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Just What I Wanted to Hear More Of
I am a huge fan of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. This book gives me all the "more" that I wanted when I read that. I knew that book was "semi-autobiographical" but this actual memoir makes it appear almost entirely autobiographical and here we get more detail. Alexie is a fascinating person and his narration really adds to the experience. Listeners should know that there is a lot of poetry mixed in with this memoir. Normally, I don't like poetry, or think I don't, but I found a new appreciation for it when read here by the author. The book makes you think, about poverty, culture, mental illness, addiction, loss, you name it. You could say that Alexie is obsessed with his late mother, but his experiences with his late bipolar mother almost leave the reader with PTSD so he can hardly be blamed. Alexie himself is also bipolar and discusses this and his brain surgery, though the one thing I noticed he didn't go into here was his own alcoholism, though he discusses his alcoholic father at length. He shares a lot of opinions on many subjects, including politics, and does this in straight forward no holds barred fashion. I appreciated the intensity and honesty of this memoir. For people not familiar with the author, i recommend The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian first, while keeping in mind this book is much more adult in language and content.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Often Funny, Sometimes Unsympathetic
I didn't know who the author was when I picked this book. I actually picked it because I thought the concept of being a "tomman", the grown up version of a tomboy, and how it affects you in life was interesting. That isn't what this book, or even that chapter is about however. Though Klein may have been viewing herself as uninterested in the feminine, that is the exact opposite of who she really is. She is completely obsessed by it. Which I should point out doesn't mean she isn't funny. Parts of this book are very funny. One thing which I found sort of irritating was her self absorbed complaining in situations of great economic advantage. The worst case of it is when she is at the Emmys, winning an Emmy, basically complaining that the biggest Hollywood stars are having more of a princess experience than she is. Of course, the Emmy was for writing for Inside Amy Schumer and if you have any experience with watching the usual character Amy portrays you will recognize that self absorbed character. You should also expect lots of crude material, sex jokes, etc. Comedians are comedians I suppose because of their insecurities and that is fully on display here. But again, I did laugh quite a bit.
Compelling Mystery with Hateable characters
Most of the negative reviews I saw were based on the fact that the characters are not likable people.This is true. However, this is a mystery, not a romance, so I didn't feel the need to fall in love with the characters, only to figure out what happened. I don't usually try to solve a mystery, but somehow I felt compelled to try here. There are a number of characters and it is hard to like any of them. I didn't so much like our main character Rachel but I have often read memoirs or novels with female alcoholic characters and usually find them interesting. One interesting thing about Rachel, is that her issues and cringe worthy behavior cannot be entirely blamed on her alcoholism because any Rachel scene can become painful due to bad decisions even when she hasn't had a sip. Rachel may be a train wreck of a woman but Anna and Megan were in my opinion worse. Anna is a smug mistress turned wife and Megan has to be the most immature and self centered of them all. The book would certainly make a reader wonder if the author hates women (despite being one herself) except that the male characters manage to be pretty awful too. That said, I really did want to know what happened. The resolution while believable enough, was not necessarily what I would have chosen. But I guess why have an uplifting conclusion to any book filled with these people? That is to say, there didn't seem to be a message at the end, just a conclusion. I did figure out who the killer was though not right away, not until there was some whittling down of suspects. Narrators were good. They reminded me very much of the narrators of Try Not To Breathe. Alcoholic Rachel sounded like alcoholic Alex and young self centered Megan sounded just like young self centered Amy. So much so I checked if they were the same, but they weren't.
Everything for people fascinated by EMS
I always thought that being a paramedic must be a fascinating job. Not for me, but for the thrill seeking sort. This book validates all of that - it is full of interesting stories and funny stories with a background thrillingly horrible. I don't think I ever need to read a book like this again - it has covered everything from training through a complete career and my curiosity is satisfied. It felt a little bit long but I guess that is to be expected when it encompasses an entire career. Well performed.
Topics not as interesting as Wishful Drinking
I really enjoyed Wishful Drinking and started this one shortly after that. While I liked it well enough I couldn't help but compare and the comparison was not flattering for this book. There seemed to be fewer topics and there was much less humor. She discusses her ECT (shock therapy), Chris Dodd, Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and finally and at great length, her father's last years, Just not as upbeat as Wishful Drinking though certainly interesting in parts.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Once you get this far into a series like that it gets harder to accurately review the books. This book would not be interesting outside the context of the series, not useful as a stand alone story. I enjoyed it because I enjoy Mattie and Hurley and their friends. If you've read these books then you are used to the fact that there always has to be something interfering in their relationship. This time around it is Emily again. I was a bit disappointed by this since I thought we got over that last time, but I found the plots interesting and enjoyed the characters even if Mattie's immaturity occasionally gets on my nerves. Of course what fun would a perfect heroine be anyway? I already know I will get the next when it comes out.
Funny, once you get used to listening to her
It does take a little bit to get used to Carrie Fisher's voice if you haven't really been listening to her since Star Wars. She does sound (not surprisingly I suppose) like a person who partied too much. Once I got over that I was able to enjoy just how incredibly funny she really is. She even made me enjoy the tales of old Hollywood stars who normally might not have interested me. Keep in mind not to listen to it in the car with your kids there due to language, drug references and some crude sexual humor. As others have mentioned there is not a whole lot of Star Wars stuff in this book, but she has another memoir and yet another coming soon for those who want more. I plan to listen to those as well.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Interesting Look at the Victims
One problem with true stories about crime is that they center on and glorify killers. That doesn't happen here not only because these are unsolved killings but because the book is truly victim-centric. The beginning of the book does a great job of presenting the victims to you as real people. This was the most interesting part to me. It is actually amazing the depth of the profiles considering not only that they needed to be put together after the women disappeared but because their lives were so unstable at times. I find poverty and the family dysfunction that so often accompanies it to be very interesting. We see in these parallel lives, so many of the same problems and bad decisions that the ending seems almost inevitable. One problem with this as an audio book though is that is is easy to get the victims confused as we switch between their stories over and over. Was that Melissa or Megan, was that the one with the mother Lynn or Lorraine? And without the book you can loose track. I found the part of the book about the community where the bodies were found to drag and be less compelling than the girls stories were. Towards the end we deal a lot with the families and it is like getting first hand into the dysfunction that shaped these women in the first place. Like all unsolved mysteries it leaves a sense of frustration that we aren't truly getting closure,.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
The Big Picture of Alcohol Dependence
I find memoirs of female alcoholics interesting, (For some reason the male alcoholic memoir seems to have been done to death). This however, is a really good one for getting a big picture of alcoholism over a long span. Knapp is billed as a high functioning alcoholic and we really see how at first things seem under control and then over time start to decay around her. I like how you can go from reading about alcohol in that infatuated way at first and then come to the end and see how really it is no fun at all. I feel like the author has missed something if their alcoholism memoir makes me feel like drinking. I also like that this isn't a book full of a long list of embarrassing episodes that make you cringe. There was more to her decision that she was an alcoholic than repeated embarrassing mistakes. Not to imply that she doesn't make many bad decisions, only that there is more to her than that. Often addiction memoirs fall flat when the author gets to the recovery period and begins making many general statements - in this case she talks a lot of women and the negative impact of sexuality and men. It annoyed me at first, but I had to realize that at that point she was generalizing from her discussions with other female alcoholics and not necessarily implying these things applied to the better adjusted non addicted members of society. I found it interesting also how at first she talks about a certain amount of denial because to her alcoholics have alcoholic family members and dysfunctional family situations and she's from an upper class family, but over time we discover with her that she is indeed part of a dysfunctional family with alcoholics after all. It made me sad to realize that she only lived a short time after writing this memoir. It was such a long road to gaining this control over her life and having finally done it she had so little time to enjoy it.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
Solid Gamache novel, miss old narrator
I have to say the new narrator was ok, but it is hard not to hear the true voice of Gamache. It was certainly not as easy to tell when Gamache was speaking as opposed to basic narration, but of course there is nothing to do about that since the old narrator has passed away. On the bright side, I have to say that this was the fastest moving of all of these books. It is almost a given that a Gamache novel has to have long digression on history or art and inevitably will drag in spots and this is the first one where I did not notice that. At first I was feeling a little annoyed at the far fetched plot and only later discovered that a lot of what I found too fantastical was actually taken from real events.which were nicely blended into her fiction. The other typical Penny things were there - for example all the characters know something that you don't and go on and on for pages keeping you in suspense (who is John Fleming in this case). That always makes me want to bang my head against the wall buts he's done it before so no surprise. I certainly did not solve this mystery - I was confused at the end if we even were going to solve it, but we did in the end. I am not sure that she was able to convince me that he solution was entirely believable but it certainly kept me interested I will get the next one when it comes out..
2 of 2 people found this review helpful