I listened to this in audiobook format. The story was narrated by the author's daughter, Lizza Aiken who also provided an introduction as to how her mI listened to this in audiobook format. The story was narrated by the author's daughter, Lizza Aiken who also provided an introduction as to how her mother came to write the book which I found very interesting. This is a typical quest fairy-tale story. The two main characters, Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia are sent to what is workhouse masquerading as a school by their new governess, Miss Slighcarp who plays the role of Evil Stepmother.
The rest of the story is how the girls overcome great odds to restore themselves to their former life and send the evildoers to their just rewards. I enjoyed settling back and listening to the fairy tale. I rooted for the girls and their allies and hissed at Miss Slighcarp and her henchmen. ...more
This book didn't turn out to be what I expected. For some reason I thought that this would be about how the animals at a zoo were cared for during WWIThis book didn't turn out to be what I expected. For some reason I thought that this would be about how the animals at a zoo were cared for during WWII. What it was instead was a history of the invasion of Poland and particularly the occupation of Warsaw. It was told mainly from the experiences of one family who had been the zookeepers before the war broke out, Jan and Antonina.
I thought that the author padded the story unnecessarily with overlong descriptions and lists of things that didn't have any bearing on the story. In addition, I was listening to this in the audiobook format, so that made skimming through the numerous lists and flowery descriptions a problem. For example, how many types of lampshades do you think they sell in a lampshade store in 1940? I can now tell you, and describe each facet of them in great detail. This is because Antonina stayed in the shop for a few days during the initial capture of Warsaw. This wasn't central to the story.
Many times as I was listening to this book I just kept thinking, get on with it already! Don't get me wrong, this is centrally a story about the horrors of war, and some of it's heroes who risked their own lives to save Jews. It's a noble story, it just needed a good editor.
I listened to this on audiobook format during part of the time that I was reading Doris Lessing’s, The Grass is Singing and contrast of climates was sI listened to this on audiobook format during part of the time that I was reading Doris Lessing’s, The Grass is Singing and contrast of climates was shocking. Going from the bitter Russian winter in and around Leningrad to the oppressive African heat of Zimbabwe sometimes took a little time to transition to mentally. Maybe I’ve read too much WWII fiction lately, but this book just left me a little (ahem) cold.
I liked the audiobook format narrated by Ron Perlman. Don’t get me wrong, the writing was good. The story, set during a week of the Nazi siege of Leningrad, was just a little bleak for me right now. The book centers around two ‘thieves’ who are ordered on a quest by a high-ranking German official who needs a dozen eggs so that his daughter can have cake at her wedding. 17-year-old Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. To avoid the prospect of execution, they set out find the dozen eggs. Their journey takes them through beleaguered, starving Leningrad and out into the frozen countryside surrounding Leningrad.
There was one particularly horrifying scene of torture (as least it was to me) that I would have skipped over had I been reading a printed copy of the book. As it was I listened to the whole thing. I’m sure it was in keeping with the types of things that were done during the war. I just wasn’t didn’t really want to listen to another atrocity. I’m giving this a 3 star rating, because the writing was good; the story moved along at a good pace; and liked the two main characters. But eventually the bleakness of the whole situation and the unfair turns life sometimes takes was just a bit much for my reading psyche at the moment. ...more
This story about Lillian Leyb’s life set in the early to mid-1900’s had promise that I just don’t think delivered. Lillian’s family was killed duringThis story about Lillian Leyb’s life set in the early to mid-1900’s had promise that I just don’t think delivered. Lillian’s family was killed during a pogrom in Russia in the early 1900’s. She then journeys to America where she seems to float along, making a life for herself in in the Yiddish theater district in New York City. When a cousin brings word to Lillian that her young daughter, Sophie, survived the slaughter in Russia and was adopted by a family who moved to Siberia, Lillian sets out on a quest to find her daughter.
I had to suspend disbelief as Lillian made her away across the US in a broom closet of a train, then stayed in Seattle for awhile with a prostitute named, Gumdrop Brown. From there she went to Alaska to attempt to walk across Alaska and then sail across the Bering Sea to Siberia to find Sophie. I wasn’t compelled to like Lillian. A lot of the gritty scenes in the book might be historically accurate for the era, but they seemed more like a loosely connected set of short stories rather than a cohesive novel. Many of the stories seemed too far-fetched for me. I found myself thinking, “Oh brother, what now? Really?” as more and more outlandish stories were piled one on top of another as the book progressed. ...more
This book appeared on the Top 100 Best Dark Humor Books in Goodreads' Listopia lists, so I thought I'd give it a shot since reading a book from this lThis book appeared on the Top 100 Best Dark Humor Books in Goodreads' Listopia lists, so I thought I'd give it a shot since reading a book from this list was a required task for the Reading with Style Group’s Winter Challenge. I knew going into it, that this is not one of my favorite genres so perhaps I was already pre-disposed to dislike it. But I REALLY disliked this book which surprised me since one of my friends who usually shares my reading tastes highly recommended it.
I suppose the ironic way in which the story was told by the main character could sometimes be humorous. But the mix of mafia entanglements and shenanigans coupled with the vagaries of life in a hospital just wasn't something I really wanted to read about. I didn't care about the characters who did really ugly violent things to themselves or to others. The heavy dose of cynicism and explicit descriptions of violence just left me cold. I guess I don’t really like reading about the underbelly of modern society.
I originally gave this book a 4 star rating, but after waiting about six weeks to write the review, I've upped it to 5 stars. The story is just so endI originally gave this book a 4 star rating, but after waiting about six weeks to write the review, I've upped it to 5 stars. The story is just so endearing. It's witty, and captures the language and mores of the fast living set of London circa 1938.
I listened to this in audiobook format. It was narrated by Frances McDormand who played Miss Pettigrew in the 2008 film. She captured the voices and the essence of the book perfectly. I don't know if I would have liked the book so well if I'd read it in print format. Miss Pettigrew (unbeknownst to herself) makes all the right responses to the various social dilemmas posed to her throughout the day. Her down-to-earth perspective is just what this group of self-centered folks she encounters needs to help set their worlds straight. In the process she manages to set her own world straight too. I found it to be a delightful read. ...more
There seemed to be way too much time spent introducing and describing each village character in the book, and enough time spent on plot develpement. IThere seemed to be way too much time spent introducing and describing each village character in the book, and enough time spent on plot develpement. I thought that this book was paced VERY slowly. But perhaps this is setting up the rest of the books in the series. I'm hoping that the case anyway as I'm willing to give the second book in the series a try. ...more
I love the audiobook versions of Chet and Bernie's adventures. The narrator just captures Chet's voice so perfectly. I'm looking forward to Chet and BI love the audiobook versions of Chet and Bernie's adventures. The narrator just captures Chet's voice so perfectly. I'm looking forward to Chet and Bernie returning home soon. They've had some big adventures in Louisiana, and now Washington DC - but I'd like to see them back on their home turf again.
This was another fun romp through Chet's eyes that included spies, drones, backroom politics, Bernie trying to talk coherently to Suzie Sanches and not nearly enough Slim Jims!...more