LISTENER

Trixie

  • 116
  • reviews
  • 180
  • helpful votes
  • 361
  • ratings

Thought it would never end

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

Reviewed: 30-12-19

I persevered with this book because the author was new to me and had been recommended by a friend.

The story is almost incoherent and totally unbelievable, badly written with clunky dialogue. Although the background is London during the war, from 1944, it hardly impinges on the narrative and the main character isn’t really inconvenienced by bombed streets etc.

Maybe it’s a story better suited to the page. The narrator did his best, without managing to do a convincing female voice, which was confusing at times.

I can only say, don’t waste a credit on this tedious and much too long book. I wish I’d had the sense to throw in the towel after the first few chapters but I’m an optimist at heart and kept thinking it was bound to improve. It didn’t.

Domestic tyranny in the Deep South

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

Reviewed: 16-12-19

I would give this book ten stars if I could. I saw the film some years ago but this audio version is far better and the narrators are superb.

The treatment of the “help” by young white women, who were too lazy to look after their own children or clean their houses in Jackson, Mississippi, is truly shocking. And it’s set in the early 60s - not so long ago - when black people in the South were starting to dare to hope for change.

The spiteful retribution meted out by white employers to any “maids” who showed signs of interest in the new Civil Rights movement were draconian. Telling their stories to a sympathetic young white female writer, albeit anonymously, showed enormous courage, knowing they and their families could lose their livelihoods. The build up to the book’s publication will have you on tenterhooks, such is the tension and fear of a visit from the KKK. Or, “just” a beating by local white menfolk to make sure they know who’s boss.

This story will make you laugh at times but mostly fill you with anguish that such injustice and prejudice flourished not that long ago in “the land of the free” as the US national anthem proclaims.


Very good narrator

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

Reviewed: 30-11-19

A real old fashioned family saga set in 1936 with an excellent narrator to bring it to life. Bit Swallows and Amazons but a soothing change from all the crime and legal thrillers I usually buy from Audible.

There are so many names and relationships to remember that I got slightly confused at times but it didn’t spoil the overall enjoyment!

Mediocre narration of uninteresting story

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

Reviewed: 26-11-19

I kept waiting for the story to get going but it meandered on with characters thrown in at random. The narrator made absolutely no effort to differentiate between them, nor even much difference for male and female voices.

I’d like to know who chooses the narrators for Audible books? Mostly, they’re very good but occasionally you get a real dud like this one. Doesn’t the author have a say? Surely the sound editor should flag up when the recording is as uninspiring as this?

Give this one a miss.

Very very S L O W

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

Reviewed: 02-11-19

This book was a bit of a chore to get through and I almost gave up half way through. I generally enjoy all Grisham’s stories so kept waiting for it to improve, but no,it rambled on and on with endless names and very little momentum.

The main character is rather dull and spends most of the story driving from one prison to another with court stops in between. Grisham should take a leaf out of Michael Connelly’s court room scenes which have drama and suspense rather than plodding procedure.

I won’t spoil the story by revealing the ending. I just gave a sigh of relief that it was over.

Dreary story not helped by bizarre narration

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

Reviewed: 02-10-19

Why on earth does a story set in 1947 Hambourg have a cast of characters speaking in English regional accents? How bizarre is that?

The storyline is flimsy but is decidedly not helped by the German characters speaking in Lancashire or any other type of accent the narrator thinks might be relevant. It completely destroys the atmosphere of the not very well translated story set in a German speaking post-war environment.

Nobody wants to hear fake German accents, and I’m not suggesting the narrator should have taken that route, but to choose such a range of English accents completely destroyed any atmosphere that might have been created by the living conditions in Hambourg that were intrinsic to this story.

What a missed opportunity to bring a German writer to the attention of an English audience. I was relieved to reach the end and won’t be buying anything else from this author.

Nearly Normal? More like totally dysfunctional!

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

Reviewed: 03-09-19

Stella is the daughter from Hell, with two useless parents. The father overcompensates with smothering love but few rules. The mother is distant and often absent. Yep, recipe for disaster. Read all about it!

It makes sense to have three narrators and the one for Stella did such a great job that I wanted to strangle her but merely fast-forwarded most of her chapters.

The Swedish legal system made for a puzzling courtroom section in the story. Do they really do things that way? Do they really prevent parents from visiting their child in custody? Why no jury and why are the judges from political parties? Give me the Old Bailey every time - wigs and gowns and all!

It had all the makings of a good story but somehow got muddled in the telling. I’ve enjoyed the Scandi-Noir series on BBC4 so maybe they’re better on the screen than in this format. Although it’s probably because I enjoy all those stylish Scandinavian interiors...

1 person found this helpful

Outstanding!

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

Reviewed: 22-08-19

This is easily a five star book and I know I’ll enjoy listening to it again in the future. It’s complex and at times a bit confusing due to so many names to remember and some characters have more than one name due to their undercover work in the Résistance. I found myself going back to some chapters to clarify what I thought I’d understood - this isn’t a background listening type of story.

Nearly 30 years ago I was studying at a French University which had been in the Occupied Zone during the war and researched a dissertation on the effect this had on the residents on a day to day basis. I interviewed those who had been in the Resistance and those who’d collaborated with the Vichy regime. Even 45 years later the town was still split between those two groups and the grandchildren of each group hated each other.

This story is very convincing in its description of the legacy left behind by the pitiless German Occupation of France. Some memories never fade, nor should they if we don’t want to repeat history.

The narrators are to be congratulated on bringing such a well written story to life - really excellent pace and enunciation from them all. I’m hoping to find other books by this remarkable author.

Spoilt by inadequate narrator

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

Reviewed: 15-08-19

Nothing like as good as the tv series but was made even worse by a very poor rushed and staccato narration. She mispronounced even the most common French words and place names and constantly hesitated between words and phrases. Who on earth chose this person for the job? Sian Thomas would have brought the story alive rather than make it drag on.

Pretty cringe-making but makes you realise what a great job was done by the scriptwriter of the tv series. Truly made a silk purse out of this sow’s ear. Don’t waste a credit on this howler.

Frustrating!

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

Reviewed: 11-07-19

I’ve read all of Kate Atkinson’s books and usually enjoy them but this one exasperated me. There are endless vignettes with little, if any, connection to each other. I found myself wanting to yell “get on with it” after a while. Yes, it does kind of come together eventually but it’s a long winding road as the Beatles said.

The narration is excellent, with an interesting variety of voices and accents that adds much to the overall plot. The story itself is also interesting but the structure is, in my opinion, a real turn off.

It’s worth a listen but don’t expect a linear story. Try not to grind your teeth as I did.