The Learners

  • by Chip Kidd
  • Narrated by Bronson Pinchot
  • 6 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A young graphic designer fresh out of college in the summer of 1961, Happy has just landed his first job at a wacky advertising firm filled with eccentric creative artists. Everything is going great until Happy is assigned to design a newspaper ad recruiting participants for an experiment in the Yale Psychology Department. Happy can't resist responding to the ad himself. Little does he know that the experience will devastate him, forcing a reexamination of his past, his soul, and the nature of human cruelty - chiefly his own.Written in sharp, witty prose and peppered with absorbing ruminations on graphic design, this stand-alone sequel to Chip Kidd's previous novel, The Cheese Monkeys, again shows that Kidd's writing is every bit as original, stunning, and memorable as his celebrated book jackets.

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What the Critics Say

"[A] beautifully composed paean to pre-computer graphic design...Kidd's ebullience and generosity in unpacking the art and practice of graphic design carry the novel." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not Really a Comic Novel

I truly loved The Learners for the first third or so. It was charming, witty, and at times laugh-out-loud funny. Bronson Pinchot is a fantastic narrator, performing every voice so that I felt like I knew those people. His reading is certainly a 5-star performance, even though his material fell short.

The problem I had with this book was its inconsistency of tone. About a third of the way through to book, it abruptly turns from a light-hearted read (with a few weightier moments) into a maudlin presentation of a series of depressing events. I didn't expect the book to be "happy" all the time, but such a disparity was startling. The product description told us that the main character would face something devastating, but the change in tone just took it too far.

I certainly am not advocating staying away from this book. I am still glad I got it--if for nothing more than Pinchot's narration. But you should know what you're getting. If you like the sample, the narration is that fanststic consistently. If you're looking for the book to maintain that tone-- it won't.
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- Tracey Rains "I love the BBC and British mysteries, but my tastes are very eclectic. I live with my husband and menagerie of rescued cats and dogs."

Not much to like

The author is clearly in love with graphic design, advertising, and how it was practiced in the pre-digital age. That passion does bring a nice level of detail to the book, but that's about the only nice thing I can say. Well, I could also add that Pinchot does do a fine job with the reading.

The humor of the book falls flat as do the cardboard cut out wacky/tragic characters. The whole thing reads like a pale imitation of Cofederacy of Dunces. There is not much believable, charming, or funny about any of them or the situations they get into.
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- Peter

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-27-2008
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.