“ Listening Length: 7 hours and 21 minutes / Program Type: Audiobook / Version: Unabridged / Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Audible.co.uk / Published: 11 Oct 2012 / Language: English „
This was my first venture into the land of audio books, and being a real Miranda fan it was a no-brainer choice when I took up a free offer from "audible".
Hm, bit weird.
Maybe one of the reasons I like Miranda is I share some of her sense of social awkwardness, I think if she herself sat down to listen to this, I can hear her saying "Hm, bit weird". My first impression was it was a bit embarrassing - all a bit too intimate, a bit like having Miranda starring in one of her episodes on your sofa in a one-to-one. Too much for me! It's not that I would have preferred canned laughter on there, but it was all a little bit too stark. I think the problem is that because it's Miranda's voice I kind of expect her to be telling the anecdotes off the top of her head, not actually reading them - and it's very clear she is reading. Again, I can almost hear Miranda saying "Harsh", with a purse of her lips, and yes, maybe that is harsh probably expecting too much and is always going to be the case for audio autobiography or personal anectodal books read by the subject.
On with the show
Early on in the audiobook, Miranda reflects on "Life-eh"... this is delivered in a bit of a stilted fashion, it feels awkward as she goes into semi-serious mode. The book proceeds with Miranda conversing with her 18-year-old self, aimed at advising the younger version on what lies ahead in the future and how it might be handled. Personally I don't think this works very well in this audio version, I've no idea how it translates into the written version, but I imagine if you are reading it yourself, you can make it make more sense than hearing Miranda doing it. She adopts a slightly different voice to help us differentiate but to me, the two-way dialogue just doesn't work. As the book goes on, Miranda does seem to relax more into it and it sounds more like the Miranda sitcom, than her reading from a page, but it never really loses that feeling for me.
Are we meant to believe the anecdotes Miranda trots out? - did she flirt a prawn across a restaurant into a fellow diner's dinner? Did she really cause a marquee to collapse with over-enthusiastic dancing? Er... no, but that's just a part of the Miranda comedy aspect which is prevelant in this book. There seems to be very limited autobiographical detail in this audiobook, maybe I didn't read the blurb closely enough, but I was expecting more autobiography/memoir, whereas in actual fact it's basically Miranda making observations on various aspects of life, much more like a stand-up comedy routine. In terms of this audiobook, I think that's a good thing - Miranda sounds far more "herself" and easier to listen to when covering musings and observations than when she touches on actual real-life moments.
My - what I call - Summary
You get over 7 hours of audio with this purchase, with an average length of around 25-30 mins per chapter, so I guess that would make it ideal for a good many commutes. This particular title has certainly not got me hooked on audiobooks, in fact it's sort of put me off - but on reflection, what seemed such an obvious choice was probably not the best thing to trial the format on. There were things I liked about this audiobook (I'm the same age as Miranda, so the 18-year old Miranda rung a lot of bells with my own teenage years) and there were sections of this book I laughed at, but these were few and far between and although I listened to all of it, by the end I was glad it was over! There's no bigger Miranda fan than me (in terms enthusiasm, hopefully not dress size) but this was most definitely not for me. If you embrace the audiobook format then you will probably be more receptive to "Is it just me?", but for me I found it awkward listening and I wish I'd bought the written version. In summary, I'd say this audiobook feels more like an audio version of the TV show than a book, which would be no bad thing, but in my opinion, it just doesn't translate between the formats.