Saturday, May 28, 2011

now hear this

Lately I've been having some issues finding an audiobook that I actually want to finish listening to.  Since I can barely stand to listen to the radio anymore (too many commercials), not having an audiobook in the car makes me feel a bit twitchy. Luckily I found at least one to get me through a recent work related road trip.

In the Beaumont family, turning thirteen is a more magical than just becoming a teenager. At some point on that very special day the birthday child receives an abnormal power, or savvy. Days before her own thirteenth birthday, Mibs Beaumont’s beloved Poppa is in a bad car accident, leaving him in a coma. Momma and oldest Beaumont child Rocket head to be with Poppa in Salina, leaving the rest of the clan at home with their elderly grandfather.

SavvyWith Momma and Poppa not home, the preacher’s wife, Miss Rosemary, decides to take matters into her own hands and plans a birthday party for Mibs, much to the family’s distress. It is at this event that Mibs’ savvy appears. Thinking that she can use her savvy to waken Poppa, Mibs and her brothers Fish and Samson – along with Miss Rosemary’s children Bobbi and Will Junior – hide out on a travelling bible salesman’s pink bus they think is heading to Salina. Thus begins a two day journey that reveals secrets, forges friendships and blossoms love.

With their varying savvies, the Beaumonts are far from a traditional family, but they are still very relatable. For instance, even though the siblings argue with one another, they are also the first to come to each other’s defense.

Such an imaginative story! True, some of the adventures are highly implausible, but then so are the various savvies.

Lots of humor. I often chuckled to myself as I listened to the book.

Scumble is the sequel. I haven’t read it yet, but have the audiobook on hold.

Normally I wouldn’t post about a book that I didn’t finish reading. However, I feel the need to remark on one recent audiobook.

Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez follows the lives of two families: the Vermont dairy farming Paquette family and the Mexican Cruz family. The Cruz family is in the United States illegally, though the youngest two daughters are American by virtue of their births in North Carolina.

Return to SenderThe story is told from the viewpoints of Tyler Paquette and Mari Cruz. This is a plus for the style of the story. Mari’s portions are told via first person letters, peppered with many Spanish words; Tyler’s via subjective third person prose. The difference is distracting.
Both children are the same age, which should mean they are on a similar maturity level, yet Mari seems years older.

I tried to get through the whole audiobook. I even listened to more than half of the discs. In the end, though, I couldn’t make myself continue. What could have been a wonderful story of two families and how illegal immigration affects their lives instead felt forced and extremely didactic.

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