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|Audio Cassette, Jan 2007||
Joan Allen fails to breathe sufficient life into Alice Sebold's second novel to make it worth the listen, but she really doesn't have much to work with. Helen Knightly, a divorced mother of two grown daughters, impulsively murders her 88-year-old mother, Claire. The story then flips back and forth between Helen's response to her present-day act and long flashbacks exploring her love/hate relationships with her emotionally volatile, agoraphobic mother and her suicidal, peculiarly obsessed father. Allen's calm, even voice makes Helen's most irrational actions (smothering her mother, cutting her clothes off, bathing her dead body and dragging it down to the basement) sound nearly as reasonable to listeners as they do to Helen. Allen also marvelously evokes the cracked, demented tones of Helen's aged mother. Unfortunately, the older Claire Knightly appears in only the smallest portion of the book, and Allen barely troubles to distinguish the voices of the other characters. Her unvarying voice, combined with the tediously introspective text, make this audio a real slog.
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In her highly anticipated second novel, after the groundbreaking The Lovely Bones (2002), Sebold strikes two notes: grim and grimmer. Within pages, Helen, a middle-aged, depressed divorcée, kills her elderly mother; she spends the next 24 hours reliving her miserable childhood and her attempts to break free of it, coming to the realization that she "had seen the yawning tide that was her mother's need and fallen in." It's not until Helen reaches high school that she realizes her mother is mentally ill, her father is emotionally absent, and her primary purpose is to be her mother's "proxy in the world and to bring that world back home." Although she eventually marries and has two children, moving far away in what she hoped would be "the geographical cure," she ends up divorced and living blocks from her childhood home. With an unwavering focus and detached, downbeat prose, Sebold follows Helen on her seemingly inevitable psychological descent. The result is an emotionally raw novel that is, at times, almost too painful to read, yet Sebold stays remarkably true to her vision, bringing readers close to a flawed woman who lives in a very narrow world, one full of duty, obligation, and pain. Sebold brings to the portrait such honesty and empathy that many will find their own dark impulses reflected here; however, it is so unremittingly bleak that it seems unlikely that it will be greeted with the same enthusiasm as her debut. Wilkinson, Joanne --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
Like others, after reading Lovely Bones, I was delighted to find another book by Sebold. The result was disappointment. Read morePublished on Aug. 29 2011 by Avid reader
Don't waste your time on this one. The plot is just super weird. What a disappointment after reading The Lovely Bones.Published on Jan. 22 2010 by SJ
Lovely Bones was a great story, but the quality of the writing was poor at best, as is often the case with a first novel. Read morePublished on March 7 2008 by V. F. Ellinor-Shiers
I also was highly dissappointed, I am just trying to finish it to justify the purchase, ugh, I hate wasting money on bad reads!Published on Jan. 20 2008 by billy bean
I loved reading The Lovely Bones and Lucky. Both books were amazing. However, I was taken back when I began to read the almost moon. Read morePublished on Jan. 8 2008 by Kendra Lawrie