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Goodreads⎮Reviewed Jul. 2017
Narrator: Curt Simmons
Length: 7h 20m
Publisher: J.C. Miller⎮2017
Synopsis: Dr. William Koval, a pragmatist with little faith in humanity, prefers to dwell in the eerily comforting microscopic realm, where he is master of his domain. But his worldview is upended when he decides to go on the English walking tour his wife had been planning before her murder three years earlier. Only when William confronts his past, including his troubled marriage, will he find a way to rejoin the living, to move forward, and perhaps love again. The real journey, he discovers, lies within.
4.5★ Audiobook⎮Vacation is a contemporary fiction novel that feels like a classic in a very “coming-of-age” way. JC Miller sends Dr. William Koval on a hero’s journey worthy of a Greek warrior. Although, the journey William goes on to find himself is as much metaphorical as it is physical.
I would classify Vacation as contemporary fiction, although there is a light romantic theme appearing midway. Vacation is more about life than romance, but since romance is often a part of life, it’s natural that it was included in William’s journey. Don’t expect anything hot and steamy; Instead, Vacation’s romance was sweet and endearing. I appreciated that it didn’t overpower the larger plot of William’s journey, which was the main focus of the story.
Vacation was a character-centered tale. The largest obstacle William had to overcome was an internal struggle. As a widower, he was faced with the ultimate task of obtaining closure over his troubled marriage and his wife’s murder. Miller’s use of an internal primary obstacle rather than external was refreshing. Dr. William Koval was a well-rounded character. Vacation is told from his perspective, so we encounter all other characters from his point-of-view. Considering that, the more minor characters were pretty dynamic as well. They weren’t as developed as William, of course, but I still had a distinct sense of who they all were.
Some may find Vacation “slow”, but I think it made for an excellent summer read, perfect for lazy days on the beach. Unlike most “Beach Reads”, Vacation has substance. I was so invested in William as a character that his heartache became mine. It prompted a great deal of introspection on my part and was a bit emotionally heavy in a “Life goes on” sort of way. Miller’s light writing style managed to alleviate some of the emotional burden, making this a surprisingly easy tale to get through. The details Miller provided brought William to life, making it easier for me to connect with him and with the story.
Vacation is a solid standalone novel. At just under 7.5 hours, this could easily be heard in a couple of days. Upon finishing Vacation, I was left with the feeling of completion and satisfaction. Miller did an excellent job of providing the reader with closure. She told a complete tale, with a solid message, in the perfect amount time.
Narration review: You know who the audiobook world is sleeping on? Mr. Curt Simmons. I’ve been singing his praises and recommending him to everyone since I heard him narrate Omari and the People last year. Curt has been blessed with an unbelievably soothing voice. I could listen to him 24/7 and never tire of his voice (I wonder if his wife feels the same way). Curt was the perfect choice for Vacation. It’s like it was written with him in mind.
The sheer sound of his voice relaxes me and makes all my worries fall away. Listen for yourself, if you think I’m exaggerating. And not only that, but he’s talented as well. Vacation allowed Curt to showcase a different set of vocal talents than Omari and the People did. In Omari, most of the characters were from roughly the same region and had variations of the same accent. In Vacation, William encounters people from various countries around the world. Curt gave each of them distinct accents, appropriate to their native areas and somehow managed to capture their equally distinct personalities. Simmons was also dialed in on the considerable emotions depicted in Vacation. The sincerity in his narration made this powerful story all the more moving. Despite the “heaviness of William’s personal journey, this was one of the easiest listening experiences I’ve had- all thanks to Curt Simmons.
➜This audiobook was graciously gifted to me by its narrator, Curt Simmons, in exchange for a review containing my honest thoughts and opinions. Thanks, Curt!
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