Big Stone Gap
Author: Adriana Trigiani
Narrator: Grace Bennett
Published: January 1, 2000
Audiobook: 10 CDs (10 hours)
Source: borrowed from the library
My Rating: 2.5 stars
Synopsis (from GoodReads): Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, the tiny town of Big Stone Gap is home to some of the most charming eccentrics in the state. Ave Maria Mulligan is the town's self-proclaimed spinster, a thirty-five year old pharmacist with a "mountain girl's body and a flat behind." She lives an amiable life with good friends and lots of hobbies until the fateful day in 1978 when she suddenly discovers that she's not who she always thought she was. Before she can blink, Ave's fielding marriage proposals, fighting off greedy family members, organizing a celebration for visiting celebrities, and planning the trip of a lifetime—a trip that could change her view of the world and her own place in it forever. Brimming with humor and wise notions of small-town life, Big Stone Gap is a gem of a book with a giant heart. . . .
My Thoughts: I discovered Adriana Trigiani's work a few months ago and fell in love with it. She is a gifted writer and has a way of pulling her readers into her character's lives. I had high hopes for this novel but they fell far short of what I have come to expect from a Trigiani novel. Now, I'm not sure if this is because it was in audiobook form, but there was something that just didn't flow with this book. It felt a bit disjointed at times, like we were jumping around with no real direction. I did enjoy parts of the story and I liked the character of Ave Maria, but there was something that was just off.
For me, part of the problem with this novel was the narrator. I don't think I've ever had an issue with a narrator before, or one who I thought ruined the entire audiobook experience, but I felt that way with this story. Grace Bennett narrated this story and her pacing was awful! There were long pauses, as if a new chapter was beginning. Instead, Bennett would take a pause in the middle of a conversation with two characters. It was awful and made for a poor listening experience. It really upset me, and I have never felt that way about a narrator before.
This is the first book in the series, and I debated for a few days whether I should continue with it or not. I decided that I would give it a try based on how much I've enjoyed Trigiani's other books but decided to do the print version instead of the audiobook. Have you read this series? What are your thoughts on it?