Tuesday, September 16, 2008

144 - Riding Lessons; Sara Gruen

I became a fan of Sara Gruen's after reading her wonderful novel, Water For Elephants, so I decided to try her first book Riding Lessons. This review is based on the audio version.

When Annemarie Zimmer was 18, she was a world class equestrian. One day during a competition, a tragic accident destroyed her riding career. Anne Marie was in a coma and her beloved horse Harry had to be put to death. Once she recovered she marries, has a bratty daughter, and eventually gets divorced. Now 20 years later she heads for her parents horse farm in New Hampshire when she learns that her father is dying. The story continues, and her life once again changes.

Here is what Publisher's Weekly says about the audio version of this book. I could not say it any better, and it is exactly how I feel about this audio book.

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. When the main character in a novel is as annoying as a boil, an audio performer must be thrilled at the chance to portray someone who isn't particularly nice or competent. Maggi-Meg Reed's Annemarie shouts, cries, whines, cajoles and lies her way through escalating crises. Reed is superb. She does an equally adept rendering of the other characters, including Annemarie's mother, with her thick Austrian accent and tight-lipped stoic voice. Eve, Annemarie's daughter, is a perfectly petulant teenager, speaking to her mother in a strident and querulous tone. A local policewoman has such a perfect New Hampshire accent that one wonders why the other locals don't. Despite the unsympathetic Annemarie, Reed's stellar performance makes Gruen's 2004 debut novel hard to turn off.

There were times when I was so sick on Anne Marie's whining, I wanted to end it all, but despite this, it was a sweet story so I had to continue. It is totally different than Water For Elephants, but none the less a good read.

RATING - 4/5 - COMPLETED - 9/16/08

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