Jim B's Reviews > May the Road Rise Up to Meet You

May the Road Rise Up to Meet You by Peter Troy
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's review
Jul 21, 2012

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bookshelves: great-audio-narrators, historical-fiction
Read from July 21 to August 17, 2012

This novel (currently only in audio book form) has several creative twists going for it. First of all, there are four main characters whose lives start out as different as can be, and eventually the story comes together in one narrative. Secondly, the audio book format the four main men and women (Ethan, Micah, Marcella and Mary) each have their own narrator, and some of these narrators bring their characters to life (see review of the narrators below). Then there is the format of the book. The story is often told as though the action is happening to "you": "then you discover that . . ." which puts you behind the eyeballs of the person whose portion of the story it is at that moment. Fourthly, the story arc covers a fascinating time in history, from "The Hungers" of Ireland and death and emigration of its people, to slavery in the south, to the art of photography and the beginnings of baseball, to the Civil war and its aftermath including the discussion of suffrage for blacks and women.Finally, the novel uses letters, journals, and dreams as well as the storytellers themselves to carry the plot forward. Peter Troy has thrown a lot into this debut novel!

I am a fan of books where you get to know the characters and care about them. Here, too, the novel succeeds well.

I felt the book was weak in an important area: the four central characters were very twenty-first century in their attitudes, opinions and way of communicating. Marcella especially was up-to-date in her views on women's rights. Women of that period who believed in women's rights would have had some quirks or at least ways of dealing with the opinions of those around them. Supposedly Marcella was from Spain, but she seemed like a very modern American -- in fact the only character with no trace of her cultural background or speech patterns of the four.

I also felt that the book made the characters a little too successful and superior to other human beings.

As for the narrators:
Ethan McOwen -- by John Keating, whose Irish brogue was always apt -- RATES 4 out of 5 stars
Micah Plowshare -- by Adam Lazarre-White, whose deep voice and pleasant way of speaking made Micah the strongest character in the book -- RATES 5 stars!
Mary and Gertie -- by Allyson Johnson, whose accents and voices brought the South to life -- RATES 4 of 5 stars
Marcella -- by Barrie Kreinik. She may have been the "celebrity" choice for narrating Marcella, but I am convinced she was a mismatch. What a joy a Latina would have been in the part, especially with Marcella's coquettish ways! Barrie Kreinik's voice came across as an actress enjoying herself doing a role. It was a jarringly modern voice among all the others. RATES 3 of 5 stars.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by booklady (new)

booklady Thanks for all the detail Jim!

Katie I completely agree about the Marcella narrator. Such a disappointment compared to the other three.

Catherine Kreiger You sold me on this Jim. I am recommending this book to my book club group.

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