Wednesday, November 9, 2016

How to Be a Normal Person by TJ Klune Audiobook Review

Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this. Everyone in his small town of Abby, Oregon, knows this. He reads encyclopedias every night before bed. He has a pet ferret called Harry S. Truman. He owns a video rental store that no one goes to. His closest friends are a lady named Lottie with drag queen hair and a trio of elderly Vespa riders known as the We Three Queens.

Gus is not normal. And he's fine with that. All he wants is to be left alone.

Until Casey, an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to think the same thing about Casey, even if Casey is obsessive about Instagramming his food.

But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever.

After all, what could possibly go wrong?

Length: 11 hrs, 7 mins
Narrator: Derrick McClain

Add to Goodreads

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Amazon Audiobook  ~  Audible  ~  Dreamspinner Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

5 stars to the narrator
3 stars on the premise/execution
3.5 stars in total

First, I need to state how I've never truly enjoyed an audiobook, as I find it hard to fall into the story. I need to see the words written if I'm listening at the same time. This is due in part to the fact that I have a hearing-impaired person in my household, and I read the TV while watching it. In fact, the CC is turned on for my personal TV, and I have to look at the screen to fully immerse myself into whatever I'm watching – no multitasking for me when it comes to books, movies, or shows.

So I give myself a pat on the back for completing such a long book in audio, even if I didn't fully digest a lot of it – since I couldn't read and listen, I did multitask listening while working using Photoshop and/or playing a game on my cellphone. (I leveled up on FV Tropic Escape many times during the book)

I've read and enjoyed TJ Klune books in the past, but always found it hit and miss depending on my mood on whether or not I connected with the storyline. If you're new to Klune, know that the books can be way over-the-top. If you're not in the right mindset, it may come off as forced. For me, How to be a Normal Person fell into the forced category because of my current mood over the 11+ hours it took to listen.

I loved Gus. He was self-deprecating, and his inner monologue was hilarious because of it. I did find myself chuckling or snorting out loud while listening. The House Hunters jokes had me splitting a gut. He was quirky and saw the world through a different lens.

Truthfully, my issue, and it may have been exacerbated due to the fact that this was audio, I'm not big on the details. A lot of authors have a ton of unnecessary details to set a scene, and there is a large grouping of readers who not only need that, but love it. I'm just not one of them. As an INTJ personality, I find inane tedious, whereas the rest of the population would find the anecdotes hilarious. (I'm like the lone person at a party, sitting in the corner, getting progressively more annoyed as the people get drunker and start finding themselves hilarious – the more they laugh, the more I want to break our friendships. Like I'm the lone sane person in an asylum). For me, every word was written for the result of a laugh, when I'm a reader who values deeper subject matter, and find unsuitable things funny from time to time. Less is more for Erica, and How to be a Normal Person was definitely the opposite of less.

If I had been reading the novel, my eyes would have skimmed past it, but as I was listening, I had to hear every word – as I said above, being audio exacerbated my issue with this sort of writing style.

The storyline was just okay for me. There wasn't much going on really, just everyday events and quirky commentary and observations by equally quirky characters, and it just stayed in the same gear for the entire novel. A little goes a long way for me, and this was a 'lot.'

What kept me engaged and helped me complete the novel was the audio narrator. He did Gus proud, and I could listen to him for hours (which I did. HA!).

Take my review with a grain of salt, as audio may not be my thing, and it may have contributed to the fact that I couldn't fall into or absorb the story as if I were reading it. But Gus was a gem, and the narrator sparked something in me to give audio another go, because perhaps it was just a case that this book wasn't for me, as other Klune books have been in the past.

John & Jackie has been released! Words of warning: you will have total Wookie cry face while reading this book. I regret nothing.

When TJ Klune was eight, he picked up a pen and paper and began to write his first story (which turned out to be his own sweeping epic version of the video game Super Metroid—he didn't think the game ended very well and wanted to offer his own take on it. He never heard back from the video game company, much to his chagrin). Now, two decades later, the cast of characters in his head have only gotten louder, wondering why he has to go to work as a claims examiner for an insurance company during the day when he could just stay home and write. He recently went slightly insane and moved to the East Coast from the Sonoran Desert with his fiancé and neurotic cat in tow. He dreams about one day standing at Stonehenge, just so he can say he did.

Connect with TJ

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Google+  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free audiobook copy of How to Be a Normal Person (How to Be #1) by T.J. Klune, Narrated by Derrick McClain to listen to and review.

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