Audiobook Mini-reviews: The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson; The Help by Kathryn Stockett; and Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman

Title: The Girl Who Stopped Swimming
Author: Joshilyn Jackson
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library; audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Joshilyn Jackson
First line: Until the drowned girl came to Laurel’s bedroom, ghosts had never walked in Victorianna.

There are many, many authors who should never read their own audiobooks, and a select few who should. Fortunately, Joshilyn Jackson is in the latter group – her reading was perfect. I loved the ghost story element and the characters were quirky and interesting. The mystery kept me guessing until the end, and yet it was more than just a mystery – it was a terrific family drama that dealt with some heavy issues (incest, poverty) brilliantly. I will definitely be looking for more from this author.

Title: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, Cassandra Campbell
First line: Mae Mobley was born on an early Sunday morning in August, 1960.

There is really nothing I can say about The Help that hasn’t already been said, except maybe this: If you haven’t read it yet, what on earth are you waiting for? And if you do audiobooks, that is definitely the way to go with this one – the readers were amazing. I am thrilled to learn that Octavia Spencer, the actress who read the part of Minnie, is also playing Minnie in the upcoming film version. This book would rate more than five stars if my rating system allowed for it – it’s an example of the best of literature.

Title: Red Hook Road
Author: Ayelet Waldman
Genre: Contemporary fiction, literary fiction
Publisher: Doubleday
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Kimberly Farr
First line: The flower girl had lost her basket of rose petals and could not bear to have the photograph taken without it.

The plot of this book made me think it would be a difficult book to read: a young couple is killed in a car accident between the church and the reception hall on their wedding day. Sounds depressing, right? The book follows the family members left behind that summer and for the next three summers, and while parts of it were very sad, it is a wonderful read. I love the way Waldman dealt with the Maine mentality – you are either a Mainer, or a from-away – no matter how many summers you’ve spent there or how deep your family roots go into the Maine soil. This is very much a character-driven book, and yet the plot never drags. I will be looking for Waldman’s other books.

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15 Responses to Audiobook Mini-reviews: The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson; The Help by Kathryn Stockett; and Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman

  1. S. Krishna
    Twitter: skrishna
    says:

    I’m just now getting into audiobooks, and am loving the experience! I’ve mainly been sticking with memoirs and light fiction, but it looks like more literary fiction would work as well!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Swapna – I’m glad you’re enjoying audiobooks! If you ever want some suggestions, let me know – there are some truly amazing readers working in audiobooks, and certain books just work that way really well.

  2. Lisa Brown says:

    Ooh! I’ve been thinking about adding The Help to my audiobook list – but wasn’t sure if it would be any good. After your review – I’m adding it right away!

  3. You’re not the first person to mention that Jackson does a wonderful job of reading her books. Wow, all three of these sound like winners!!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Kathy – I’ve read (or listened to) a lot of southern fiction lately, and am really enjoying it. Definitely will be reading her other books!

  4. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    I just ordered two Joshilyn Jackson audio books! I can’t wait. Red Hook Road is also on my list. I can’t stand it! How can I read them all!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sandy – you can do it! Or you probably can’t, but you’ll have fun trying. 😉

  5. carol
    Twitter: carolsnotebook
    says:

    I so wish now that I had listened to The Help instead of reading it. Red Hook Road sounds a little too sad for me, though.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Carol – it certainly isn’t cheerful, but still well written. And you an always do a re-read of The Help via audio!

  6. Pingback: Speaking of Joshilyn Jackson… « Hachette Audio Favorites

  7. Amy says:

    I’m a big Waldman fan so I’m glad you liked RED HOOK ROAD!

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