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2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-11-13

A little on the dumb side

I bought this book looking for something funny, but this felt rather dumb. There are a few mildly funny moments, but the story is repetitive and quite pointless, riddled with awkward jokes about vomit and farts (yes, we're on that level). It feels like the SMS and twitter exchanges between Bridget and her young lover go on forever, and never go deeper than "I <3 U". I never felt I was listening to the diary of a funny 50 year old woman, but more like I was listening to the diary of an idiotic 17 year old girl. The narrator does very well with this terrible material though, especially considering how many times she had to say 'Oh, text message from Roxster!', which seems to comprise 50% of the words written.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-11-13

Wicked!

This story is exactly what I was hoping for. I'd put this up there with Bag of Bones and The Stand, this was a very enjoyable ride. It took a while to get used to the narrator, who unfortunately gives every word a full-on performance, but the book is so good that in the end I didn't mind. It took me maybe a couple of hours to really get into it, but once it really started, I couldn't stop listening. It's not high literature, but it's pure King.

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3 of 5 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-10-13

Not one of his best, but still a good read

I read several times that this book is a little like 'The Stand'. I actually found The Stand a better novel, and thought this book, despite its characters and storylines, was a little too simplistic. Still, it's an easy listen and the typical Stephen King prose pulls you through page after page. The only thing I found a little difficult was the vast cast of characters- the narrator was very good at coming up with different voices, but even he had a limit... Not a bad audiobook, though.

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-10-13

I enjoyed this!

I'm not a huge fan of detective novels, but I listened to this book and enjoyed it very much. It's a little different from a lot other mystery novels because the characters are all so well drawn. It's very different from the Casual Vacancy but you'll still recognize the bite typical of a JK Rowling book. It sits well within this genre and I can understand why the author chose to publish this under a pseudonym, but if you enjoy detective books, this one deserves a read.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-10-13

Very unique

I should start by saying this is different from the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, except for its tone and its beautiful prose, and in the way the author portrays the mind of unique characters. I loved this book, I found it touching and delicate. It's a slow burn, but if you're the kind of reader who doesn't need thrill after thrill, you'll enjoy the story- not to say that it's boring, because it isn't. This is the kind of book that made me find more chores to do around the house, just so that I could listen to one more chapter. The narrator is just superb and gives the right intonation to the children's thoughts and really brings to life the writing.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-09-13

Very good

I really enjoyed this book. The relationship between the two brothers in particular is very powerful. It's not a life changing book, but it describes the family dynamics so well that it captures the reader completely, because the characters are so well drawn. A simple but powerful story.

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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-09-13

Perfect gift for a doctor

This novel would have been perfect, if only it had been a bit shorter. At times the writer just dwells too much into surgical details and, had I had a printed copy, I probably would've skipped a few pages. The last part is the best though, so it's worth listening to the whole thing even if it's a bit slow in the middle. The narrator is a tad flat and some of the accents are terrible while others are perfect, so perhaps the audio version isn't the best choice for someone who's as fussy about voices and accents as I am.

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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-09-13

Quite bland, for a Shriver book

I've read a few books by this author, and this is the one I enjoyed the least. The narration gets annoying at times, mainly due to one of the characters' use of language. But still it all goes along pretty well until you reach the last few chapters- that's where I felt a little cheated. Is it a must-read like We need to talk about Kevin? No, but it's not unpleasant.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-08-13

The perfect novel

A wonderful setting for a very compelling story about friendship and responsibility. I'm not a fan of war novels but this book won me over. The prose is superb, and both narrators are excellent. Certainly an audio book I will listen to again.

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-08-13

A struggle

Some novels win prizes for reasons that remain unknown to the reader, but in this case it’s clear why this book won the Pulizter: the setting is so compelling and mostly unknown to the everyday person, that it alone pulls you through the story. Is it well written? Not particularly. Is it a masterpiece? Certainly not. At time confusing and repetitive, the narration slows down in several points, marking this as a pretty boring book to get through, with characters that blend into one and a prose that remains pretty ordinary. I stuck with it to a predictable ending, and managed to skip 3 chapters towards the end and still know exactly what was going on- this novel needs some pretty severe editing. It’s not a book I would recommend, but if you’re a patient reader with a curiosity for North Korea, read on.

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1 of 3 people found this review helpful