Sunday, December 16, 2012

Audiobook Mini-Reviews

I've gotten to the end of the year and desperately want to finish up with no outstanding reviews.  I mean, I will obviously have outstanding books that need to be read and reviewed, but I won't have books I read in 2012 waiting to be reviewed.  In order to do that (and keep my posts to once a day) I'm going to have to put out a couple posts full of mini-reviews, especially of audio books.  All of these are from the library, none were given to me in exchange for a review, so I don't feel as bad about not going into detail on them.  In no particular order:

I absolutely adored every second of this book, which is a memoir of Andy's life, focusing on his time in tv production and, particularly, his time at Bravo.  I am a dedicated fan of several versions of the housewives (Orange County, New York, New Jersey).  I can be talked into watching any of the others.  Anyway, Andy is totally my favorite housewife and a behind the scenes look at Bravo?  Yes, please!

That said, I think it's going to have a somewhat limited audience.  If you don't "know" Andy, don't watch the Housewives, or aren't into what goes on behind the scenes in tv production, I think a lot of this book is going to be of no interest. 

Andy narrates the book, which makes it all that much more wonderful.  I loved it, I highly recommend it, but I don't think it will be as appealing if you're not already a fan of his.

It physically pains me not to write a full review of this one.  I want to give it all the attention it deserves.  I may even come back to it at some point because it's just that amazing.  Southern fiction at its best, as I would say of all of Jackson's books. 

This one follows three generations of Southern women who have a dark secret hiding in their backyard - a secret that is uncovered and threatens their family.  Even without that intrigue, I'd have loved the book because of the characters.  Each and every one was so special in his and her own way.  I can't believe how well Jackson captured teenage Mosey's voice.  She was probably my favorite.  It was spot on. 

I recommend it for basically everyone I know.  I'll be giving at as a gift this year and in the future.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
I am hereby declaring that my next pet will be named General Goodtimes.  This book is just...mind-boggling.  The creativity, the cultural relevance, the humor, and the suprising depth.  I can't even begin to describe how much I loved this book - I think it should be required reading for all women.  And no one would mind they were required to read it because it's so funny.

The basic story is that a group of beauty pageant contestants are stranded on a desert island at the intersection of a potential armed conflict between The Corporation and a rebellious dictator.  It is the most delightful skewering of every single pop culture totem you can think of.

Also, even if you're already read it in print, you must listen to the audiobook because Libba Bray's voices?  Amazing.

This is a memoir written by a woman who grew up as a part of the FLDS church, under the direction of Warren Jeffs.  She was one of the key players in bringing Jeffs to justice and her story of being married at fourteen to an abusive husband is heart-breaking.  It's such an important story to tell, though. 

The writing isn't anything super amazing, but the book was ghost-written.  In this case, I'd consider the story itself to be the important part, not the writing.  The narrator does a fine job, but again, nothing to write home about.  What makes this compelling is Elissa's story and her courage in telling it.

The basic premise is that of a Southern-themed First Wives Club.  Three women are cheated on and exact revenge on their husbands.

I listened to the whole thing, which says something, right?  Honestly I just can't recommend it.  All of the characters were flat and stereotypical (a blunt, outspoken Northerner?  A sex-pot vamp?  A sweet, butter-wouldn't-melt homemaker?) and none were likable, even our heroines.  It was absolutely unbelievable, while not being so outrageous that it was worth suspending disbelief. 

The most annoying thing to me was that one of our heroines, who is plotting revenge on her cheating husband, starts an affair herself.  We are supposed to continue to think of her as virtuous because she doesn't actually have sex with her boyfriend, she just dates him, kisses him, and falls in love with him.  Look, if we're supposed to think the men are scum for cheating, I just can't get on board with it being ok for the wives, as long as they don't go all the way. 

Do not recommend.

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