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Robert

Somewhere
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Compelling And Disturbing

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

Reviewed: 22-08-17

At times this was a compelling but very disturbing listen, which tells the story of teenager, Frank Cauldhame, who lives with his father on a small, remote Scottish island. Told in the first person, Frank reflects on his childhood and gives us access to his daily life and the bizarre and macabre things he gets up to. At times it is quite creepy, but there is some dark humour throughout, especially when he converses with his mentally insane brother, Eric, and his father.

Iain Banks paints wonderful imagery with his prose, when describing the isolation of the island and its surroundings, and the nearby town that Frank sometimes visits to socialise and go shopping. There is an air of suspense throughout which leads to a dramatic twist at the end.

Excellent narration from Peter Kenny really brings this audio book to life. Recommended.

The Ripple Effect Of Obesity

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

Reviewed: 17-07-17

This turned out to be a very worthwhile and enjoyable listen that tackles the themes of obesity and its effects on those around you, and crash diets and whether they are the answer to losing weight in the long term. When Edison comes to stay with his sister Pandora, her husband and her stepchildren, after some time apart, she gets a real shock at how much weight he has gained. Now morbidly obese, Pandora and her family all react in different ways to Edison’s plight, ranging from revulsion to acceptance. Pandora really wants to help her brother, so much so, that she is prepared to put her marriage on the line for him, which in itself seemed to be a bit inconceivable but also selfless.

It would appear that Edison is not the only one who has a dysfunctional relationship with food. Pandora, herself has gained some weight over the years, and her husband, Fletcher is obsessed with healthy food choices and cycling for miles. This contrast leads to many clashes between Edison and Fletcher, which often leaves Pandora stuck in the middle.

For me, I found the first hour and a half difficult to follow, and was struggling to engage with the author and her “wordy” approach to prose. But once the main character of Edison made his entrance, it quickly got better and eventually had me fully absorbed and moved. Even though nearly all of the characters were unlikeable to some degree (with the exception of Cody), they were nonetheless very believable and real.

I did not see the twist at the end coming, and was not sure whether this was a satisfying finale. Nonetheless, I would still recommend this work, and the narration was spot on.

Not all devoted to Adrian Mole!

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

Reviewed: 04-01-17

Having enjoyed the first two installments of Adrian Mole, this, the third in the series left me disappointed as it is not entirely devoted to the main character. Half the audiobook is, but the last two hours comprise of Sue Townsend's own diary, plus some ramblings from a certain young Margeret Hilda Roberts.

The Adrian Mole part sadly is too short and is not the usual daily diary entries that made the first two books so enjoyably funny. Instead, we are given snapshots into the main events of Adrian's life over a five year period. Though, still hilarious, I felt it would have been a lot better if we did not miss out on large chunks of Adrian's latter teenage years.

The non-Adrian Mole material, though not that bad once you start listening to it, does not sit well here. I am at loss as to why the author chose to include it here! The Sue Townsend piece was quite engaging, and the young Margeret Thatcher parody had some priceless moments, but really both should have been published elsewhere.

Still, the performances from all three narrators were commendable, and helped to make the best of the material here.

Realistic, Powerful and Essential Listening!

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

Reviewed: 01-12-16

This is the second audiobook I have listened to by David Nicholls (“Us” being the other), and I have to admit he is fast becoming one of my favourite authors.

“One Day” centres upon the characters of two friends, Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew over a 20 year period. Each chapter focuses on the events of the 15th July (St Swithun’s Day as it is referred to) over each consecutive year. This kind of approach allows us to catch up with Emma and Dexter and view how their lives have progressed over the last year. Sometimes, they are together meeting up on this day, or they are with other people, but when they are not together they would often be in each others’ thoughts.

Nicholls’ writing is superb throughout, so much so, that you are literally sucked into Emma and Dexter’s world. He really allows you to get close, and to really care about them and share their happiness and disappointment. I found myself laughing out loud at some of Emma and Dexter’s one liners and general interaction with one another, but there are moments of sadness and loneliness too, which will touch you on a personal emotional level. It will remind you of how precious life truly is, how you should cherish every moment, and how you should live in the now because you never know what tomorrow will bring.

Narration by Anna Bentinck again was brilliant. The voices she provided for the characters were excellent and she really added something extra special throughout. This is a story that will stay with you for some time after you have finished listening, so much so that you may want to listen to it again straight away.

I cannot recommend this realistic and powerful work enough!

Interesting And Informative

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

Reviewed: 31-10-16

This is definitely one of the better listens/reads out there on quitting drinking alcohol.

Kevin narrates this himself and shares his own experiences and wealth of knowledge on quitting the booze. I personally found the final third of this audiobook the most compelling and inspiring, where he covers the kind of issues you encounter after stopping, such as breaking and building new habits, and how self-belief, a good diet and exercise can help pull you through.

There are plenty of other excellent nuggets of advice and information throughout, and overall I found this to be a really interesting and informative listen. It is certainly making me think about my future alcohol consumption.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Slow Burner But Worthwhile!!

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

Reviewed: 11-08-16

This is another perfect audiobook for holiday listening by Veronica Henry, and is as good as "The Long Weekend" (which I previously listened to), albeit somewhat different in its approach.

Set in the coastal town of Everdene, we are introduced to a series of characters that all in some way have a connection with one of the many beach huts - some owners and some hiring them for a short stay. The main focus is on the Milton family and Jane Milton, and explores their relationships which normally ends up leading to a fair amount of tense situations. There are also many other secondary characters and stories that appear to be self-contained initially, but eventually intertwine with other characters and their stories. This is performed seamlessly by the author.

For me, "The Beach Hut" was a slow burner of a story, that got better and more interesting the more I listened. Yet again, Henry's storytelling ability and imagery is first rate. She is excellent at engaging the reader/listener, and I found this a both easy and enjoyable listen.

Julia Franklin's narration was pleasant and apt throughout. Recommended!

Fantastic Storytelling!

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

Reviewed: 16-06-16

This is another really enjoyable story from Roald Dahl that I read when I was at school (many years ago), but have revisited now via an audio book.

Dahl is a master storyteller, and this is up there with his other classic children's titles. There are moments of great humour and excitement as Mr Fox does battle with the three mean farmers who are after him and his family.

Narration by Chris O'Dowd was also entertaining. Highly recommended for those young and those wishing to revisit their youth.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Imaginative, But Flawed!

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

Reviewed: 07-05-16

Set sometime in the distant future (A.F. 632 which may translate to around 2540 A.D. according to some calculations), in an advanced dystopian world; this was at times a fascinating but challenging listen. However, I could not help feeling somewhat disappointed by the end as I did not find it to be the classic that it was alleged to be.

Often compared to Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four", but very different in terms of the worlds both authors so carefully constructed, I found Huxley’s style of writing at times to be overly verbose and difficult to follow. It also made me wonder at times how far he was trying to exhibit his own philosophical beliefs at the expense of the plot and overall story.

I found nearly all the characters unlikeable. Naturally, the only ones I truly sympathised with were John and Linda. No doubt this was deliberate on Huxley's part, as to an outsider looking into this so called "civilised world" where people had been conditioned to show no real lasting unity to one another, you could only feel appalled at their self-centredness. John the Savage (as he was unfairly referred to), represented our world and programming, and his reaction to the likes of Lenina and some of the lower caste members and their behaviour was at times desperate, but understood.

When you take a step back and take it all in, the world Huxley created here is truly frightening, but nonetheless captivating.

Finally, I found Michael York's narration rather strange and somewhat irritating at times. Some of his choice of accents for the characters were quite bizarre and not well thought out (Bernard's and John's especially), and kind of took some of the gloss off of this work.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

Classic Dahl

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

Reviewed: 05-05-16

This was superb from start to finish. A classic story from Roald Dahl that was hilarious that I remember reading when I was a youngster.

Derek Jacobi's narration was nothing short of excellent. I especially liked the voice he used for Grandma. Highly recommended.

Fun and Enjoyable Listen!

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

Reviewed: 01-05-16

I remember reading this in primary school, and since I was (and still am) a fan of Roald Dahl's work, I thought I would re-live some of my childhood.

Very funny and enjoyable story that lasts just under an hour which I listened to whilst out for an evening walk. Definitely recommended for children of primary school age, and those that want to re-live a bit of nostalgia. Also, entertaining narration from Richard Ayoade.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful