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Don't get me wrong; this was a mostly engrossing listen, and a real page-turner by the end. I literally could barely stand to turn it off when I reached my destination. And the narrator is phenomenal; I will definitely be looking for more books narrated by her. I've almost never heard such subtle vocal characterizations.
However, there are a few glaring flaws in the story. For one thing, starting with just the most obvious issue, the book is kind of a downer, with chapter after humorless chapter of unrelenting sadness and anguish. But that brings me to my second grievance: Why all of this unrelenting suffering with not one of these women ever even considering the most obvious solution: LEAVE THE BASTARD? (Similarly, the one pregnant group member--who is obviously totally unsuited to motherhood--is horrified to discover that she's pregnant, but never once considers just not going through with the pregnancy.) And speaking of cheating bastards who deserve to be dumped but never are: It feels like the author did inadequate research on sex addiction before writing this book. Why is there no explanation of what makes someone a sex addict vs. just a promiscuous jerk, womanizer, closeted homosexual or adulterous ass? And why no mention of the fact that not all sex addicts are men? Then there are the many lines of dialogue (mostly coming from the therapist) that just make the listener roll her eyes. Sometimes Kathryn seemed like a movie caricature of a therapist, and I felt by the end that if I had to hear any more lines like "Is that difficult for you?" I was going to lose it like the nonmaternal pregnant character and begin screaming curses. I could easily see why so many of these women were tempted to leave--or actually did leave--the group!
And speaking of leaving the group, it pains me to say that I think the author appears to have inadvertently introduced a note of not-so-subtle racism into this narrative by having the one ethnic character be such an outsider that she is THE ONLY GROUP MEMBER WHO HAS NO CHAPTERS DEDICATED TO HER! The book literally goes back and forth between chapters titled Lizzy, Hannah, Bridget, and Gail...with not a single Flavia chapter! Then, just when I was thinking, "Oh, jeez, the ethnocentric author is almost signaling the reader that non-Americans are expendable," the author has Flavia announce that she's leaving the group and the U.S. to return to her native land. Oy vey!
Which brings me to the ridiculously unresolved ending, the worst I've ever heard. Like other readers who reviewed this title, I actually went back several times, both in the audiobook and the print version, to make sure the recording wasn't flawed and that I hadn't somehow missed something. How can the author set up the possible death of a main character and then not even hang in there long enough to at least reveal whether that character survives? Not to mention tell us how that character, an extremely proud and private individual who is mortified at the slightest hint of publicity, is going to deal with the fallout from her very public, naked breakdown even if she does survive physically.
Final Grade: C-plus/B minus. The fourth star is for the narrator.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful
Very gripping book! The narration was fabulous! The story makes for a very good book club discussion! I was aggregated with the men in this book and was left feeling like they all used sex addiction as an excuse to cheat and lie. The women should have all left these men because of the cheating and lying but even more because of the self esteem issues they had because of the men! I love the bond they make with the other women! I'll definitely read this author again and listen to this narrator!
8 of 12 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Absolutely! It is remarkably good. Beautifully written, perfectly narrated and totally engaging. The characters are exceptionally well drawn and I find myself caring deeply about them as if they were my friends.
Any additional comments?
I would have liked a 'more complete' ending. However, I respect the authors choice. After all, life isn't neat and tidy and it has stray threads.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
There wasn't much about this book's description that seemed appealing or relevant to me, but it was consistently popping up in my recommendations. I looked into it a little more and based on so many positive reviews I thought it wouldn't hurt to at least start it. Nine hours later (give or take), I finished it.
I found it to be evocative in so many ways... fascinating, heartbreaking, heartwarming, poignant, angering, appalling, reaffirming... I could go on. :)
It may have been because I wasn't expecting to like it that I did so much. And while the specifics of the subject matter didn't resonate, there was so much more that did.
My only disappointment, and reason for only 4 stars, is simply because I thought it ended too soon.
A bit of a petty personal preference, as I'm sure it would have threatened the integrity and effectiveness, but I really wanted more resolution for some of the characters.
Highly recommend, though. For everyone!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful