The Watsons Go to Birmingham–1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis, narrated by LeVar Burton: This book is hilarious. We seriously spent most of the book laughing at all of the crazy situations Kenny and his family got themselves into. It starts with his brother Byron getting his mouth stuck to the car mirror in the freezing cold, and then it just goes on from there. There’s a lot of seriousness mixed in with the humor, of course, coupled with the fact that the Watsons drive south in 1963, during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Even those moments, though, are handled with levity and grace, so that the story doesn’t feel bogged down or preachy. In fact, the story is about how the family came to head South, and, of course, the fallout of that decision.
Burton as narrator gives the book a real sense of nostalgia. He is a grown man narrating a child’s story, after all. That, and he’s LEVAR BURTON. So there you go.
POC Challenge: 25/15
Orange Mint and Honey by Carleen Brice, narrated by Cherise Booth: This book. THIS BOOK. Okay, this book was seriously like reading about my life. Shay, the perfectionist overachiever, trying to navigate a relationship with her mother, a recovering alcoholic. The details of how it unfolds aren’t really important to me (thought it’s all handled very well and brilliantly), what gets to me is that Shay thinks things I’ve thought in the exact ways I’ve thought them. Not to mention the situations she encounters and just how she handles them.
I mean, I won’t get into all the ways the plot closely resembles my life because that would be like telling the whole world about my neuroses, and that’s not necessary. Also, I don’t need to put all my business out in the street. I’m just saying.
Anyway, as far as the book goes, I really think all of the characters are well-rounded and believable. The conflicts are authentic. I also love that it’s a delayed coming of age novel because, let’s be real. YA is my thing, and grown up lit that is practically YA makes my heart sing. Also, I love the romance so much that it’s kind of ridiculous.
The narrator is really fantastic. All of the voices are varied, the emotion is authentic, and I didn’t even have that moment of adjustment to her performance style. I was hooked from the beginning, and it was very easy to get into the story. So, yeah, I recommend this narrator.
POC Challenge: 26/15