The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner, Narrator: Olivia Thirlby

The Next Best Thing
Jennifer Weiner
Narrator: Olivia Thirlby
12 hours 9 minutes
Simon & Schuster AudioWorks

The Next Best Thing Jennifer Weiner
Narrator Jennifer Weiner

Narrator Olivia Thirlby reading The Next Best Thing
Olivia Thirlby

Narrator Olivia Thirlby, maintains an appropriate low key voice from beginning to end of the book, staying in sync with the overall message of the story. Her dialogs are very well done, with characteristics of each person coming through nicely. Thirlby, narrates so well, that you soon find your not listening but engaged, while she is bringing into your mind vivid imagery of events and conversations. Her voice is pleasant and easy on the ears. It was especially enjoyable that Olivia Thirlby, is close to the age of our protagonist, Ruth Sauders, and she is a skilled enough narrator to do older people in a way that is appropriate and not offensive.
An excellent narrator, I can confidently recommend that any book she narrates, is going to be an excellent listen. If you have not heard any other narrations by Olivia Thirlby, then Jennifer Weiners, The Next Best Thing, is an excellent one to start with.  Jennifer Weiner's books are not the run of the mill, girl meets boy, her plots are more robust and realistic, easily related to by the reader.

I thank Simon & Schuster for providing a fine 11 CD, set of The Next Best Thing for review. This has not in anyway influenced my review of the narrator, Olivia Thirlby or Jennifer Weiner's, The Next Best Thing. I have been a fan of Weiner's for a long time. 

Tragedy occurs in the life of Ruth Saunders at a very young age, leaving a lifetime of emotional and physical problems. As Ruth adjusts to living with her already aging grandmother, and dealing with with physical pain and tragic losses, we are lead on a journey of one young woman's determination to overcome all obstacles and debilities to achieve her dreams of success and fulfillment. Her grandmother, is a spry and very active seventy years old, when Ruth decides it time to move to Hollywood to further her ambitions to become a screenwriter. With grandmother in tow, they make the move and find that they like living in a metropolis.

 Each makes her way in this new environment with the support of each other, yet, without encroaching on each others life. Ruth finds she has fallen in love with her boss at her first important job, but it turns out to be unrequited love, when he marries another woman, on the very next day, after she's confessed her feelings for him and more. Crushed she knows she cannot face him and feels humiliated. She goes into an emotional retreat to regain control of her feelings. Ruth has earned an impressive work record and through a friend finds another job, one that is even more fulfilling than the last one.

Grandmother meantime, is having the time of her life, and finding new people to party with and interesting men to date. This is encouraging to older people, that aging need not mean an end to a fascinating and fun social life. When grandmother decides to remarry and move out of their shared apartment, Ruth has to pull herself together quickly and decide where she is going to with her life. We are moved through all the ups and downs of Ruth and grandmother's social and work life, holding our breath to see how Ruth deals with her physical handicap, and a broken heart from her first love interest, to how grandmother finds love and marriage again, late in life.

It's a sad, yet, heartwarming story. The characters are well developed so you feel their pain, and joys, cheering for them to succeed. The love and friendship between Ruth and her grandmother is touching and inspiring. In the end will Ruth find the happiness we know she deserves? Yes, she does, and with someone you will not suspect. Listen to the book and discover how and who will deserve her love. I personally, did not find any of the usual quips and laugh out loud lines in this book. It is far more somber and serious than Weiner's other books. Nonetheless it is a good book and worthy of reading again and again. With a good narrator, like Thirlby, it's a winner all the way around.

The Next Best Thing  by, Jennifer Weiner  


DMS said...

I have read books by Jennifer Weiner and enjoyed them. Glad to hear this audio is a hit all around. I look forward to listening to it!
Great review!

Cara Membesarkan said...

good posting about The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner Narrator Olivia Thirlby