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Audiobook Review: Fin and Lady

16059336I came across this delightful little tale after reading Karli’s review, of it over at Typographical Era. I just knew I had to add this to the to read list. Then I discovered it was available to download from the library in audio so that just made it all the more reason to jump on it. Not only was this story of Fin and Lady wonderful, the audio narration was great as well. Anne Twomey truly added further delight to this tale with her narration.

Fin and Lady is quite simply this quaint little tale told through the eyes of a young Fin and moving into his teenage years during the late-60s.  Fin is left orphaned and must now move off his family’s dairy farm to New York to live under the care of his much older sister Lady. Lady is Fin’s father’s daughter from his first marriage and is someone Fin has only met a small handful of times when he was much younger.

Lady is head-strong, determined never to settle down ever and craves freedom, often complaining about being trapped or caged and just needing to be free. If Lady were of age in the 20s she would have been a full-fledged Flapper. Now, however, it’s deep into the 60s, another era of sexual awakening and rebellion. Lady lives in the thick of it with a steady number of “suitors” clamouring to tame her. Fin settles into this life and shares with the reader his life now full up of adventure, parties, and the constantly revolving door of men he hopes will be the rightful choice for Lady.

Throughout this genuinely lovingly told tale, Fin’s voice fills it with love and awe for Lady, their maid Mabel, and his favoured suitor, Biffy. There are also times however when an additional and mysterious narrator fills in some part of the narrative. This narrator is never revealed under the final chapters and it is also in these final chapters that a twist of fate befalls Fin, guaranteeing the reader’s heartstrings will continue to be pulled and pulled long after the book comes to a great and satisfying finish.

Fin and Lady is truly a lovely little story that I highly recommend, especially if you’re simply looking for a quaint and quiet little tale.

Another note concerning the audio narration: I have to say that THIS is a wonderful and truly delightful way to narrate a story. Never once was the listener subjected to a squeaky or screechy little voice when Fin was younger, never once was the listener made to endure the narrator changing her voice to become a gravelly male voice. It was simply read in the same delightful (female) voice. The whole way through. It was lovely.

One second little side note as well: On the day Pete Seeger passed away, I reached a place in the story where Fin begins attending this “Flower school” and their morning “community meetings” were times where they spent listening to the music of Bob Dylan or Pete Seeger. Seeger even came to their school one day in person. I just thought that was a funny coincidence.

4.5 stars for this wonderful tale that made my commute to and from work a very pleasurable one. And apologies if I over-used the word “delightful”. 😉

Book Review: What’s So Funny?

conwayConfession: I love Tim Conway.  I consider myself an immensely lucky person because I had the opportunity to witness his brilliance on the wonderful (and missed) Carol Burnett Show when I was growing up. Thanks to those years, I was excited to delve into Conway’s new book, What’s So Funny? My Hilarious Life.

Now I like him even more.

Many thanks to Howard Books for sending a free copy of What’s So Funny? – a book that’s already taking up space in my heart.  With grace, wit and truly astounding humility, Conway offers up his childhood, school years, army days, and life in show business.  He takes his readers from his days with his beloved parents to the ridiculous antics of his sketch comedy. What I didn’t realize until this book was that the crazy person I saw on the screen was (is) Conway on a daily basis.  Comedy is this man’s core, and a good day is marked by the opportunity to make people laugh.  Conway is as charming as he is funny.  His deadpan banter still leaves so many of today’s comedians in the dust.  He never found the need to be vulgar, or put anyone down.  His heart would shine through the jokes, and it was just impossible not to like the guy.

What I enjoyed most about the book was Conway’s descriptions of the pranks he would pull, and the behind-the-scenes details of the skits.  My rule of thumb is that if a book can get me to laugh out loud, then it’s worth my time.  Well, after about the 10th time that I erupted in surprised laughter, I determined that What’s So Funny? is worth your time too.  Yes, I’ve made that decision for you.  Even if you’re not entirely familiar with Tim Conway, I assure you that his antics will help melt away the day’s stresses.  Isn’t that the mark of a good read?  Losing yourself in the antics of another, and coming out with a grin on your face?  I’ve decided that it is.  I’ve also decided that the world needs more Tim Conway.  You can see by the observation below that Conway’s funny bone runs the length of his body:

That’s all I ask of life, residual laughter.

Tim Conway

What leaps from the pages of his book is his love of family and friends, and his passion for the lighter side of life.  Capable of turning any situation into mischief, Conway has endeared himself not only to those closest to him, but also to his audience.  The book made me want to run out and buy a set of Carol Burnett DVDs, with a hefty side of Dorf.  I was also thrilled to read the insight behind some of my favorite Tim Conway moments, especially the Elephant skit.  (If you don’t know what that is, please look it up. You won’t be sorry.)  He had me worried there for a moment though…. I had almost reached the book’s end before he showed his cards on that one.  Sneaky.

If you want to harken back to very funny times, including the antics of wonderful comics like Bob Newhart, Harvey Korman, and of course, Carol Burnett, then What’s So Funny? is a must read.  4 happy stars for Tim Conway’s new book, and a fond look back to a delightful time in comedy.  Here’s to many more years, Mr. Conway!