April 21, 2007

Elements of Style (Audio book): Review

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Elements of Style (abridged) by Wendy Wasserstein, Cynthia Nixon (Narrator) 2006 Random House


This was my very first audio book...ever. I have never been tempted by the audio book format. I like holding a book in my hand. I like using my brain to translate the symbols on the page into words that paint a picture in my mind. But I borrowed this audio book from my mother-in-law and decided to give it a try.


First off, the hated word "Abridged" *shudder*. I always feel like I'm missing something when I read anything abridged. Am I getting the full intention of the writer? I have no idea.


Cynthia Nixon was great as the narrator. She has a wonderful voice and she put her own touch on every character. She was a joy to listen to.


Now on to the story... The novel revolves around the lives of the very rich of New York society jut after 9/11. The most sympathetic character, I believe, is Frankie, a pediatrician to the rich who also volunteers her time to the poorer children of New York. Her clients are spoiled and self-absorbed and I'm not talking about the kids. Most are women and social climbers who would run over their grandmothers to be mentioned in the society papers. The title comes from a grammar book, "The Elements of Style" mentioned by one of the characters. The idea is that the women would give anything to have a similar guide book for getting to the top of the social food chain.


At times, the novel had the feel of Edith Wharton, especially at the beginning. It was witty satire. I laughed while being appalled at the amount of money these people would spend on dinner parties or purses. However, the novel takes a turn quickly to the tragic. It veered off into a very dark place and ended quite abruptly. I was left feeling cheated and disappointed.


Although I didn't care for this book, I would go audio again. It's great for 1. cleaning the bathroom, and 2. longs trips in the car.


1.5/5

1 comment :

  1. I don't listen to audios because I never have much time to sit still and can't stand headphones, but when I tried them (in the tub - didn't work well because it made the cassettes stick) I found that Dick Francis' books translated well to audio. I also always look for audios with a "cast" instead of just a single narrator for long road trips. Those are usually really fun to listen to.

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