The 747 that went up whole and came down in 876 pieces invaded every part of my life. My only consolation is that, without being able to turn around, she never saw the giant hole where the rest of the aircraft should have been. It was an oblong oval opening to the tumbling sky, bordered by torn cables, shredded aluminum aircraft skin, sheared beams, and spars, and accented with sparking severed wires. And I hope she couldn't comprehend what was actually happening if she lived long enough to ride this nearly three-mile-high, free-falling hell-ivator all the way down to the ocean's surface, and then sink to 140 feet below, where her body would wait to be recovered.
This is a TWA Flight 800 memoir told by author Mark L. Berry, a former TWA pilot whose fiancé Susanne was one of the 230 passengers and crew who died when that flight exploded at 13,760 feet off Long Island's southern shore. While primarily read by the author, 94 voice actors help bring the numerous people to life through a full-cast production (including small guest appearances by podcasters Scott Sigler, Seth Harwood, and Mike Bennett). The print and e-book versions contain lyric snippets from 34 original songs infused into their respective chapters, which grew to 41 in the two years this 348-page book was recorded and mixed—giving this audiobook its own soundtrack. The full songs can be heard on the author’s website.
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I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone. Fiction or nonfiction, it maintains the capturing qualities of a fiction story, and coming from a fiction reader myself, it kept my attention intensely throughout the entire story.
There are many things about this story I like best. The writing style is very unique and while may seem confusing at first, is quickly wrapped up and explained in detail leaving the listener with a sense of amazement. The emotional ties are also fantastic. With chapters switching between depressingly misfortunate, to comedic occurrences and adventures, it grips your attention through the entire audio.
I really enjoyed the suspense of the mountain climbing scene. The way it was written and spoken gave a great deal of tension and almost made it feel as if you were right there climbing along side Berry.
I consider myself to be a relatively physically unemotional man. I rarely laugh or cry at anything, whether it's a book, movie, or tv show. But I found myself laughing quite a few times during this book, and tearing up in others. As I previously mentioned, chapters seem to switch between comedic and somber, and in quite a few instances I would find myself smiling at the end of one chapter, and quite sad at the middle of the next.
A basic summarization could be put as such:
Mark L. Berry’s 13,760 Feet: A Personal Hole in the Sky, is the biography of the writer’s crazy life full of depressing misfortune, and hilarious happenings. In a perfect blend of comedy and tragedy, 13,760 Feet is a decently lengthy and incredibly interesting story that leaves you amazed at the style of writing and emotional strength packed inside of a 15 hour long audio tape. With over 60 voice actors to portray each character, and more than 40 original songs composed by Berry, this book is simply a masterpiece. Overall, the complex but intriguing writing style, beautiful songs, and incredible emotional impact put together in this audio book is amazing. I would highly recommend this to any reader, fictional or not, and commend the writer for making suck an amazing piece of literature.