Books where the story is told from multiple points of view can be amazing when done right – showing how different people can look at the same situation and see different things, or take a different meaning from it. I think this form lends itself well to audiobooks – when the narration is done right. Here are 5 of my recent faves – audiobook narrations of books with multiple points of view.
One of Us is Lying, Karen M. McManus
Narrated by Narrated By: Kim Mai Guest, MacLeod Andrews, Shannon McManus, Robbie Daymond
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention. Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose? Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.
This story follows four stereotypical high school students: the brainiac, the rebel, the jock, and the golden girl – with the first person narrative in each of the four main characters. I was initially concerned that this would be a cliche story with shallow representations of each member of the clicques, but fortunately, McManus was able to build an interesting plot full of suspicion and secrets. Each point of view was distinct and offered a unique perspective on the situation, and added a little more to the story.
Miracle Creek, Angie Kim
Narrated by: Jennifer Lim
How far will you go to protect your family? Will you keep their secrets? Ignore their lies? In a small town in Virginia, a group of people know each other because they’re part of a special treatment center, a hyperbaric chamber that may cure a range of conditions from infertility to autism. But then the chamber explodes, two people die, and it’s clear the explosion wasn’t an accident. A showdown unfolds as the story moves across characters who are all maybe keeping secrets, hiding betrayals. Was it the careless mother of a patient? Was it the owners, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? Could it have been a protester, trying to prove the treatment isn’t safe?
The story is told from the point of view of seven characters, all of whom were present the night the explosion happened, including the Yoo family (Pak and Young Yoo and their teenage daughter, Mary), Elizabeth, Matt (a doctor who was undergoing HBOT for infertility) and his Korean-American wife, Janine, and Teresa, who survived the explosion with her daughter Rosa. Each person is hiding something relevant to the case … each person is lying or holding something back. I kept being surprised, disappointed, switching loyalties, changing who I thought started the fire … there’s just so much going on in this book, but the author manages to weave everything together seamlessly. And the audiobook narrator captured each individual brilliantly. It’s hard to believe all these characters are narrated by 1 person.
Daisy Jones & the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid
Narrated By: Jennifer Beals, Judy Greer, Benjamin Bratt, Pablo Schreiber
Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six: The band’s album Aurora came to define the rock ‘n’ roll era of the late seventies, and an entire generation of girls wanted to grow up to be Daisy. But no one knows the reason behind the group’s split on the night of their final concert at Chicago Stadium on July 12, 1979 … until now.
Daisy Jones & the Six was on our list of 3 (More) Audiobooks that are Better Than the Book last year. The cast of narrators did an excellent job of making you feel the characters. That raspy voice of Daisy made her feel like a rock star. The multiple points of view from fans and people who encountered Billy and Daisy contributed to the feeling that they were superstar vibe of the book. The lifestyle, the rise of the group – all of it had me enthralled.
Behold the Dreamers, Mbolo Imbue
Narrated By: Prentice Onayemi
Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future. But, when the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job – even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.
This book was so moving. Perhaps it’s because I’m an immigrant myself, and know a lot of other immigrants so this story was familiar. Or maybe it was just the great way the story was told … Or maybe it was because I could so vividly picture this family, their apartment, their struggle. Or maybe it’s because the audiobook narration by Prentice Onayemi was so spot on … or maybe it’s just all of the above.
What are some of your favorite books told from multiple perspectives?