Thursday, December 8, 2011

Audiobook Review: One Summer by David Baldacci

Title:  One Summer

Author:  David Baldacci

Narrators:  Ron McClarty and Orlagh Cassidy

Unabridged Length: 8 hrs, 15 mn

Here is a summary of One Summer from the Hachette website:

It's almost Christmas, but there is no joy in the house of terminally ill Jack and his family. With only a short time left to live, he spends his last days preparing to say goodbye to his devoted wife, Lizzie, and their three children. Then, unthinkably, tragedy strikes again: Lizzie is killed in a car accident. With no one able to care for them, the children are separated from each other and sent to live with family members around the country. Just when all seems lost, Jack begins to recover in a miraculous turn of events. He rises from what should have been his deathbed, determined to bring his fractured family back together. Struggling to rebuild their lives after Lizzie's death, he reunites everyone at Lizzie's childhood home on the oceanfront in South Carolina. And there, over one unforgettable summer, Jack will begin to learn to love again, and he and his children will learn how to become a family once more.

My Review:
This novel is so unlike Baldacci's thrillers that we are accustomed to, but it is a welcome change for me.  As an audiobook McClarty and Cassidy embraced the listeners by making me want to hear more every day I was in my car.  Quite often when I am listening to a book I find that my attention does have a tendency to wander, but I don't think that happened once, and if I happened to miss something I had to rewind it to make sure I didn't miss a thing!

Jack is terminally ill with three children that need parental guidance at home.  Knowing his time on earth is limited, he agrees with his mother-in-law as he watches his children being separated to live with various family members, while he lies alone in a hospice center  just waiting to take his last breath.  He ends up spending a lot of time in the hospice center when he not only lives longer than expected, but suddenly seems to recover.  When he is finally given a clean bill of health months after his admittance, the doctors are amazed at the miracle that Jack seems to have spun.

At the hesitance of his family members, Jack is able to get his kids back together again and living with him.  Not long after their reunion, when life seems to be getting back to some form of normalcy, the kids maternal great-grandmother passes away and leave a South Carolina beach home to Jack and his family.  Jack is surprised that he was chosen to inherit this piece of property, but as a carpenter she figured that Jack is the one who would give the home the care that it needed.

So Jack, his kids, and his best friend Sammy, pack up all of their belongings to go investigate the beach property, that the family has always called 'The Castle'.  When they arrive at the castle they are astonished to find The Castle is basically a dilapidated beach house, but the kids have hope that this will not be their permanent residence.  Although things look rough on the surface, Jack sees the beautiful home that this could be once again.

A lot happens to Jack and his family during that summer at The Castle.  For a bit Jack seems to lose himself in the construction projects, while his kids drift further away from him.  When he finally realizes that his priorities are out of whack they all make some changes that bring them back to a family level.  The only problem is that it may be too late for these changes.

This was a great audiobook, one that I think I enjoyed more than if I had actually read it.  With themes of love, miracles, and family obligations, you will want to hear every word that is spoken.  I do not hesitate in recommending this selection in the audioversion.

My Rating: 4/5

Disclosure:  This audiobook was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


bermudaonion said...

I've hesitated on this one since it's so different from his other work. I'm glad to see it's so good.

The Lawver's said...

I absolutely LOVED this book and welcomed the change in writing style for David. It was nice to see he's not all 'blood and guts'...:) Thanks for the great review!

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

I read this book and loved it! Couldn't you just feel the sand between your toes?

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

This sound like one I might enjoy. It seems like a nice change for Baldacci.