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The Heights by Peter Hedges (audio book)

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Teresa's Reading Corner: The Heights by Peter Hedges (audio book)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Heights by Peter Hedges (audio book)

Narrated by: 
     Peter Hedges
     Any Ryan
     Alison Pill

Unabridged CDs, 7 CDs, 8 hours 
Released March 2010 by Penguin

Synopsis from Penguin:Tim Welch is a popular history teacher at the Montague Academy, an exclusive private school in Brooklyn Heights. As he says, "I was an odd-looking, gawky kid but I like to think my rocky start forced me to develop empathy, kindness, and a tendency to be enthusiastic. All of this, I'm now convinced, helped in my quest to be worthy of Kate Oliver." Now, Kate is not inherently ordinary. But she aspires to be. She stays home with their two young sons in a modest apartment trying desperately to become the parent she never had. They are seemingly the last middle-class family in the Heights, whose world is turned upside down by Anna Brody, the new neighbor who moves into the most expensive brownstone in Brooklyn, sending the local society into a tailspin.

Anna is not only beautiful and wealthy; she's also mysterious. And for reasons Kate doesn't quite understand, even as all the Range Rover- driving moms jockey for invitations into Anna's circle, Anna sets her sights on Kate and Tim and brings them into her world. 

My thoughts:  I wasn't really sure what to expect when I popped in the first disk.  Hedges is a new to me author.  If I am honest I have to say that I probably wouldn't have picked this one up on my own based on the cover art.  (yes, I am influenced by these things) I will say that I loved the narrators.  Their voices easily guided me through the story.  The story is told in segments narrated by the different characters.  An approach that was new to me just a few months ago, but appears to be increasingly popular. 

This story had potential but I think it fell short.  The characters never felt connected to one another and I never connected with them.  There wasn't much depth to the characters or to the story.  Kate and Tim are often described as being "normal".  I think this couldn't be further from the truth.  I suppose if life were like a soap opera they would be considered the "normal" couple.  Their relationship was nowhere near normal.  Kate and Tim NEVER communicate with one another.  

The author goes off on tangents on occasion into seemingly unrelated stories involving Tim's parents and sister or some of the other mothers in their circle.  There were a couple of these tangents that did eventually wind back around, but weren't really necessary in the story as a whole.  There are a couple of segments that are pretty sexually explicit.  I'm still undecided as to whether they were needed to tell the story or just there to grab a certain audience.  I'm leaning toward the latter.  

My copy of The Heights was sent to me by the publisher as part of a contest win.  This is my honest opinion of the story. 

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