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Paula09

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Not unabridged?

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-12-18

I first bought the audiobook and then later the Kindle edition, which has exactly the same cover and exactly the same poems. However, the e-book has an additional 300 poems (350 in total). While the description of the audiobook does say it contains only 50 poems, the more prominent title section says it is unabridged. I had already listened to most of the audiobook before I wanted to check the precise wording of a poem in the e-book. It was only then that I realised 300 poems had not made it into the audio version. If they ever want to put out the audio version of all 350 poems, I will be first in line.

15 people found this helpful

Good commentary poorly delivered

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

Reviewed: 29-11-18

This is a very interesting and useful commentary, which makes the play much more accessible. Highly recommended for students. I will definitely buy more in this series. However, while the performance of the play itself is good, the reading by Joan Walker is poor by comparison. She delivers the commentary in an overly emotional and affected fashion, much more overwrought than the play itself. The mixing also leaves something to be desired - the commentary is often much louder than the play. This is not a major problem on speakers, but it is very annoying on earphones; I kept fiddling with the volume controls. It was particularly annoying when a somber, quiet moment in the play was followed by Ms Walker all but yelling in my ear, often Emphasising Every Second Word. The play with commentary is about 7 hours, and the commentary-free version (about 4 hours) follows from Chapter 26.

Enjoyable story but disappointing performance

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

Reviewed: 21-11-18

If you got this far in the series, you're probably already in love with McCall Smith's gentle stories of human interaction and frailties. I found the performance very disappointing, however, to the extent that I might give up on the rest of the series. On Audible.com, the wonderful Lisette Lecat (sp?) gives a fabulous interpretation, but her series is unfortunately not available here. By comparison, Adjoa Andoh's characters have high-pitched, squeaky voices and irritating vocal mannerisms. You can't ever take poor Charlie seriously with such a voice. Her performance lacks both regional inflection and musicality, and some pronunciations are plain wrong. I hope to find a way of accessing the Lecat series, maybe while travelling.

Worth persevering

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

Reviewed: 21-11-18

Despite being a serious Fry fan, I found it hard to get into this book. Some sections were overly sentimental and others overly detailed, even boring. I also found the reading speed too fast – at times, he sounded almost breathless. I have many Stephen Fry audiobooks, and can't recall him reading so rapidly in any of them. Nevertheless, I was very glad that I persevered. He initially came across as almost boastful about some rather ugly stuff, but maybe it was when he admitted to crying while writing that I finally understood. This is a book that will stay with me for a long time, but not one I will necessarily recommend to everyone.

Excellent readings; pity about the music

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

Reviewed: 21-11-18

Must concur with the other reviews. John Nettles is brilliant. If he ever reads another anthology, I will buy it like a shot. His voice is warm and expressive, and his interpretation mostly excellent. I saw him in a completely different light. I just can't get past the music, which is hideous, overly loud, way too long, and often completely wrong for the mood of the poem. Mercifully the music disappears in the middle, but it sadly comes back towards the end. I have never wished so much for the ability to edit an audio track. Not sure I will listen to the book again, unless it is to make my own table of contents so I can jump straight to the Nettles readings without having to endure the interludes. (Don't get me started on the lack of useful tables of contents on Audible.)

4 people found this helpful

Get the book instead...

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

Reviewed: 19-08-18

Interesting angle on a well-known series of events. Always difficult to reduce a complex situation into a simple story, but while annoying, this is not a fatal flaw. I enjoyed the book, had to grab the tissues, and recommended it to others. Much better than the film. The truly annoying part was the narration, with an ill-considered attempt to give every person a different voice in a fake South African accent. It was passable at first but eventually the accents just became caricatures, which made me wince. And I lost it when he repeatedly called Tokyo Sexwale “sex-wale” (“se-kwa-le” would be closer). If you’re going to narrate a book, at least google the pronunciations of key names?

Mixed bag

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

Reviewed: 03-02-18

Trevor Noah’s account of growing up under apartheid is eye-opening, even if you think you know the background. The bits I didn’t like? His performance, actually. Despite his well-known ability to do accents (and those sections are good), the rest of the reading often sounds like he is, well, reading. You wrote this; try talking to me, not reading at me... I was also disappointed that very little was said about how he became a comedian. He makes such deep points about how hard it is for people to escape. I would have loved to hear more of his own story. Maybe that will be a second book?

Great resource

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

Reviewed: 03-02-18

Loved this book. I know about the replication issues, but I found the book useful and very informative, and have already started discussing it with professionals in the field. It isn’t all about his own work; I particularly enjoyed the historical background and the range of other people’s studies referenced, and the way he integrated all of these into a coherent story. I look forward to trying some of his ideas in practice. I didn’t enjoy the narration quite as much, possibly because the voice sounded too young/lacked gravitas.

4 people found this helpful

Take care if you’ve been there...

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-02-18

Understand many found this book hilarious, but if you have any experience of this type of dysfunction, it may be a harrowing listen. I tried listening at 2x speed, to get to the “good” bits of the book, but that didn’t work for long either. While listening, I checked the Amazon reviews, and saw someone wrote about feeling like their skin has been flayed off. Yup. I also had the nagging sense of psych dysfunction being served up for laughs, but since I didn’t reach the end of the book, that may well be unfair.

1 person found this helpful