Rating: 5 out of 5.

Liz Moore – published in 2012 – Audio by Blackstone Audio (reviewed); hardcover by W.W. Norton Company

What a lovely listen. This is the story of a 550-lb recluse named Arthur Opp, his one-time friend turned pen-pal Charlene, and the young Kel Keller.

Moore gives distinct voices to each of the three main characters, and the most striking of these voices, especially in the audio version, is that of Arthur Opp. Much like the man himself, Arthur’s voice is intelligent, courtly, moderately paced, and sometimes a bit fretful but kind. Due to his reclusive nature his social circle is small and his environment is protected and limited in space. He is very different from Charlene, his friend from long ago, now his pen-pal, and from Kel, a high school senior with hopes for a pro baseball career who became an adult before his time. While the plot is intriguing enough to pull the reader to the end of the story, I was charmed by the depth of character development for all three characters – but especially Opp and Keller.

I recommend audio over print; narrators Kirby Heyborne and Keith Szarabajka showcase the main characters’ voices so well in pace and tone, and the contrast between the two voices adds depth to the listening experience. This book is worth the listen.

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