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By Wanda on 09-21-16
Gripping Drama but VERY EXPLICIT SEX AND VIOLENCE!
What made the experience of listening to Torn Between a Goon and a Gangsta 2 the most enjoyable?
First, I want to say that I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. When I saw that it was the second book in a series, I decided to first listen to Book 1, because I was concerned about starting the series in in the middle of the action. However, my concern was unnecessary. While it was helpful to listen to Book 1 first, in my opinion, Book 2 can certainly stand on its own. My review for this book mirrors my review for Book 1, as they both caused me to have the same feelings and reactions.
Katt Kampbell was an excellent narrator, and I would definitely search out more books narrated by her. I am sure that I would not have enjoyed the book nearly as much if I had simply read the pages--her narration really made the characters come alive. I loved Carl Atkins' narration of Book 1, and thought that any other narrator would have a hard time following his work. This was particularly true because while both books have many of the same characters, and the characters take turns telling the story from their point of view-- Book 1 is narrated by a man, and Book 2 is narrated by a woman. I wasn't sure how that would work, because sometimes those transitions can be quite jarring. However, I needn't have worried. Katt and Carl both did great work, and I honestly cannot even say which one I enjoyed better! They also both did an equally good job with using different voices or vocal styles to differentiate between the characters, so that I always heard different voices during the dialogue scenes. Finally, both Katt and Carl did a great job of voicing opposite sex characters, so that Carl's women didn't sound too high or ridiculous, and Katt's men didn't sound too butch or too silly. Unfortunately however, both of them made the same mistake of failing to use adequate pauses and spacing between the scenes. Often, I would be listening to a scene about one character, and it would seem to just magically morph into a scene involving another character. A little artful spacing or use of silence or pauses would have helped immensely with those transitions, because with audiobooks, all we have is the narration to help set the scene and keep the numerous details straight in our minds. It's not like we can easily flip back a few paragraphs to realize that we have changed characters and perspectives.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I thought this was a well-done book, but I wouldn't listen to it again. The characters were just too violent and hopeless, and after listening, I felt an overwhelming sense of despair. Perhaps that is a testament to the skill of the author, because she really caused me to have strong feelings after listening to this book. Afterwards, I felt really depressed, and hoped that this was just a story; and that no real people had lives that were filled with so many sad, unfortunate choices.
Any additional comments?
I don't recall being warned in the description about the explicit sex and violence in this book. The scenes were not gratuitous, but clearly a part of the story, and actually quite well written. I didn't mind the scenes, but they really caught me off guard, and I think that people might like to be warned about what to expect. It might actually become a selling point!
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