Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The bloom? OFF the rose.

Remember how excited I was to discover books on tape? Remember how I enthused, how I gushed, how very uncharacteristically thrilled I was about the idea of having some dude read a book to me as I drove?

Well, it's over. Over, I say.

Oh, at first it was lovely. Dulcet tones in the morning, interesting stories to listen to, all this new discovery to... well, to discover. But then the truth came out, as it always does.

It started, ironically enough, with Jennifer Weiner's newest book "Certain Girls." I read her because the books may have the faintest air of chick-lit about them (I detest that phrase, and the pink high-heeled covers that seem to always accompany these books) but they are in fact hilariously funny. And well-written. And frequently a bit edgy, too, which I always appreciate (being somewhat edgy my own self).

I loved "Certain Girls". I liked listening to the actors who read the piece, I liked the story, I liked the ending. So, having had a taste of this excellent writing, I checked "Goodnight Nobody" out of the library, and THEN I realized.

It. Was. Abridged.

Abridged! They took out all the funniest bits, ("Janey Segal, of the Carpet Segals") and the poignant bits (the main character's relationship with her mother) and almost all of the interaction with that marvelously awful daycare lady. All that was left was the picked-over carcass of the book.

Then I got out yet another book on tape ("I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You" - a young adult book about a boarding school for spies, of course) and it was read by this awful, grating, chippy young voice that abraded my eardrums every morning. The squeaking chalk of my grade 7 French class when they write answers on the board has NOTHING on the voice of that narrator.

I am, dear reader, shattered. I was led up the garden path, as they say, by the loveliness of my first experiences, and reality has set in. I am back to my daily commute in silence (actually, with my mom's John Wort Hannam CD, if we're being brutally honest - hi mom!), admiring the scenery and watching the countryside slowly thaw out. (Except this morning, when my white-knuckled grip was all that kept the car on the snow and freezing rain covered surface that was highway 2.) It's not too bad, but still. It's not as nice as having someone read to me.

I'm still on the lookout for unabridged books on tape by people with attractive voices whose writing I like. Good thing I'm not picky, eh?

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