Monday, March 14, 2016

Audiobook Review: Please Ignore Vera Dietz

Please Ignore Vera Dietz By A.S. King
Publisher: Listening Library
Release Date: March 8th, 2011
Format: Audiobook narrated by Lynde Houck

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.

So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

Edgy and gripping, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising.
This book was a hard one to get through, so much that I listened to this audiobook back in December and I still haven't reviewed it. Part of the reason it was difficult for me to get through was that it dealt with a lot of heavy issues like teen pregnancy, domestic abuse, alcoholism, etc. The other reason is that I found Vera to be a little unlikeable. I understood why she was a bitter, cynical person but at times I just wanted to shake her. I think this is me showing my age, because I think I would have been more on board with her attitude as a teenager than I am now.

Vera doesn't have an easy life. The book starts out at the funeral of her best friend Charlie Kahn who dies mysteriously, and we learn quickly that they had a falling out right before his death. Vera was a product of teen pregnancy and it seems to haunt her life ever since her mom took off a few years ago to leave her with her recovering alcoholic father. Her dad is very hard of her, but I think I could understand why because he just never wanted her to go through the things he went through. He wanted to teach her responsibility and make sure she didn't make the same mistakes. I got that, really I did, but it kind of annoyed me how much he cared about how much money she could make at her pizza delivery job. He also wasn't very understanding about how much school combined with a job could be a lot of pressure on a kid. I went through a similar experience in my senior year of high school, so I understood how exhausted Vera was. I think he had the best intentions but it annoyed me how much he hammered in that she needed to make money. Personally, I think when you are a kid being in school is your "job" so that really annoyed me.

I think the one thing that made Vera unlikeable for me was that she basically was a functioning alcoholic. She grew up with her dad talking about how bad he was and trying to tell her how dangerous drinking was, but she was driving pizza to people with alcohol underneath the seat of her car! And not just sitting there, she would sit at a stoplight or parked in between runs to take some sips. Like, WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?! I hate drinking and driving, so seeing it in a book made me really annoyed. However, I think the author's intentions was to show how messed up Vera was that she somehow thought this was okay.

I mentioned that this book also deals with domestic abuse, but don't worry Vera never faces that personally. It is made pretty clear early on that Charlie's father is abusive. Nothing is ever done to get him out of that situation. Once when Vera mentions doing something to her father he basically tells her to not get involved. That bothered me a lot, and nothing ever gets resolved on that end even after Charlie's death.

This book mainly deals with Vera ways of coping with the death of a loved one. As we can tell she has a real hard time with it, to the point she is even seeing "Charlies" running around and preventing her from doing things. I'm still not even sure if Charlie was a ghost in this novel, or if it was Vera's guilt at never patching things up with him before he died.

I did really like the narrator in this audiobook. She did a really good job with Vera's biting sarcastic voice, and it made me feel like I was actually listening to a teenaged girl going through this ordeal. I'm not sure how this came off in the actual book, but I think listening to the audio version really made me understand this.

This is my first time reading a book by A.S. King and I think I would definitely recommend it and read her other books. This book was hard to get through because it dealt with hard situations that we don't like to talk about. I think these are things we need to talk about despite their difficulty, so I definitely think this book has a lot of worth and merit.

Happy Reads Everyone!