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Hillary Huber narrates Blame and her hypnotic storyteller's voice coaxes a rich, rhythmic word flow out of Huneven's droll language. There is empathy as well as a sneaky, subversive acidity to Huber's logic-driven Patsy; a deliberate, academic pacing. Patsy's rakish ex-boyfriend, Brice, is also humanized by Huber, who registers Brice's grief over losing his lover, Gilles, by curdling his surfer drawl with a gritty skim of impatience. Blame is a masterpiece, and when Huber, as Patsy, observes, "Guilt was like the check on a table. Somebody had to pick it up", it clicks that yes, finally, this is the meaning of recovery. Nita Rao
Then, decades later, another unimaginable piece of information turns up. For the reader, it is an electrifying moment; a joyous, fall-off-the-couch-with-surprise moment. For Patsy, it is more complicated. Blame must be reapportioned, her life reassessed.
Blame is a spellbinding novel of guilt and love, family and shame, sobriety and the lack of it, and the moral ambiguities that ensnare us all.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Rex on 11-01-09
Amazing character study!
I found this novel by Michelle Huneven, to be an amazing character study. Her (the protagonist Patsy) fall and eventual redemption following a horrible accident done in an alcoholic blackout was believable and compelling. So often a person is judged by their worst act but in Patsy's case, her friends, family, and victims family are the first to forgive. Long before she is able to forgive herself. Some of the most telling parts in this novel are scenes between Patsy and her victims husband. I found the AA program sections and scenes with her therapist both compelling and informative. The reader, Hillary Huber, was one of the best readers I have heard in along time. All in all, an amazing reading/listening experience!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Pamela Harvey on 08-30-09
This book has an excellent premise, but it is not even slightly evident that the protagonist "spends the rest of her life trying to atone". Perhaps the writer had some sort of internal angst in mind when she created this character and her situation, but actually from the reader's point of view, this person suffers very little for her misdeeds, and any spiritual growth experienced by "Patsy", does not come across. After her minimum sentence she goes blithely back into her previous life, where her employer(s) don't care the slightest bit about a felony in her resume, and proceeds to engage in a life of privilege, parties and serial monogamy. The AA stuff is strictly background noise, and the handily-acquired AA husband described in the publisher's summary is already discarded by the end of the book.
I was seriously looking forward to this read, but I only found too many shallow characters whose behaviors lack consequence, too much dialogue - the lazy way to tell a story - and just too many names to remember. If my attention drifted the slightest bit, I was all of a sudden in the midst of an entirely new cast!
24 of 30 people found this review helpful