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Publisher's Summary

Jules, her sister Joanne, and her brother Andrew all grew up in the same household - but their experiences growing up have made them all very different people. Now, as adults with children of their own, they are all faced with the question of what to do to help their parents, who insist on maintaining the upscale lifestyle they're accustomed to despite their mounting debts.

A deft exploration of the ever-shifting covenants between parents and children, Things Unsaid is a ferocious tale of family love, dysfunction, and sense of duty over 40 years. Told from each family member's point of view, the complexity of the bond between parents and children evokes highly charged emotions with little space for the characters to breathe. Things Unsaid is a mesmerizing tale of how difficult it is to escape parental bonds and the devastating toll that previous generations can have on their children. Are children obligated to their parents at all costs? There are no heroes or enemies, just a portrait of an American family.

©2015 Diana Y. Paul (P)2017 Diana Y. Paul

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jan M
  • Southwest
  • 03-26-17

Things unsaid...and said

As a babyboomer I thought this book was very thought provoking. One must support and accept the needs of family they were born into and with the family created, sometimes having to make tough decisions. I found the author was meticulous in the details, and well developed the characters, making them flawed. At times I found parts of the book depressing with the realistic issues (living beyond their means, and aging parents with health issues). This book is a heart wrenching dilemma of love, duty, and sacrifices. The narrator did a great performance with various characters. I was voluntarily provided with this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, narrator, and/or publisher.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Wonderful Book!!

As a current caregiver for my elderly mom with beginning stages of Alzheimer's and an older sibling that isn't always dependable, this book really hit home for me. I could relate to Jules Foster in that she's the one that everyone depended on to take care of everything, but I would not have made some of the decisions that she made especially when it came to her own daughter. There were a few characters that were not likable to me, especially the narcissistic mother, Aida, but I thought Diane Paul did an excellent job of writing a book that deals with very important family issues. I hope that younger readers reading this book will think about having a discussion with their parents and siblings about what is to occur should the need arise for elder care. It is not always needed but it is best to discuss and have a plan, not only for their parents, but for themselves. I enjoyed the audio version of this book and do highly recommend it!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

A poetically dysfunctional tale

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

Yes. I already have.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Jules, by far was the more relatable of the characters, however each had an aspect to them that was relatively easy to relate to, wether by identifying personally or by drawing similarities to people known to you in life.

What about Sara K. Sheckells’s performance did you like?

At first her cadence seemed a little unnatural but as time went on things seemed to flow easier and become more fluent. Her narration was good and only improved.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

How to prosper while letting go.

Any additional comments?

This was a unique story in a number of ways. For one you have various POV's and it shines a new understanding on personal motivations and perspectives, that ultimately spawned from different forms of treatment to each from their parents. Second, the insight into how parental approval/treatment can shape each child so different from their siblings was a fascinating look at family dynamics. Third this is a story that highlights how finding yourself and making yourself a priority can war against other people or situations in your life, and how making the choice between them can be not just an uphill battle, but a way of letting go and moving forward. This story was poignant and rand of truth behind the elaborations that come with storytelling. I was able to draw similarities easily that have parallels to people I have known in my own life. There are absolutely moments that I was appalled and hated these characters, but it just reminded me that no one is actually good all the time, and people even likable or not make decisions and display actions that are not always motivated by good intentions. This books is a must read, and an interesting look at personal growth amidst family dysfunction. I received this audiobook from audiobook boom for free for my unbiased review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Things Unsaid

This was a really good book.I enjoyed listening to what all family members thought of what was happening in the family.Sara K. Sheckells narrates nicely.We are taken into a family where the older parents want to live as they always have, though they aren't paying for it.One sister is paying for everything.Mom is pitting one against the other.Family dynamics are a bitch.I was provided this book by the author, narrator or publisher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Daryl
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 06-12-17

Dysfunction!

Diana Y. Paul's "Things Unsaid" is not a book that will soon leave me, but I'm not sure if that's a good thing.
I'm always interested in books that portray family dysfunction, particularly the different relationships parents have with their children. But perhaps because I am younger than the adult children in this book, perhaps because I don't have kids of my own, I couldn't really relate to any of them.
In places my heart broke, in other places I wanted to shake the characters, in places I just didn't understand. Some flashbacks were relevant to the contemporary time and place portiosn of the book, giving nuance to interactions, while others just seemed to be thrown in.

I had a hard time with the narrator, who frequently paused in odd places, but who had a good grasp of dialogue and emotion.
Overall, I honestly don't know what I think of this book...
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Tolstoy was right!

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

Yes. As Tolstoy taught us “each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” And the dysfunctional Foster family is no exception. The potent mix of personalities in this award-winning novel includes Jules, a conscientious family problem solver, her narcissistic mother, secretive father, “pretty” if incompetent younger sister, and a brother who, for the most part, is disengaged from the family. It left me thankful for my own family, dysfunctional in another way. .

What was one of the most memorable moments of Things Unsaid?

When Jules belatedly recognizes her responsibility to her daughter, summons her courage, and reclaims her from those who would do the young girl harm.

What about Sara K. Sheckells’s performance did you like?

At the outset, Sara Sheckells’ reading seemed inordinately strident, but her voice is clear, and as the story moved along she found her groove, and I found mine.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Are you part of the problem? .

Any additional comments?

The underlying question in this engaging family drama asks what children owe aging parents and what parents have a right to expect. Told from multiple points of view, it depicts the unrealistic expectations of family members, opening with a scene wherein the parents have sideswiped a car and left the scene of the crime. Enter the problem solver, the daughter Jules, who other family members count on to get them out of tight fixes and to pay the bills. But by helping her parents and siblings, is she simply enabling bad behavior?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Things Unsaid

Any additional comments?

Throughout our lives family relationships are some of the most complex, intricate and fragile we ever have to navigate.

This is one of these stories that make you take a second look at your family and think hmm…maybe my family's not so bad after all.

I really struggled with this book especially in the beginning. It's not a story that pulled me in and kept my attention. I couldn't listen to it in one sitting, I had to listen a little at a time. Parts of the story were interesting and others were just dull. The story did start to pick up a bit a couple of hours in. Overall the story was interesting but in many ways I found it depressing. It's not a story I would listen to again.

Anyone who has taken care of an elderly relative has faced some of the issues in the story. I know I have. Until your in the situation you don't know exactly how you would handle it.

The story is told through multiple POV's of all the characters. So you get an inside look at what each character is thinking, their intentions and what they are going through. Even with that I could not really connect with most of the characters in the story. The only character I could really relate to was Mike. He had his priorities straight. I felt sorry for Zoe. I just wanted to smack some sense into everyone else. The parents in this story were over the top selfish, unlikable, narcissistic and manipulating. No matter what was done for them it was never good enough. The way the parents lived their lives and interacted with their children had a different and lasting effect on each of them. Unfortunately there are parents like this in the world.

Sara K .Sheckells did a good job with the narration. Pleasant voice. Easy on the ears. Clearly spoken with a smooth even pace. Good character voices. She does need to have a little more distinction between her male and female character voices. Although her narration was good it was a bit to soft/soothing for me. A bit more oomph in her narration would have been nice. At the same time I would definitely listen to her narrate other books in the future though.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator or publisher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Love or Duty is Blind

What made the experience of listening to Things Unsaid the most enjoyable?

I wouldn't use the word 'enjoyable', but mesmerizing. It screamed of real life circumstances, not mine thank God, of what is expected of the oldest child. Not expected really, but assumed by everyone.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Both Jules and Mike. The interactions between them. His understanding of the situation and her blind devotion to expectations of the parents.

What about Sara K. Sheckells’s performance did you like?

Great!! The Aida voice! Made me want to reach through the headphones and shake sense into this selfish woman!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The ending where Jules and Mike still loved each other but couldn't live together anymore.

Any additional comments?

“This audiobook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Boom.”

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

All about Family Dynamics

What did you like best about this story?

I thought this book was very well-written, with lots of details, authentic characters and a plot that I wanted to keep listening too. I liked that throughout the course of the book we heard viewpoints and history from nearly all the major characters. Relationships between family members were examined through many different lenses as everyone tried to figure out how to balance caring for aging adult parents and their own immediate families looks like.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The moment I liked the best was when Jules finally stepped up and decided to put her family, and especially her daughter, first. Lots of family dynamics across three generations were examined through the course of the book. I find it amazing how choices made by the early generations affect the lives of later generations, which is very evident in this book.

Any additional comments?

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amy
  • ELIZABETHTOWN, KY, United States
  • 04-19-17

Family in print

The ending didn't feel like an ending which initially felt like a betrayal. I mean, how does it just stop? Then, upon reflection, it felt logical as this was not a typical storyline (beginning, peak, ending). In this book, I simply shared a bit of time with family and their life continued as has mine. Very well done.

The goings on in this family are complete with familiar family dynamics and all the ups and downs and love and frustration that go along with it. Mom and Dad, the sister who needed constant support, the brother at arms length, and the lone soldier sister trying to hold it all together along with the impact on her own family...and everything in between.

Narration was well done and the storyline was well laid. I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Boom. This did not impact my review in any way.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful