17 June 2013

Review: Family Pictures by Jane Green + Macmillan Audio Workout Challenge

I don't know about you, but I consider my daily walk to be the perfect opportunity to listen to my current audiobook. This past spring, Macmillan Audio started a Listen While You Work Out campaign and fitness challenge.

The program has been written up by several major websites, including Parents and Fitness. It even has its own Facebook page! The first two challenge books are Secrets from the Past by Barbara Taylor Bradford, read by Stina Nielsen, and Family Pictures by Jane Green, read by Amy Quint. You can hear samples of the audiobooks by clicking through to the Facebook page.

I picked Family Pictures, and a publicist at Macmillan Audio kindly provided me with a review copy and a break-down of the timing of each chapter. Although I'm fully aware of the length of every audiobook I listen to and of how many minutes I walk each day, I had never really thought about combining the two sets of numbers.

Armed with the stats, it was fun to plan out my exercise around Family Pictures. For example, my first workout consisted of Chapters 1 to 6 for total of about 54 minutes. It was motivating to keep moving until I heard the words Chapter Seven instead of quitting when I hit a particular distance or I decided I had walked long enough.

Family Pictures is the story of two families--particularly the mother-daughter pairs--and how their lives become intertwined through a shared traumatic event. Even though I had most of the story figured out early on, I enjoyed getting to know the characters, and Green made me think about fidelity, honesty in marriage, obligations to loved ones, family dynamics, finding inner strength, and the ups and downs of friendship.

My only complaint is that just when I thought the novel was ending, there was jump to the future; in fact, this happened three times (if you include the epilogue). It is always great to learn the outcome and fate of the characters in a story, but I would have been happy if Green had left some questions unanswered or if we had been given only one "where are they now" section.

The unabridged audio edition (Macmillan Audio; 10 hr, 14 min) is read by Amy Quint. This was my first experience with Quint, who reads with enthusiasm and expression. She did a fine job distinguishing characters and was easy to understand, but some of her pauses seemed too strong and every once in a while the rhythm of her reading was slightly repetitive. Regardless, these issues wouldn't stop me from trying another book narrated by Quint.

If you want to join the Macmillan Audio fitness challenge, visit their Facebook page and learn more about the program as well as their great auidobooks. No matter how you get your exercise--walking, gardening, running, or just living--an audiobook will help keep you moving and is a great motivator.

Published by Macmillan/St. Martin's Press, 2013
ISBN-13: 9780312591830

Rating: C+
Source: review (audio edition) (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


Daryl 6/17/13, 9:43 AM  

i think combining the two is a great idea ..

Vasilly 6/17/13, 10:46 AM  

This sounds like a good read. I agree with you when it comes to unanswered questions at the end of a novel. It makes you think about the characters long afterwards.

bermudaonion 6/17/13, 11:32 AM  

What a genius idea! Why didn't we think of it?

Tea 6/17/13, 4:18 PM  

Great review, I feel unsure whether a jump into the future three different times is what I would like in a novel. It seems like an easy escape for an author taken three different challenging times.

Tina 6/17/13, 6:34 PM  

I like most of Jane Green's novels so I will try this one too. Sometimes I am not thrilled with the ending of a book....especially if the ending isn't what you'd hoped for.

Trying your potato recipe tonight, the one you just posted for Weekend Cooking.

Book Blather 6/17/13, 6:38 PM  

I've just started listening to audiobooks and I've listened while cleaning, or doing the dishes, or cooking, but never while on a walk. I like this idea alot! And I think I shall try it, but I doubt I shall join the challenge. :-)

Literate Housewife 6/17/13, 6:41 PM  

What a fun audiobook challenge. I am going to have to look into that. I do love listening to audiobooks when I'm walking alone. It's a perfect time to let your imagination wander with a good book.

(Diane) bookchickdi 6/18/13, 7:28 AM  

I love this idea of combing fitness with audiobooks. Anything that can help us exercise is a good thing. I like to read my Kindle on the treadmill and a really good book spurs me to walk longer.

Julie P. 6/24/13, 6:23 PM  

What a great idea. I always listen to audiobooks when I work out -- walk or run!

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