Thursday, December 22, 2011

Audiobook Review: The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Euginedes

Reviewed by Ingrid

The lovely people at Macmillan Audiobooks noticed that we mentioned The Marriage Plot here on The Blue Bookcase (perhaps they saw it was on my TBR list for Winter?) and very kindly offered to send me a free audiobook. Christina let me borrow her physical copy of the book, which she reviewed last month. Luckily I had the perfect opportunity to listen and read - a road trip with my husband to visit his family in Arizona.

I only have two experiences with audiobooks that I can remember. When I was in Middle School [is that supposed to be capitalized ? I forgot],  I had a copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on CD that I listened to just about every night as I went to sleep. We also owned a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird on tape (yes, real tapes) that we listened to over and over again on road trips we took as a family. I loved listening to both these audiobooks, and I assumed listening to this audiobook of The Marriage Plot would be just as enjoyable.

However, there were a few things that I didn't like so much about it. When I moved back and forth from listening to David Pittu read to reading the text myself, I noticed that the way I visualized the characters changed dramatically. I didn't realize that the way a book is read could have such a great influence on the way I viewed the characters and my opinions of them. David Pittu read all of Madeleine's dialogue in a falsetto voice that I couldn't quite take seriously. My husband and I would periodically look at each other when Madeleine said something and laugh. I imagined her as a transvestite with major attitude and poor self esteem. Pittu would read Madaleine's words in a way that made her seem unsure of herself and I really didn't like that. There were a few passages where Madeleine would say something that I would consider sarcastic, but Pittu would read it in an earnest tone that didn't seem to fit the situation. However, when I actually read Madeleine's dialogue with my own eyes she came across as confident and funny.

Another thing - I'm a fairly fast reader, so it surprised me how looong it took it took this guy to read to me! I think it took about 4 or 5 hours to just get through 100 pages. This made me antsy, especially at the good parts where I just read ahead in Christina's copy. I know that speaking words takes longer than reading them in your head, but I guess I just didn't expect it to be that much slower. The nice thing is that I have much more stamina when it comes to listening as opposed to reading, especially during 6 hour car trips, so after a comfortable combination of reading and listening I finished this book in just 2 days.

Overall, though I wasn't thrilled with David Pittu's reading, I loved The Marriage Plot and I'm glad I had the opportunity to listen to the audiobook on my road trip. Thanks Macmillan for so kindly sending me the audiobook and Christina for so kindly letting me borrow her copy.

I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.