Sunday, January 25, 2015

Book Review: Eight Cousins (Eight Cousins #1) by Louisa May Alcott

Eight Cousins Cover Review of the audiobook version of this beloved children's classic narrated by Barbara Caruso

Eight Cousins (Eight Cousins #1) by Louisa May Alcott

Reading Level: Young Adult
Audible.com Release Date: January 15, 2013
Publisher: Recorded Books
Listening Length: 7 hours and 39 minutes
Source: Purchase
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

After obtaining this version of Eight Cousins on Amazon, I followed the link to Audible listed on this product page and got an audiobook version as well at an extremely affordable price.

I am posting this audiobook review using the format that Audible recommends:

Overall: 5 stars

Performance: 5 stars

Story: 5 stars

Q. What made the experience of listening to Eight Cousins the most enjoyable?

A. It is well performed, and it is a book so beautifully written with such appealing content, it stands up very well to being read aloud--which lesser books do not.

Q. What did you like best about this story?

A. The ideas on health and healing, education, and women's role in society expressed by Dr. Alec Campbell are remarkably advanced. He would be very much at home in the company of holistic physicians of the modern world and is a perfect model of a "liberated," feminist male. He is extremely kind, generous, nurturing, and attentive to his sickly, heartbroken, 13-year-old, orphaned niece, Rose, the heroine of this novel.

For readers who enjoy stories rooted in family life, the Campbell clan offers a joyful vision of the many pleasures of being a treasured member of a close-knit, extended family.

Q. Which character - as performed by Barbara Caruso - was your favorite?

A. There were three favorites: Rose, the 13-year-old heroine; Aunt Plenty, Rose's sixty-something great-aunt, and Pokey, a four-year-old little girl. Ms. Caruso is outstanding with female voices of all ages. However, she does not attempt to do male voices authentically, other than to very slightly deepen and roughen her voice to indicate adult males. To be fair, though, in my personal experience, few female narrators do male voices outstandingly, a notable exception being the late Anna Fields (AKA Kate Fleming).

Q. Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

A. It made me both laugh and cry. Rose formed important one-on-one relationships with many different relatives and several friends, but the most significant and moving relationships were Rose and Uncle Alec, Rose and the 15-year-old family maid, Phoebe, and Rose and her 15-year-old cousin Mac. I loved the way Uncle Alec encouraged Rose's innate tendency to compassion, and she found frequent opportunities to express her generosity and kindness as she assisted and nurtured Phoebe and Mac.

Q. Any additional comments?

A. It was a huge pleasure to re-experience this book, which I so dearly loved in my childhood and shared with my own children, as an audiobook performance. Hearing it narrated by an excellent voice talent greatly enhanced what was already a long-time love affair with this book.

Overall: 5

Performance: 5

Story: 5

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