Thanks for joining me for our first installation of the “Audio Audit.” It’s a review of books in their audio form… but you’re very intelligent… I’m sure you were putting that together already. 🙂 About a year ago I became addicted to audio books… aside from working at Nantucket Bookworks, I like to fancy myself an artist and I definitely do a great job of busying myself with art projects and not leave myself much time for reading. So to keep myself in the loop with the written word, I listen to audio books. When I’m painting, sewing, going for a run, walking to work, making dinner… basically, whenever I want thanks to my trusty iPod. Sooo…
This book is back in the spotlight with the release of it’s movie version on January 15th. I’d heard mixed reviews about the book… people loved it or hated it. Well we had the audio book, so I gave it a go.
Alice Sebold, the author, reads it and as a little bonus gives an interview. Sebold remembers, growing up in the 70s and hearing about young girls going missing… all with mousy brown hair and blue eyes. She’d ask her mother who these girls were… what happened to them? She explains that this book is her way of telling their story, collectively. I was sold.
The story is captivating. It hits the ground running and keeps up a steady pace. The narrator is dead when the story starts and watches as her brutal murder tears her family apart. The mother’s role in the family’s weathering is an aspect I found refreshing… a mother that puts herself before her family in the 70s.
The concept. Loved it! I’ve always been into afterlife, out of body experiences, spirits and ghosts. I’m not a religious person but the heaven that Suzie, the main character, lives in is so beautifully created, I found myself really getting into it. The fact that it’s different for everyone, is filled with each spirit’s individual desires, even smells, is a great place to settle my lost loved ones.
The few things I didn’t love were…
The author’s voice. She’s pretty monotone, which doesn’t lend itself well to audio books so much. It was a give and take… loved the interview… liked sort of getting to know the author… wished for more inflection.
The crazy out of body experience. I don’t want to give anything away, so I won’t throw out details. But, for those of you who have read it you know what I’m talking about. The book was great, the “heaven,” the family struggling after losing a child, the skeevyness of the murderer… all copacetic. The Ruth/Suzie flipflop blindsided me.
The intervention at the end. The timing seemed a little strange to me. That’s all I’m saying.
Overall I give it a C+.
(since this is the first review, I feel I should explain my rules. I’m judging on overall story, narrator(s), and how captivated I seem to. i.e. if I find myself staring off into space, doing nothing but focusing intently on the words that are coming out of my computer, then I’d call that a good audio book.)
Other books of a similar vein…
The Remember Me series by Christopher Pike.
Hotel World by Ali Smith. Loved this book! Jeanne recommended it to me and I absolutely fell head over heels for Ali Smith. Her writing isn’t for everyone. Wendy and Cristina didn’t dig her… but come to the store, read a few pages and see what you think.