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If you are wondering whether or not you should listen to Walt Before Mickey, you should keep a couple of things in mind.
1. The book is nothing like the film that was released a few years ago. The film, is much more dramatized than the book.
2. Can you appreciate detail? This book is not lacking for details but some of them may feel unnecessary to you as a listener. Street addresses are listed frequently both for the places where Walt would have set up his various shops but also for houses and apartments where people lived and even restaurants where they ate.
Want to know how much Walt paid for his first suit or how much Ub Iwerks was earning per week when he first joined Walt out in California, then you'll enjoy this book.
Personally, I like details but even for me this sometimes felt like a bit too much. At times it felt like one of those term papers that needed to hit a specific number of words and came up short so less important things were added.
But when you're not getting hit with addresses, locations in relation to other locations and dollar amounts the story flows pretty well. When the author's eye for detail works to his advantage is when he mentions specific dates that things occurred, it helps you to keep track of where you are in the timeline.
As for the narration...
This is the first chance I have had to listen to something narrated by Al Kessel. I have to say that while Mr. Kessel has narrated in several genres, his natural voice lends itself well to nonfiction work. There is something in his voice that gives it a natural quality of authority. In other words, he always sounds like he knows what he's talking about.
While I found myself at times wishing that the author would stick to the story I was never bored by Kessel's narration. It was very easy to listen to and when Kessel would speak a quote from Walt Disney he would deepen his voice a bit. Listening to recordings of Walt used on the audio commentary for Snow White, I thought this was a good choice and I thought of those recordings when I heard Kessel speak as Walt.
I can't tell you whether or not you should listen to Walt Before Mickey. As my title for this review suggests it really is all in the details. I enjoyed it overall but did have moments where I'd heard enough addresses of places I'd never visit. Though if you're asking me if I enjoyed listening to this overall, I would say yes, as I did learn a few things and liked the narration.
I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
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