LISTENER

Em&Me

  • 21
  • reviews
  • 14
  • helpful votes
  • 90
  • ratings

Thrilling me softly.

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

Reviewed: 15-02-20

This book is so well written, the story draws you in as the layers of the mystery are slowly peeled away. The main characters are drawn so that they are flawed but likeable and easy to empathise with them.

Aoife McMahon’s gentle narration is subtle and easy to listen to, this understatement emphasises the occasional brutality of the story.

I don’t always enjoy Jo Spain books but when her novels are good they are outstanding, this is definitely one of the outstanding ones.

2 people found this helpful

An incredible story poorly told.

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

Reviewed: 15-02-20

I’m going to start by saying that this book is a very well researched, thoughtful and nuanced retelling of a fascinating true story.

The problems for me are twofold; Ryan Holiday (the author) narrates this book. As skilled as Holiday is as a writer his speech on this title is monotone, pauses in odd places and sounds robotic, so much so that I would have sent this back unfinished if it weren’t for the fact that the story itself is relevant and engaging.

My second frustration with this listen is that Holiday makes dozens and dozens of references to other situations, politicians, writers and historical events. Among many others the references are as diverse as the writing of Sun Tzu, many former presidents, military strategy of WW2 and so many more. Whilst I do understand the importance of ensuring that a true story is both relevant and placed within a historical context there are so many references here that they become an unwelcome distraction, as a reader it felt that I was being patronised too - that Holiday assumes the reader/listener wouldn’t be able to form connections, inferences and conclusions independently. Much of it was unnecessary padding.

This is a shame, after listening to this I have every admiration for Holiday as a writer. This is not a project that I could have researched and written about, Holiday has my full admiration for his attention to detail. I do think that Holiday should have written with the confidence to write the story, which he does very well without the need to continually qualify his assertions.

These criticisms notwithstanding this is a parable for our times. Undoubtedly it raises many questions about free speech in the internet age, personal privacy and the power of wealthy individuals to manipulate the law and wider society. To some extent this story is still unfolding, it would be useful to revisit the effects of the events in this book a decade from now.

It is worth sticking with this.

1 person found this helpful

Excellent start, then takes a swerve.

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

Reviewed: 08-02-20

Before I bought this title I read the reviews and it seems to be divisive; in general people love it or hate it whereas I didn’t feel strongly either way.

The story starts well, the first half of the novel is pacey, the protagonists and their lives are well described and there is the right balance of information and action to engage the listener.

Then halfway through the book takes a sudden swerve. I appreciate a good plot twist but this is just odd. From there onwards the story takes lots of twists and turns, the story telling stays strong, which holds everything together and it stays listenable. In contrast to the first half of novel which was well planned and considered its as though the author had loads of ideas and just threw them out. Yes, a good plot twist can really make a story unforgettable but this had so many that it seemed unnecessary and overdone.

Still, it is worth listening to and could have been an unforgettable novel if the second half of the story had maintained the pace and plot development of the first half.

A good account of a person scammed.

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

Reviewed: 08-02-20

This book is easy to listen to, even though the subject matter is difficult. It presents a full account from the point of view of a woman scammed and the effect this had on Rachel DeLoache Williams.

The blurb says that this is ‘A true story of a fake heiress who conned me and half of New York City’ but there is very little information about the nature or the other victims of the scams perpetrated by Anna Delvey. The result is that the strap line is misleading.

However, this is still a well written account of the events around DeLoache Williams’s scam. It relies on facts and recollections, these are thorough and well documented. It is more memoir than piece of investigative journalism.

As a listener some questions remained unanswered for example; having been taken for so much money originally why keep agreeing to lend Anna Delvey more? Why didn’t alarm bells start ringing sooner?

Some insights into how other people can avoid being put in a similar situation and what to do if they are - or suspect someone they know is would have made this more accessible and easy to relate to.

3 people found this helpful

A light and satisfying listen.

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

Reviewed: 07-02-20

An excellent listen.

This isn’t a book of staggering literary importance but to be fair it doesn’t claim to be or try to be. That said the story is engaging and interesting, it does deal with some serious themes and this is done with wit, sensitivity and steel.

It is a very well written, the story drew me in, the characters were well written in a way that doesn’t patronise the listener. Recommended.

Like Eastenders the movie.

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

Reviewed: 07-02-20

This book is utter twaddle and nonsense, but like all the best trash I was compelled to listen to the end.

When it was playing in the background I was decorating and it made for decent background noise. So many events happened but often they weren’t developed, it was a series of ideas and plenty of action without examining the motivations of the characters or how they might feel. As none of the perspectives were fully developed I didn’t form any attachment to the characters so I wasn’t rooting for any of them. This book alone could have been a series of books written in greater detail to draw the listener in.

I can’t possibly leave a review of this book without mentioning the cliches, so many of the characters were poorly drawn stereotypes. Again, if I had been given a greater insight I might have been more invested in the events.

On the whole the narrator was good, she did struggle with some of the accents but she made the book listenable.

I’ve given this book 3 stars because it’s certainly easy enough to listen to, it didn’t challenge me and the story was interesting, it had the potential to be a 5 star listen.

A good premise poorly executed.

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

Reviewed: 23-01-20

This has the potential to be a great listen but it didn’t grab me.
I’m an hour from the end waiting to feel sympathy for the main character.

The humour just isn’t funny, it’s dull.

The plot is fine and has real potential but it relies on the main character and the storylines are left undeveloped in favour of trying to write ‘gags’ that don’t hit the mark.

I’d really thought that this would be just my kind of book and I’m still waiting to see whether there is a moment at the end where everything is drawn together well but I’m not optimistic about it.

Kept willing this to be so much better.

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

Reviewed: 10-12-19

Essentially the story is ok but it isn’t well written.
As an example; each chapter ends with a series of questions as though the book was written to be serialised. This is annoying. These questions both patronise the reader, they tell the reader what they should be thinking, rather than allowing them to ask their own questions and draw their own conclusions and the questions asked do not serve as an interesting cliffhanger because they are not necessarily answered in the following chapter.

The bones of a good read are all here but this needs editing, fleshing out in places and editing in others.

To add to this the narrator is drippy and frustrating. As a reader/listener I want to hear stories from strong female characters. I couldn’t imagine why someone as wilfully inept and unobservant as the female lead in this story would have been promoted.

1 person found this helpful

Drags on and on.

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

Reviewed: 10-11-19

On the strength of another Jo Spain audiobook, which was very good, I chose Dirty Little Secrets.

So far I’m 4 hours in and the pace is so slow and dull. None of the characters are engaging or interesting, I’m waiting for an event or a revelation but no, they just continue to be uninteresting.

I don’t understand how the two titles can be written by the same author! I’m going to give it up now and send it back to replace it with a different Jo Spain title.

A thriller alright.

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

Reviewed: 04-11-19

Very well written story, clever engrossing and interesting.

I’ve listened to plenty of Audible books now, it’s rare to find a thriller that really is thrilling and not immediately predictable. This was one of the few, I couldn’t stop finding excuses and jobs to do so that I could listen to more.