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Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes. Everyone. Forever.
Why? Because its a piece of art that's why.
Listen, BDSM is a hard thing. It's hard to participate in, its hard to watch, it's hard to understand and its hard to portray. Yet with For Real, it felt effortless. Laurie and Toby pulled me into their world of dominance of submission and trust and care with the ease of a fish gliding through water. Of course there were stumbles but not for one moment were you ever thrown out of the moment. It was, as the title said, For Real. Toby and Laurie were whole realized and complete people. They were strong and sure and beautiful and vulnerable and interesting all on their own and it made their coming together. I would've been fascinated by their relationship even without kink to be honest.
Plus, as someone who spent a bit of time in the London Underground Clubs scene many many moons ago, it was lovely to hear clubs I knew name-checked every now and then. But that was mostly a bonus for me. ;)
What other book might you compare For Real to and why?
Good lord. Not a book but maybe the movie Secretary if Maggie Gyllenhall and James Spader switched kinks but everything else stayed exactly the same.
Which character – as performed by John Hartley and Paul Berton – was your favorite?
Laurie and Toby were both divine but I felt far more comfortable with John Hartley's Laurie than with Paul Berton's Toby because I am closer to Laurie's age than Toby. That's not a sign on his performance, just a sing that I'm getting old *sob*
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
Old enough to know better. Young enough not to care.
Any additional comments?
This book was brilliant - both in the sense that instilled joy and pleasure and in the sense that it was in fact intellectually brilliant. Toby was so smart I wanted to reach into my Audible app and shake him with his poetry and literary criticism and creativity and emotional maturity. Everyone in this book was there for a reason. There were no extemporaneous characters. Everyone, even the incidentals, had a purpose. I walked away feeling like I learned something even as I'd been entertained. It's been a long time since I've felt that way about a book. It's lovely to feel that way again.
Now who do I have to bribe to get the rest of Hall's works audiobooked?!
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
I chose the book because I've read nearly all of the books by Alexis Hall and enjoyed all of them. This one really touched a special place for me dealing with confusion, loss, low self- esteem and just wanting to be loved no matter what your station in life.
One of the best books I've listened to in a long time.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Loved every second of this - the dual narration worked well here and Laurie and Toby each had their completely separate personalities blended superbly. A great story well narrated.
What did you like best about For Real? What did you like least?
The writing is brilliant, characterisation complex and sophisticated. There are no easy familiar scenes or patterns to this love story - more than almost any other writer, this one ignores the reader's expectations except for giving us an occasional burst of hope and a share of the characters' joy. The characters' pain is vivid as well , but never unbearable to hear about as there is always enough optimism from somewhere to keep going - Toby, one of the two protagonists, is irrepressible but also fragile while Laurie is emotionally weathered, outwardly and inwardly tough but still vulnerable. Insight into both characters comes through very explicit descriptions of their sexual involvement but also their inner thoughts in the first person. A book which I finished and immediately started reading again.
What other book might you compare For Real to, and why?
"Glitterland" also by Alexis Hall; Stacia Kane's Chess and Terrible novels;
How did the narrator detract from the book?
Sounded under-rehearsed, ill-prepared and sloppily-executed, For example - the narrator of Laurie's first-person sections gave Toby a feasible East London accent (we are told Toby's mother has an "East London" voice) but Laurie's voice is oddly theatrical and overly precise - he sounds like he is trying very hard to speak properly and it lacks spontaneity (this might be right for the character sometimes, but not when we are hearing his internal monologue surely). It is also rather expressionless and in many places there are spoken words followed by e.g. "his voice [was] breaking.." or other descriptor - when the words had not been spoken like that at all!
The narrator giving Toby his first-person voice made him sound like Prince William with a bit of estuary English with a glottal-stop "t" - sounded just like every ex-public-school 20 year old you've ever met, but this did not seem right for the character as written. A good performance but then he mispronounced not only "AGA" (the cooker) as "ay gee ay" and unforgiveably Laurie's surname "Dalziel" as "dall zeel" when IN THE BOOK on page 2 or 3 the pronunciation is subtly indicated - correctly of course - as "Dee-ell".
As often happens when actors are underprepared, and are, in effect, practising as they begin the recording, the performances improved somewhat as the actors learned their characters as time went on, but the basics of accent and characterisation by the two performers were simply not the same - did they talk to each other about it? Did anyone play each of them the other's performance? If not, then this is just cheating the listener with a second-rate performance - I felt both actors prevented from giving their best work.
Did For Real inspire you to do anything?
Pay more attention to who produces an audible recording. This writer's earlier book "Glitterland" was narrated by Nicholas Boulton who I think really gave a perfect performance.Even "Waiting for the Flood" was pretty good. In both cases the narrators had to produce two different male voices with different accents and personalities. They did pretty well especially compared to this one.
Any additional comments?
Although the narration overall was no worse than many, compared to the skill of the writing it is woeful. Audible has seriously undermined the impact of this beautifully-written book. The book itself won a RITA award and is brilliant MM erotica.
fabulous book performed to perfection - read it or listen to it -both ways entrance
The narrators did an amazing job of bringing this book to life. Totally enjoyed it