additional comments?

The Coma Monologues is an imaginative, conceptually interesting book surrounding the "life" of a comatose patient, Gary Hawkins.  Following a devastating accident that has left Gary in a coma, his wife, Melody,  arranges visits from anyone she can reach who may have known him or had an impact on his life at some time. He also receives visits from others, perhaps summoned deep from within his own subconscious mind. 

I vastly preferred the visits from tangible beings from Gary's life--his son, daughter, and wife in particular, but others, as well, even those who had already passed away. I enjoyed some of the visits from lesser friends, though not all. I didn't necessarily care for some of the other visitors: Scheherazade, God, the Centaur. Ironically, I far preferred Death's visit to the one of Mother Nature. While these were conjured from his own subconscious, their ramblings were sometimes dark or just annoying (God, in particular). There is a particularly unexpected and rather interesting monologue near the end of the book. 

Throughout the book there is a recurring Charlie Brown (Peanuts) theme. The "wah-wah" phrase used as speech for adults is referred to be nearly every visitor who comes to speak to Gary. Gary also had an imaginary friend in childhood named Charlie.

The narrator, Michelle Babb, does a great job of voicing the multitude of characters in this book. Some characters in particular (God) had to be very challenging. 

While I found the book to be conceptually interesting and innovative, as a whole, I found it to be very uneven. I enjoyed and was engaged by some chapters and others I wanted nothing more than for them to be over. 

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and was not required to write a positive review. The opinions stated are solely my own. 

 

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DNF Too many bombs

Narration was good quality and the idea of the book is interesting, but within the first minute there were several f-bombs. Did not finish due to excessive language.

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Solipsism

At times inventive, sometimes bizarre, this series of expositions by "voices" talking to a coma patient touch on themes of self, awareness, reality, and obligations to others. It is easily one of the most unique books out there.

The various monologues were a mixed bunch when it comes to being interesting, and I found my mind wandering through many (most?) of them. I still don't understand what function some of them serve in this story. Things got a little strange, and a bit depressing. Some people might find the monologues humorous, but this just wasn't my cup of tea. I especially felt that it was weird that the idea that the coma patient was being selfish got emphasized so much.

On the other hand, I loved that they all had wildly different perspectives and "things to say", with some presenting philosophical aspects that were rather intriguing. It was helped by the narrator, who gave the voices their own personalities. That said, the narration was uneven. Lots of pauses in the middle of a phrase and in general the phrasing seemed off, like they had to pause at the end of each line of the printed book to find where the next line began. I realize that for some of the monologues this was intentional (although I still didn't like it), but even the ones that were supposed to sound natural were stilted.

Ultimately, this is a book for those who seek something different, with a touch of philosophizing and a bit of what-if imagination regarding the mind when it wanders into the grey zone between life and death.

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Wonder what you would say to someone in a coma?

This is a collection of different stories, hopes and dreams shared to a man in a coma because his wife hopes it will awaken him. I enjoyed developing an idea of this person from what was shared with him, refreshing way to progress a story. Solid and enjoyable narration and I will keep in my downloaded re-listen rotation that I keep to fill a few minutes between books or on breaks.
I was looking for a book suggestion online and received a promo code to try this one, (under no obligation nor did I receive anything besides a free audible book), but I enjoyed it and wanted to share my review.

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Interesting story line

At first I was not sure about this book, but then I got hooked. There were some visits / chapters that I enjoyed much more than others. The question is" Will Gary wake up? You will have to read the book to hear the interesting ending.

Michelle Babb's is one of my favorite narrators. She makes the story interesting with the different character voices. I have enjoyed many books narrated by Michelle.

I was given a copy of this book at my request and have volunatrily left this review.

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What an interesting, quirky monologue collection!

Gary Hawken is a coma patient after being involved in a car accident. His wife, Melody, drums up many of his friends and acquaintances to talk to him, in an effort to get him to wake up again.

This book is the collection of those monologues. No other narrative - anything that happens in the room Gary is in is also referenced as part of the monologue by whoever is in the room.
That makes it a really interesting format and also creates that feeling of being a fly on the wall.
Michelle Babb, the narrator, takes it to another level. Her narration pulls the listener into the room, as if the friends and acquaintances are addressing you. As if you are Gary. Minus the coma. And it conjures a number of emotions, like that warm, fuzzy feeling of happy memories being shared, hoping that Gary actually gets to hear and remember, too. Or that despair and sadness of missing Gary, begging him to wake up. Sometimes one turning into the other.

people who, not sure if Gary can actually hear them, open up and show their vulnerability (Michelle did that especially beautifully with the kids).

All in all I really recommend this collection of short stories.

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Unique Talks to the Subconscious

I found this story to be quirky because of all the characters who come into talk to Gary while he is in a coma some are real and some not so much. This book definitely puts a new perspective on what can a person in a coma actually hear or dream about. Michelle Babb did and excellent job because that was a lot of voices. This book may be a little long but some of the monologues are funny, touching and absolutely ridiculous. I highly recommend this book. I received this book for free and this is my honest unbiased review.

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life review

A review of Gary's life (he's in a coma) as seen through the eyes of his visitors. Eye opening! I'm ambivalent as to whether I'd want to experience this if I were in Gary's place!! I felt a great deal of empathy for the truck driver. It moved me to tears. I voluntarily listened to a free copy of this and am giving an honest review. The narrator did a great job.

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Not my kind of story, but excellent reader.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I believe that time spent reading is never wasted, but finishing this book was something of a chore for me. Others may find it more satisfying than I did, but it just isn't the right kind of book for me.

Has The Coma Monologues turned you off from other books in this genre?

I'm not sure what genre this actually is, but I would not knowingly read another just like it. I need more of a feeling that the book has an actual story to tell and is moving in that direction. Maybe I missed a deeper plot somewhere but to me it was just a series of largely unrelated thoughts with no action to hold my interest.

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

Michelle Babb is an excellent reader as I have learned from listening to several books she has read, particularly the Fat Ladies series. I always enjoy hearing her read. She brings the characters to life, but even she couldn't make me like this book. I look forward to hearing other books read by her.

Do you think The Coma Monologues needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Not for me.

Any additional comments?

I was given this book by Michelle Babb in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

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  • Janalyn
  • 09-29-22

What in original way to tell a story!

Gary Hawkins was in a car accident. It happened while he was on his way to work he was watching a crow fly in the air. The accident put Gary in a coma and everyone from long lost high school friends to former students even the crow and the one true God makes an appearance. Those are just a few bales mini mini more like the guy who hit him some queen even visit him and I still have no clue why she’s in the book but having said that I’m sure there’s a reason and I just didn’t get it the point is all these voices are done by Michelle Babb and what a phenomenal job she’s done. It must’ve been so hard coming up with all those different voices but she did it OMG what a great job! I already loved Michelle Babb narating and I knew she was top shelf talent but she has blown me away. A truly great book with truly great narration! Please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.

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  • Tracy Tucker
  • 09-22-21

Interesting idea

Took a while for me to settle into the story, but I did find it quite interesting.

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  • John Marsden
  • 08-23-21

Excellent Listen.

I really enjoyed listening to this book, a bit dubious at first but I was drawn in and finished it in a couple of sittings. It's original and thought provoking and I'd highly recommend the book. Unlike some other reviewers i thought Michelle made an excellent job of the narration, yes, there were monotonous bit's but for me they fitted the character/subject who was speaking at the time. Definite 5 star listen.

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  • Julie
  • 06-10-20

Much ado about nothing

Sorry this was so not my cup of tea. Basically it is lots of short stories or a one sided conversation about life, which would have been okay but they didn't have any point to the stories and just felt like a way to vent. The characters were varied from old school friends, to teachers, to school girl crushes and family members but it was when it veered into the weird that it began to lose me and by weird I mean the house was talking to him, a dead twin and even a centaur. The book also contained swearing which I wasn't expecting. The idea was good, a man trapped in a coma and his wife arranges for people from his past to come and talk to him and I did like some of the stories but the story as a whole just didn't work for me.
The only reason I kept listening was because I enjoy the narrator's work.

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  • Norma Miles
  • 03-21-20

You must want to wake up.

Gary Hawkin has been in a coma ever since his car collided with a lorry. Since his doctor has suggested that, shou!d he fail to wake up within three to four months, he is u likely to ever return, his pregnant wife tries to bring him back with stories: old friends and aquaintances, family members and even mythological voices visiting him in hospital and talking. So we hear from Gary's wife and son, old school chums and his mother, but also a crow, a Centaur Death, the author, and even God, amongst others. Through their monologues the reader learns about their pasts and ideas, about Gary himself, and a more generalized philosophy on life itself. It is left to the reader to determine if these voices are, in fact, real or existing mainly in Gary's imagination.

The book is cleverly devised and the individual monologues are, mostly, fascinating, with the exception of that of God, which felt laboured and clumsy. Even the otherwise excellent narration by Michelle Babb, was, for this section, more mechanical and monotone, which was, almost certainly, deliberate but made that chapter difficult to engage with or enjoy. This book could easily benefit from a different reader to give a varied texture with each individual monologue although Ms.Babb is so versatile a voice actor that her performance was outstanding.I

The Coma Monologues is an unusually conceived way to not oily tell a story but to bring in various ideas about humanity, guilt, love and other various concepts without being preachy or overly contrrived. It is a very human story of life and love and the shadow of death. I was fortunate in being freely gifted with a complimentary copy, at my request, by the rights holder. Thank you. It is a book which will stay with me into the future and one I would recommend to other readers.

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  • hellkatjen
  • 05-08-18

Interestingly devised and brilliantly narrated

What a great book. I was drawn to it, having been fascinated by the idea of a series of monologues by people talking to a person in a coma. Loved ones and people from his past and present life, the characterisation by Michelle Babb was excellent: clear and well-paced.
But something happened and I got sidetracked, and put it down to concentrate on another detail of my life, and I didn't get round to starting it back up for about a year. I'm really glad I did. I picked up where I left off, but then I got so engrossed in all the different characters being presented to me, that I decided I needed to go back and listen to the previous characters (even though I knew who they were/what their aspect was) - and it kinda renewed it for me.
The range of characters is intriguing, and Mario Milosevic brings them to life and justifies their existence in a very creative way, he's used some interesting devices to create "characters" and the plot even took a very interesting turn that made me go wide-eyed at the same time as one of the characters (!) In places it made me ache for the sadness and the humanity of people with such dramas in their lives. It was fascinating. All the monologues, skilfully voiced by Michelle to make them all very different, including a truck driver, a crow, the house where the coma guy used to live, and even "the voice of the author" himself, are woven by Michelle Babb's narration into the fabric of the book, all desperate to bring the coma guy back to life, it draws you right along to the very last sentence. This is the first time I've listened to an audiobook that brought a tear to my eye. But you'll have to listen to it to find out why. Well worth it. Fantastic book. Incredibly thought-provoking and so very aware of the physicality of the human condition.

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  • Sara Niña
  • 03-29-16

This book is based on a truly insightful idea!

Where does The Coma Monologues rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This book is different in its own way, thus rendering it impossible to answer this question. So instead, I'd write of how different this story was. A story of a man trapped in a coma, who is spoken to by a selected bunch of people (by his own conjuring, and in some cases by his wife's design). The originality of the tale struck me, and I commend Mario on his intelligent way of developing a character. We even learn that the victim of the coma is murderer. This was most surprising.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Coma Monologues?

I adored the romantic sentimentality within the monologues, when we hear his wife, Melanie, as well as Mother Nature and Death.

Have you listened to any of Michelle Babb’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Not yet, but I do plan on it. More so, after hearing her with this. Her performance was impressive, I'd have rated it 5 were it not for the robotic voice attributed to some of the characters. Also, with all the different voices this was quite a feat. I commend her for that.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, but only because after hearing some of the characters I felt that it became a little dragging, and slightly repetitive with all the characters beginning their monologues in a similar way.

Any additional comments?

I felt compelled to write how this novel was absorbing, I kept thinking if that were me - in that state- what would I do? Who would I conjure up, who would be willing to speak to me? Or if I were Melanie, would I have her patience?

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  • K. J. Kelly
  • 02-29-16

Original story let down by terrible narrator

Where does The Coma Monologues rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Not a great audiobook, would have preferred to read this on paper.
It has a fantastic premise, it is well written and very distinct, but as an audiobook I'm afraid I wouldn't recommend it. The narrator is ABSOLUTELY ROBOTIC - she speaks sooooooooo slowly and sometimes without emotion. I had to listen on double speed to keep the flow going and my temper down.

What did you like best about this story?

The unusual changes in 'voice', from the coma patient's family, to his house, a crow, Death!

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Michelle Babb?

Almost anyone...
I would have preferred different actors for each chapter, suited to the gender/background of the character being portrayed.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Not especially, the different narrators/speakers each spoke in chapters so pausing between them felt like a good point for a pause.

Any additional comments?

I would read more by this author, I just had a very negative reaction to this narrator, a strange choice.
The book ends very nicely, I liked the build-up and a few surprise along the way.

With thanks to the author for the complimentary copy, provided for review purposes.