Saturday, August 15, 2009

Did Not Finish: The Yearling - Marjorie Kinnan (audio)


A couple of weeks ago, the kids and I started to listen to the audio "The Yearling" by Marjorie Kinnan. We picked it up at the library on a whim, when the audios we really wanted were checked out. I really didn't think we had anything to lose. The book won a Pulitzer in 1939, and is considered a true classic. On top of that, the story takes place in northern Florida, and involves a boy who adopts a young fawn as a pet. As the boy matures, he is forced to make adult decisions and choices between his pet and his family. I could see this story coming a mile away...just like those Disney movies that my sister and I saw on Sunday evenings as kids that tore your heart out. Great lessons with teachable moments. Another classic to enrich my little angels' lives.

But that was not to be. We got through about 3 of the 12 discs when we all cried uncle. The kids were bored stiff, but were too well-mannered (knowing my emotional ties to books in general) to say anything. When I started to grow bored myself, I asked them how they were liking the story, and they sheepishly admitted they weren't all that "into it". They said they'd rather crank up some Classic Rewind on XM. Knowing the pedigree of the novel, I'm going to chalk it up to the narration. The slang in the story is very...how shall I say? Backwoods southern, I guess is the best description. It was hard even for me to understand everything that was being said, and nearly impossible for the kids to translate. The plot was bit slow as well. Perhaps the pace picks up later, but with kids, if you don't snag them quick, you lose them.

It is possible I have spoiled my little ones on the adrenaline rush of time travel, dystopian fiction, Gladiator-fight-to-the-death drama, and kids that have wings. I will continue in my pursuit to expose them to classics, hopefully with better narration next time. Have any of you read this book? Have I made a grave error? Should I have steeled my resolved and forced my way through it?

Next up: I have decided that we must listen to Harry Potter on audio. My daughter and I have read the books (personally I have read them thrice), and have seen the movies over and over and over, but have been told the audios are a whole different experience than the hard books or the film. Now I need to go figure out who is hosting that reading challenge...

13 comments:

Beth F said...

I'm doing HP on audio for the challenge too. I'm soooooo sad that you didn't like The Yearling. My mom read that to us when I was in about first grade. I loved the book. I cried at the end.

Maybe it just doesn't translate past the 1950s....

Dar said...

Sorry this one didn't work out for you all. HP on audio is awesome! You'll all love it. I've read the books and listened to them.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Beth - Well, your mom must have been a better narrator to keep a first grader intrigued! The premise sounded wonderful, and I'm saddened that none of us could get into it. We are a disc or so into HP and the narrator is awesome! We are going to love this journey!

Dar - We are a family of Harry Potter obsessives. If we have seen the movies on DVD once, we've seen them two dozen times. I've read the series three times in hard copy (my daughter twice). We have the Harry Potter Scene It game. Now the audios...we are certifiable.

Jeane said...

Oh, how disappointing. I love this book. True, it is slow-paced, especially in the beginning. There's a lot of lengthy descriptions, and I bet the slang is easier to deal with when reading, then listening to aloud. I think I'd dislike hearing it narrated, myself.

Amy said...

Some books just aren't meant to be heard on audio, I guess! :)

I haven't listened to Harry Potter on audio, but the narrator is the same guy who narrated Pushing Daisies, a TV show I dearly loved and miss. :(

farmlanebooks said...

Sounds like one best read in print. I haven't even heard of it - shows how much I know about classics!

Good luck for your HP challenge. I'd love to know if it is worth listening to them even if you've read the books.

Barbara said...

Maybe it should be read instead. I might just be odd but I'm not big on audio books although I did listen to one. It sounds familiar but I don't think I've read it. Harry Potter might be interesting on audio. It's been a while since I've read them.

ds said...

Aww, I loved this book as a child(and yes, I cried), but if it is any consolation, my kid did not. Beth F is right: maybe it doesn't translate beyond a certain point.

Melody said...

Sorry this book didn't work for you.

As for the HP challenge, Michelle from GalleySmith is hosting it. Here's the link. I'm glad you're joining, Sandy!

The Bumbles said...

I read this book when I was little. I don't remember the details (which is not uncommon for me and kids books) but I do know that I was fond of it. I have a feeling that the personal connection comes from reading it yourself or having a loved one read it to you.

Serena said...

I haven't read this since I was a kid. I'm not surprised they were bored. I was when I read it.

It may be a different story now, although I'm not sure this story lends itself to audio too well.

Anna said...

Sorry this one didn't work for you. I doesn't sound like something The Girl and I would enjoy. She needs a lot of action, too. :)

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

I read this one quite a while ago, but would be hard pressed to tell you anything about the book. But I do remember liking it...