Friday, November 2, 2007

Intelligent designs

Well, any audiobooks we receive in the mail now will not be considered by our committee for its 2008 list. Whew! We have quite enough on our plates, as we got a raft of titles from Random House, Listening Library, Recorded Books and even Scholastic in the past two weeks. You may recall that I've expressed worry that are nominations list isn't very long, but I think that's about to change. Thus far, the Listening Library batch has resulted in four nominations: Thirteen Reasons Why (mine), Before I Die, Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, and Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature. (There were also two other titles from other publishers nominated ... yikes, must get listening.)

So, this post is about Evolution, Me .... Which I didn't like. I mean, I did like the story, very much actually. A devout Christian teen named Mena has incurred the ire of her church by supporting a young gay parishioner, and she has been ostracized by her church friends -- all of whom attend her school. She is searching for new friends (does this plot sound familiar?), and fortunately finds one in her new lab partner, Casey. Casey (male) comes from a very enlightened family, who quickly sweep Mena up and put her to work in supporting her science teacher, Ms. Shepherd -- who is being pressured to teach intelligent design as a scientific alternative to evolution. Mena is not sure how she feels being the spokesperson -- even anonymously -- for people of faith who believe in the theory of evolution, but she definitely falling in like with Casey, so she becomes biblegrrrl and stands up on the side of right (well, at least on my side of right!).

But I didn't like the narrator. To me, she sounded too old, she read too deliberately, and she really needed a drink of water. (I'm listening to the last disk right now since yesterday when I began this post I couldn't remember what I didn't like about her.) It seemed like she was trying really hard to "be" a teenager, and I think she really slowed down the pace of this charming story.

The audio version finished up with an interview between the author and (I am waiting to get to this part on the disk) Kenneth Miller, who is a Brown professor who professes both Christian faith and belief in evolution. This was very interesting; again, I'm very glad that Listening Library chooses to flesh out the end of its audiobooks with this kind of value-added stuff.

On the other hand, Listening Library, what happened to Jim Dale? He doesn't finish off the books with his little paean to audiobook listening. Nobody does ... it just doesn't seem right!

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