The Roses met at an auction on Cape Cod. Oliver had just bought a Staffordshire figurine - one of a pair - but Barbara outbid him for its mate. The figurines belonged together, and so did the Roses. Now the two objets d'art sat together on a shelf in the Roses' home - symbols of the passion their owners shared. A passion that united them and now was about to tear them apart.
Sharing, for Oliver and Barbara Rose, was a way of life. Living in the mansion they had restored together, with the antiques they had collected together, their rare wines, their orchids, and their children - all the beautiful things they owned - they were happy. Their latest project had been the kitchen, which was to be the core of Barbara's new-found career as a caterer of gourmet foods. Though Oliver was a busy and successful attorney, he had shared all the planning chores with her.
The tipping point occurred when Oliver collapsed with what seemed to be a heart attack, and Barbara, as he had expected, did not rush to his side. Her indifference to his fate was both galling and an eye-opener about the truth of their marriage, a truth based more on materialism than mutual sharing and love.
The War of the Roses is a timeless novel. Yet, this is a story uniquely of our own time, where more and more people measure their happiness and success in terms of the things they possess.
This is the book that inspired one of the most famous movies about divorce ever produced. Shown somewhere in the world every week, the movie is an excellent adaptation of the book that has been translated in almost every language on the planet. The impact of both the book and the movie have made them both classics and brought the title The War of the Roses into the accepted jargon of divorce, describing the terrible hatred and cruelty engendered in the process.
There was nothing civil about the 15th-century ‘War of the Roses’ for the English throne. The same could be said about the guerilla war waged by Oliver and Barbara Rose over their beloved Washington, D.C. mansion in Warren Adler’s best-selling novel, The War of the Roses. Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner stared in a famous 1989 film adaptation of this 1981 novel, but the film is nothing compared to the newly-released audio version of this delicious black comedy.
Dave Giorgio brings just the right touch to his reading of The War of the Roses. The book gradually gets darker and darker as Oliver and Barbara raise the stakes in their winner-take-all battle over who gets what in their messy divorce. But rather than give the book an over-the-top reading, Giorgio delivers each sentence in a steady, matter-of-fact tone that could also deliver a line like “Once upon a time…” if this were a Grimm fairy tale about two people seriously determined to kill each other.
Giorgio is smart to take a light approach to the increasingly dark subject matter in the book. If he had tried to oversell his lines and give a heavy-handed performance, the novel would have felt contrived and unbelievable. Instead, Giorgio’s steady, deep voice makes all the ludicrous things the Roses do to drive each other out of the house feel and sound real.
Giorgio’s understated tone enables the audiobook to pack a serious emotional punch. The movie might have strictly been a black comedy, but Adler’s book achieves something more. The disintegration of the Roses themselves and their house almost takes on a horror-like quality.
And yet beneath all the bitter backstabbing, Adler’s book conveys the deep love the Roses still secretly feel for each other. No wonder this book became a worldwide best seller. The War of the Roses taps into our worst fears about lost love and failed marriages, then stylishly serves them up in devilishly delectable mouthfuls for us to savor, one stinging sentence at a time. Ken Ross
"Tight, unique, intimate...fascinating and unusual." (West Coast Review of Books)
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The movie made more sense
Yes, if I didn't see the movie. For some reason I felt the movie was better at telling the progression of events. Also I watched the movie back in 1989 and I have built it up so much in my head. So while listening to the story in 2016 I sort of have this high expectation and it didn't meet my expectation. Don't get me wrong, the book is still pretty good I just felt the movie was better.
Oliver, although I would have not gone down that path he did but I can understand why he did it. There was definitely the feeling of how angry he was because he worked so hard for what he have.
I remembered watching the movie and wondered how awful it was when two people in love fall apart like that. My aunt went through a really bitter divorce and that was how I related to the movie. I was excited when Audiobook Boom had the book to review, I couldn’t wait to listen to it. But because I love the movie so much that listening to the story pale in comparison. Sadly, I felt that the characters were not as interesting as the movie was. Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas was a perfect cast and made the movie. There were slightly more details in the book but it didn’t really matter because there wasn’t anything that you couldn’t derive from the movie. Overall it was a good read.
This audiobook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Boom.
Middling novel and poor reader
- Gwynne O'Reagan