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It’s been an interesting year for me and audiobooks. Typically, I have many audiobooks that I just love, but this year that hasn’t quite happened. Instead, I have lots of audiobooks that I really liked. It’s probably just me and my crazy life right now, making it a little harder for me to connect on audio. I’m still on the hunt for that “A” audiobook, but for today I’m sharing four audiobooks that did their job – they entertained me.
My Thoughts: Initially, I was a little torn about reading 𝐒𝐎𝐑𝐑𝐎𝗪 𝐀𝐍𝐃 𝐁𝐋𝐈𝐒𝐒 by Meg Mason because let’s face it, reading a book about a woman suffering from lifelong mental illness might be just a bit depressing. I was holding back, waiting to see what others thought of it before I took the plunge, but in short order I was convinced that this was a book I needed to spend time with. I put in an audiobook hold, and finally last week had the pleasure of getting to know Martha Friel.
At 17, Martha suffered her first bout of mental illness, a depression that left her so sad, so disconnected that the only place she felt comfortable was hiding away in her father’s office. Over the years Martha gets better and worse, she moves from one diagnoses to another, from one drug to the next. Through it all, with the love and support of her sister, father, aunt, and saintly husband, Martha is able to live a seemingly normal life, as long as no one looks too close, which Martha never allows to happen. She hangs on for years, but eventually her disease begins to take its toll not only on Martha, but on those who love her most. Her behavior becomes more and more erratic, until a crisis erupts, completely upending Martha’s fragile existence.
While Martha was not an easy character to like, she was easy to care about and to want a better life for. 𝘚𝘰𝘳𝘳𝘰𝘸 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘉𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘴 was told in first person by Martha. Narrator Emilia Fox did a beautiful job bringing to life the fear, hope and anger that was Martha, making this a wonderful book to listen to. Overall, it was an education in living with mental illness, and a book I’m very glad I listened to. Grade: B
My Thoughts: ASTRID SEES ALL is the story of a young woman, Phoebe, trying to make her way in New York in 1984. Complicating her life is the recent loss of her father, her best friend, Carmen, who Phoebe aspires to be more like, but perhaps isn’t the greatest role model for her, and the never ending quest to stay afloat financially. That problem is eased a bit when she becomes a fortune teller, Astrid, at a one of the many clubs frequented by her crowd. When Carmen disappears after the two argued, Phoebe becomes increasingly haunted by the people she’s lost.
While Astrid Sees All was enjoyable, the premise was just too usual. I feel like we’ve seen the “girl making it in New York” too many times. To be a great story, it needs to be really different, and sadly, Astrid just wasn’t. I also though that it was odd that a book taking place in 1984 in the East Village, barely hinted at the AIDS crisis. The ending was interesting, and took me by surprise, but also felt very rushed and a little out there. For me this one was more of a miss than a hit. Grade: C+
Note: I received an electronic copy of this book from Atria Books (via NetGalley) in exchange for my honest thoughts.
My Thoughts: Like many other readers I was a huge fan of Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s debut, 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘕𝘦𝘴𝘵, so was eager to jump into her sophomore novel 𝐆𝐎𝐎𝐃 𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐏𝐀𝐍𝐘. This is the story of Flora and Julian, a voice artist and an actor. It’s the story of Flora and her best friend Margot, also an actress, and her husband, David It’s the story of Ruby, Flora and Julian’s daughter who’s beloved by all. It’s the story of a lost wedding ring, found in the most unexpected way. Told from multiple points of view, and moving back and forth in time, Sweeney delivers a story of remarkable friendships, and a single secret that topples them all. While I enjoyed listening to 𝘎𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘯𝘺 very much, I think it lacked some of the intensity of her previous book. It was an easy book to listen to, beautifully narrated by Marin Ireland. I always appreciate that, but I wish I’d cared just a little more about the characters. Grade: B-
Note: I received a copy of this audiobook from Harper Audio (via NetGalley) in exchange for my honest thoughts.
My Thoughts: When it comes to audiobooks, I enjoy most any genre, but the timing MUST be right. Recently, my world has been a little crazy, so I knew that light, easy, and fun was the ONLY thing that would work for me right now. Before I even began listening, I knew I could count on Sally Hepworth to deliver exactly what I needed in 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐆𝐎𝐎𝐃 𝐒𝐈𝐒𝐓𝐄𝐑.
The recent twin trend continued in this story of sisters, Fern and Rose. Fern, extremely high functioning, but with some serious sensory issues has always counted on Rose to help her out, set her on the right path and protect her from a world that doesn’t always understand her. As the story evolves, Fern starts to come just a little more into her own, meeting a man not all that different from herself. Rose seems less than happy about this new development and the twists and turns flow from there.
As in almost all domestic thrillers, I found parts of 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘎𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘚𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳 a bit of a stretch, but it did exactly what I needed it to do. The story kept me interested and engaged throughout. The longer I listened, the more I grew to appreciate Fern and the challenges she faced. Though I’m usually a huge fan of Barrie Kreinik’s narration, in this book I liked her much more when she was voicing Fern than when she did Rose. Perhaps, that was meant to be? I’d say 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘎𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘚𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳 is a book worth adding to your summer TBR list. Grade: B-
Note: I received a copy of this audiobook from Macmillan Audio (via Libro.fm) in exchange for my honest thoughts.