Testimony – Anita Shreve (Audio Book)

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I sometimes struggle to find good audio books, so when Sandy recommended Testimony I bought a copy straight away. Sandy is right – this book is perfect for listening to.

The book begins with the headmaster of a school discovering a tape of three 18-year-old boys having sex with a 14-year-old girl. The story then unfolds via the ‘testimonies’ of  various people affected by the incident. Each person reveals how they experienced the events in the first person, something which I don’t like when reading a book, but this worked really well when listening to the story. I felt like each character was just explaining things to me, so I connected really well with them and it seemed very realistic.

There are a large number of characters, but the different voices helped me to identify with each one, so I didn’t get confused at any point. Had I been reading the book I think I would have become confused by the number of characters, irritated by the first person voice and possibly given up on it.

The book raises many thought-provoking questions, including who is to blame when teenagers mis-behave? Is it possible for a 14-year-old to seduce an 18-year-old, or is it always rape? Should a single action be held against someone for the rest of their lives?

The narrator held my attention throughout, encouraging me to continue listening to the extent that I listened to this faster than any other audio book in the past.

I highly recommend the audio book version of Testimony, and think it would make an interesting book club choice.


What is the most gripping audio book you have ever listened to?

This is the first Anita Shreve book I have tried. Are any of her others really good?

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  1. Sandy says:

    I was worried how you would react to all the characters, so I am glad it worked for you. The audio, and the way it was produced with a narrator for each character was very impactful. It inspired some emotion with me. I was angry at the girl. In every male character I saw them as someone’s son (hopefully never mine!). I totally connected with the book. But it wasn’t pleasure-reading was it? I have a few Shreve books on my shelf, and have read many reviews to get a feel for her style, but never actually read anything else written by her. I have heard she is known for throwing you curve-balls!

    To answer your question, this audio was one of the most gripping audios I’ve ever listened to. Generally, I think the multiple narrator audio works the best, but you don’t see it all that often (The Guernsey Literary and PPP Society was produced this way, and was phenomenal.)

    1. Jackie says:

      I really connected to the male characters too. The way the girl never came across as a real victim was very well done – I just wanted to slap her!

      I loved the way that this book approached a difficult subject and turned it round, so that for once you have sympathy with the men.

      I loved the Pie Society on audio too. Your audio book recommendations always seem to be excellent!

  2. Diane says:

    I’m a huge Anita Shreve fan, and have read all of her books. Strange Fits of Passion and Testimony are a couple of my favorites. She has a new one out in Sept or Oct–A Change of Altitude.

    So happy you enjoyed this one.

    1. Jackie says:

      I haven’t heard of Strange Fits of Passion – I’ll have to look out for that – thank you!

  3. Violet says:

    I bought one book by Anita Shreve some time back in a sale and I cannot remember what book it was and I am too lazy to search my shelf.

    I have heard good things about Testimony and I am planning to read it someday. Glad you liked it too.

    1. Jackie says:

      I know what you mean about forgetting which ones you already have – I frequently buy duplicates of some books because I have forgotten all about them!

  4. Beth F says:

    Okay, you two have convinced me yet again. I saw that Random Acts of Heroic Love is out on audio. So my next two audiobooks will be from the Jackie/Sandy recommendation list!

    Best audios? Can’t answer that. But I will say that I listened to two books this year that were the most amazing listens. Not the best books but the best listens. There is a difference. Wicked Lovely is one and The Forest of Hands and Teeth is the other. Awesome storytelling…

    1. Jackie says:

      I know what you mean about good listens – Testimony is a very good listen, but probably only an average book.

      I’m not sure about whether RAOHL will make a good audio. I look forward to finding out though!

      I already have my eye on Wicked Lovely – I’ll add FOTAH to the list too! Thanks!

  5. softdrink says:

    Brother, I’m Dying is beautifully narrated, but it’s non-fiction.

    1. Jackie says:

      I’ve never listened to a non-fiction audio book before, but would love to give it a try. I’ll make a note of it and try to get a copy – thank you for the recommendation!

  6. Lenore says:

    I really enjoyed THE WEIGHT OF WATER. I don’t remember it too well now, but I remember it being very vivid when I read it.

    1. Jackie says:

      I have a copy of Weight of Water here. I think it was short listed for the Orange prize, so will get round to it one day. I’m pleased to hear it is good.

  7. I’m yet to hear an audio book. I keep making a list of things I should be “hearing”, but somehow, it just never materializes. A couple of Neil Gaimans and Obama’s Dreams of my Father were the ones I was tempted with, and now this! I really should try one out.

    1. Jackie says:

      I’m listening to the Graveyard Book at the moment and it is very good. It sounds as though you have some great choices for a first listen. I’m sure you’ll love any of them. I look forward to reading your first audio book review.

  8. This sounds great! Did different people do the voices of the different narrators?

    1. Jackie says:

      This book uses multiple narrators. It works really well – I highly recommend it.

  9. Simon S says:

    I am in two minds with audio books, sometimes I think they are a wonderful invention other times I think they are cheating hahahahaha. I think its more that I am better with the page than I am with audio. As for Shreve, I have to say I havent ever fancied her but I may have to change my mind.

    1. Jackie says:

      I think you should give one a go – perhaps this is the perfect one to start with? Something you aren’t really interested in, but works really well when listening to it?

  10. Heidi says:

    I would have to second the opinion of her not being one of my favorites. I have read three of her works and decided not to continue with reading anymore. However, that was five to six years ago and if you find a worthwhile one I may give her another shot. I remember being disappointed with The Weight of Water– the character development was’t realistic and/or there was a discord with the plot and the happennings in the novel that just didn’t fit together for me. It actually made me angry. That is all I remember. I read Fortune’s Rock and though entertaining and light again the events seemed not to quite really fit and to work well. I also read the Pilot’s Wife and cannot remember anything about it which is usually a really bad sign!

    1. Jackie says:

      I don’t think I’d enjoy reading this book for the points mentioned above. Perhaps I need to read Weight of Water (it was on the Orange list so I will read it at some point) and then we can see if our feelings match.

  11. Carol says:

    The Pilot’s Wife was my first AS book. I still remember this book very well and I read it several years ago. From there I proceeded to read all her books some better than others. But to date my favourite is Testimony which I only just finished reading. Cannot wait for her October release Change of Latitude. I guess it is all personal but I love her books.

    1. Jackie says:

      It is great to know that she is releasing a new book in October – I’ll keep an eye out for that.

      I’m sure I’ll get round to reading a few more of her books soon. It is good to know that you enjoyed them all to some extent.

  12. Jenners says:

    This was my first Anita Shreve book and I thought it was OK but not amazing. I didn’t have trouble following the different voices (I imagine that would be quite critical for audio!!!) but I felt like I wanted more from some poeple and less from others.

    1. Jackie says:

      Did you read it or listen to it? I can see how this book would only be OK in print, but it is excellent in audio form.

  13. melanie says:

    I find Anita Shreve to be hit or miss – I agree this was a hit. I can imagine the audio book would be good since there are so many characters and points of view.

    1. Jackie says:

      I will be interested to read a few more of her books. Hopefully I’ll find all the good ones!

  14. bryan says:

    how long is the audio book for testimony?

    1. Jackie says:

      bryan, 5CDs running for approx. 6 hours.


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