Another Piece of My Heart by Jane Green, narrated by Jane Green
Published in audio by Macmillan Audio, published in print by TK
Andi has always wanted a family, to be a mother. When she finally gets married at thirty-seven, she is delighted that her husband Ethan already has children she can love – although she does hope to have one of her own as well. Ethan’s younger daughter, Sophia, is a dream, and Andi can love her as if she was her own. His older daughter, Emily, on the other hand, sees Andi as an interloper come to steal her father, and wants nothing to do with her. In the wake of her parents’ divorce and her father’s remarriage to a woman she hates, Emily has become a holy terror. She breaks curfew, drinks, and does drugs. Unfortunately, she also has her father wrapped around her little finger, so no consequences ever stick to her.
The real crisis for the family comes one night when Emily ends up arrested for underage drinking, and Andi discovers that she is pregnant. It is unlikely Andi will ever have children at this point, so it seems that this might just be the answer she is looking for. Of course, with Emily, nothing is ever easy.
Thoughts on the story:
The entire first section of Another Piece of My Heart is in third person, from Andi’s point of view. Something odd happens in the second section, though. More characters begin to get a voice, including Emily, whose story is told in first person. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book before where a first person narrative was introduced 1/3 of the way into the book, and I must say it confused me, as I thought that Andi was the main character. Eventually, though, it works, because as the story progresses it was equally important that the reader understand Emily’s thought process, and leaving her in third person like everyone else might have made that difficult, subsumed her as a more minor character.
Another Piece of My Heart is incredibly engaging, particularly as Green begins to show the tension between Andi and Emily from both women’s perspectives. Emily continues to come off as a spoiled, petulant brat, but that is less obnoxious as the reader delves deeper into her psyche and understands better just how and why she is so damaged. I do think that it needed better editing, however. Another Piece of My Heart weighs in at 400 pages or almost 14 hours of audio, and it would have only improved the book to have cut out about 50 pages. In addition, Green’s British background showed through from time to time, as her thoroughly American characters occasionally spouted Britishisms that you certainly wouldn’t expect to hear from Californians
Thoughts on the audio production:
It really, really did not work for me to have Green narrate. As authors narrating their own books go, she is not bad, she expressed emotion well, and clearly had a good feel for Another Piece of My Heart, as she wrote it. However, and this is a big however, the book is set in California with an all-American cast. Green is British. It threw me for a loop to have a British accent coming out of the mouths of these Californian characters, it simply didn’t work. It also drew attention to the aforementioned Britisisms in the text. I’m actually not sure I would have noticed them, had I been reading, but hearing them in a British voice caught my attention immediately.
If you’re going to check this out, I would probably recommend print.
Another Piece of My Heart is the SheKnows Book Club pick for April. If you’ve read it, join us for a discussion on Jane Green’s Facebook page from 8-9 pm Eastern on Thursday, April 26th.
I’m launching a brand-new meme every Friday! I encourage you to review any audiobooks you review on Fridays and include the link here. If you have reviewed an audiobook earlier in the week, please feel free to link that review as well. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.Source: Publisher.
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