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1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-03-18

Not the usual Mankell

I tried. But I couldn't finish it. I need to stick with Mankell's detective books.

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2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-27-18

Very disappointed

VERY disappointed in Balducci. It felt like he was churning out this drudgery page by page, line by line, word by word.

I loved MANY of his other books but this one was...aheam...AWFUL!

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-26-18

Lush Mesmerizing Rich details

Thank you Sigrid Munez for this amazing book.
I thought “The Friend” was superb, but THIS, this shows me SO much more.


I look forward to ALL your books!

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2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-22-17

What a let down after Middlesex

I loved "Middlesex" by same author. Saw the disparate reviews by other readers and decided to still try "Virgin Suicides". The subject of depression doesn't bother me but the endless details and slow narration was difficult to take. I even sped it up to 1.5X to make it go faster but it still dragged.

The subject matter was indeed tragic and decades ago, there was less awareness of mental illness and/or better methods to treat depression. However, the characters in this novel - none of them were truly likeable or developed (fleshed out) to the point where empathy is elicited from the readers. This is important for any protagonist to be successful in any story.
Author successfully did that in "Middlesex" and a multitude of characters in that book were intriguing (even if you don't agree with their POVs).

If the reader doesn't care about what happens to any of the people in the story, the story is null.

VERY disappointed in this one. But Eugenides was BRILLIANT in "Middlesex".

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-17-17

Fascinating. EXcellent storytelling!

Colourful, vivid narrative in just the right amount of historical context that helps the reader understand what the circumstances were like in the "Old Country" and why Greek immigrants had to flee Asia Minor.

I couldn't help but feel empathy for all three generations of women from Desdamona to Tessie to Callie.

Loved loved LOVED this book!

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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-30-17

Beyond my comprehension.

I purchased the Satanic Verses after reading The Golden House - which I LOVED. Rushdie's writing is lyrical, funny & ironic in so many ways. As a former New Yorker and transplant from UK, I enjoyed his cross cultural references.

However, I was only able to get through the 1st five chapters of Satanic Verses until I
got "completely" lost. I felt like being in the audience of an opera done in German instead of Italian.

I was intrigued by the first few chapters, but then by Chapter 4 I was way over my head.

Still love Rushdie's Golden House but I am not able to read the Verses.

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2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-24-17

Too much whining from a Navy SEAl

Would you try another book from Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson and/or Kevin T. Collins?


Would you ever listen to anything by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson again?


What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment. I expected a Navy Seal to be more mature, less judgmental and stay away from politics and berating others who have different beliefs or body types as he does. Yes, smaller physiques tend to be convenient when doing "recon" but we also need big dudes.
We are all one team to get the job done.

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2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-16-17

Boring & Tideous

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?


What was most disappointing about Mark Sullivan’s story?

I agonized through Chapter 8 hoping things will pick up. But NO. Perhaps if I were a teenage boy obsessed with girls, race car driving, hiking & climbing....

The WW2 Nazi background in gorgeous Italy & naming of Lake Cuomo and such did NOTHING for the story. It was monotonous and went on and and on and on without
decent editing. I try to suffer through some books thinking perhaps I'm missing something but this one, I HAD to stop. I just can't tolerate the nothingness of it all and it's been EIGHT chapters already.

How could the performance have been better?

Performance might have been better if the story were a better one. The narrator sounds he's bored out of his mind himself.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Not in the 8 chapters I've listened to.

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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-10-17


Is there anything you would change about this book?

Make the main character less of an ego maniac. Cut down all his self grandiose illusions
and constant patting himself on the back on how smart, how young, how brilliant, how AMAZING he is that he started in the "secret world" at 29.

What was most disappointing about Terry Hayes’s story?

Not only is this hero's journey a typical format, the "hero" did not elicit any compassion, sympathy, empathy or admiration in me or from me. I've known many warriors in my lifetime, most are humble, hardworking, never brag or feel or voice they're "better" than others. The protagonist did not elicit ANY good feeling from me especially when he kept attacking his "enemies" by calling them dumb (e.g. very low IQ points etc indicating he was VERY smart since he went to Harvard and private academies before that due to his extremely rich foster father..... blah blah blah). Just became plain annoying! I made myself finish the book waiting for some redeeming value that may dawn on him. No.

What aspect of Christopher Ragland’s performance would you have changed?

Don't try to pronounce in other languages you can't speak. Or at least look it up
and not just botch them. Urghhhh!

Did I Am Pilgrim inspire you to do anything?

Thank all my friends who serve in the military for their daily sacrifices and true contribution
to our country - risking their lives daily performing high value and dangerous tasks even when they're going on exercises. Having gone to Harvard doesn't make you a better
soldier, sailor or marine.

Any additional comments?

Having a HUGE (unjustified) ego plus constantly rattling off one's Ivy league education, sailboats, raised in white privilege by 1% parents etc was over the top. Humility, modesty, self awareness are far more important qualities for a true warrior.

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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-12-17

Disappointed in this account of two amazing men

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I tried to listen to the end thinking it will get "deeper". No luck. It continues to skim the surface. Nothing His Holiness or Bishop Tutu said was unsaid or unheard of before.
The LIST of "exercises/practices" at the end of the book is helpful but only to those who already are familiar with meditation or mindfulness practices.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Most interesting is the steadfast central core of both Spiritual Leaders. They are two different people from very different backgrounds and traditions. However, they're teaching us the same thing. The most important being "compassion" and kindess toward others.

The least interesting is the author's "sessions" with these two Spiritual Leaders. His questions were uninspired. It's as if he were just following a "list" that's been prepared
and adhering to it. There were no pleasant surprises or any jogs or turning of corners or revelations....just plodding on and on and on....

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Perhaps this book is better read as a book. The different "voices" and accents with the author, His Holiness and the Bishop became distracting instead of interesting.

Did The Book of Joy inspire you to do anything?

Perhaps read The Book of Forgiveness in book form and not audio.

Any additional comments?

I think I'll read teachings from the original teachers in books written by these teachers instead of a book written by an interviewing just repeating what s/he recorded in his/her interviews.

This book was like reading a recipe instead of seeing, tasting and learning about the food.

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