Audiobook Review: Life: An Exploded Diagram
By: Mal Peet
Publisher: Brilliance Audio for Candlewick
Source: From Billiance Audio for Review
Clem, a working-class boy living in government-assisted housing, and Frankie, the daughter of a wealthy landowner, must keep their relationship secret. If it’s discovered, their world will be blown apart.But unknown to them, President John F. Kennedy and the Russian leader, Nikita Khruschev, are shaping up to do just that...
I loved the ending of the book-it brought everything full circle. The book itself I found interesting-the juxtaposition of major historical events with Frankie and Clem’s personal history. I was fascinated by the way it was told-alternating in telling past events (from Clem’s birth through his teen years) through third person “narrator Clem” and then present events through first person adult Clem. Third person narrator Clem also tells readers what is happening through the Cuban Missile Crisis events with fascinating details like JFK’s many illnesses (who knew?).
It took me a while to figure it out the narrator structure, but I found it interesting in light of the themes of what constitutes major and minor historical events.
Overall, the book started slow, got better, slowed again in some parts, while compelling in others until the final explosion (literally) -ironically coupled with the non-explosion of the Cuban Missile Crisis and then current historical events in light of Clem and Frankie’s personal history coming round again.
Simon Vance, the audiobook narrator, does an excellent job as the droll third-person-then-first-person narrator Clem- a hard feat to pull off well.
Overall, definitely a book for history fans, for those wanting to know more about JFK and those who like seeing the role of history played out on a small scale and large scale simultaneously- a good read if you can survive a few dull spots.