Tuesday, November 3, 2009
the ride of our lives: Roadside Lessons of an American Family
Author: Mike (Michael) Leonard (Read by Marc Cashman)
Publisher: Books on Tape Books on CD (A division of Random House)
Text Copyright Date: 2006
Production Copyright Date: 2006
Length: 7 Discs (7 hours 50 minutes)(Unabridged)
Book Description (from back cover of case):
An uproariously funny audiobook from NBC's Today Show correspondent Mike Leonard.
Mike Leonard is a lucky man. It's not everyone who get parents like Jack and Marge. At eighty-seven, Jack is a pathological optimist with an inexhaustible gift of gab. Marge, Jack's bride of sixty years, though cut from the same rough bolt of Irish immigrant cloth, is his polar opposite — pessimistic and proud of it. What was their son, Mike, thinking when he took a sabatical from his job with NBC News so he could pile these two world-class originals along with three of his grown kids and a daughter-in-law into a pair of rented RVs and hit the road for a month?
Mike was thinking that he wanted to give his parents teh ultimate family reunion. And so, one February morning, three generations of Leonard set out on their journey under the dazzling Arizonia sky. Thirty minutes later, one of teh humongous recreational vehicles has an unplanned meeting with a concrete island at a convenience store. Thus begins the adventure of a lifetime — and an absolute gem of an audiobook.
I decided to read this because...
I said in my introduction post of this blog that I'll read just about anything. That doesn't mean, however, that I don't tend toward certain genres - and away from others. This isn't my usual sort of book. So why did I read it?
I was exploring the local library's website, and came across a program all the libraries in this area (from several districts) are involved in to, I guess, community build. This program has a family theme and suggested three books, one adult, one YA, one children's. This was the adult selection, and I decided (being the flexible — when it comes to books — person I am), to give it a try.
I almost ordered the print copy, but saw an audiocopy was available and thought it would be the perfect medium to read this type of book. A choice I do not regret.
As a newcomer of sorts to audiobooks, who reads the audiobook is a big deal. My first audiobook (by Luanne Rice, I don't remember the title) was so slloooowwww and dragggged out. I finished it just to get it over with and expect I would have liked it in print better. My second audiobook — The Big Sleep, a classic detective book — was read by Elliott Gould. He was perfect for that type of detective narrating (BTW, for those who don't know, Elliott Gould is also an actor. I recognized his voice — not his name — from the Ocean's (11, 12, 13) movies). Anyway, I was a bit aprehensive about which way this one would go.
It took me a couple tracks to get comfortable listening to Marc Cashman read this book, but by the end, when he says (on the last track) "This is Marc Cashman," I mentally protested. Seriously, for a couple seconds, I was all, "No you're not! You're Mike Leo... Oh. Yeah. You're the reader. You're Marc Cashman." (Kinda embarrassing to admit.) He was fairly good at accents, of which he had several to read. Texas Southern, N'Awlins Southern, Georgia Southern, Rhode Island Eastern... Not to mention young (child), young (teen), elderly, middle aged... and male/female (female was, as could be expected, his weakest, in my Midwestern American opinion).
This is already long, so I'll try to keep the rest short...
The story itself was fun and often times funny. It had its poignant moments, its thoughtful moments, its interesting moments, its inspiring moments, and its boring moments (this is a man writing about his life — no one's life is always interesting, even when edited for a book). In the end, I'm glad I decided to try it.
As a(nother) side note: Language I could have ignored in a print book — mostly sh- and various forms of the Lord's name (which may or may not bother you, depending on who "you" are) — was much more out there and difficult to ignore.