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Extended Audio Sample Ordinary People Audiobook, by Judith Guest Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.22 out of 54.22 out of 54.22 out of 54.22 out of 54.22 out of 5 4.22 (32 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Judith Guest Narrator: Aviva Skell Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 1976 ISBN: 9781440743924
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The heart-wrenching book that inspired the critically-acclaimed movie. Cal and Beth Jarrett are ordinary people: a happy couple living with grocery bills, taxes, barbeque dinners, and orthodontist appointments for their two sons. But when a terrible accident takes the life of one son, their lives begin to fall apart. This is the story of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances and the lengths they will go to put their lives together again. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Admirable…Touching…Full of anxiety, despair, and joy that is common to every human experience of suffering and growth.” 

    New York Times

  • “Guest has the ability to move a toughened reviewer to tears.” 

    Newsweek

  • “Judith Guest’s novel was exceptional as a book in 1976, then as a film directed by Robert Redford, and now as a full-length audio recording narrated by Aviva Skell. There is a kindness in this story towards all the characters and that kindness is underlined by Skell’s very capable and sensitive narration. The quality of the recording is very high. Highly recomended.”  Library Journal
  • “A writer’s novel. A reader’s novel. A critic’s novel. A very important novel.” 

    Detroit Free Press

  • New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gemma Lolos | 2/7/2014

    " A quick, haunting, and wonderfully therapeutic read. Definitely something you want to check out. And you will be pleased to know that Guest's novel was well adapted to the big screen in a critically acclaimed film, based on the book. I only wish that I had thought to read the book ahead of the watching the film. It offers such different perspective, as books often do, and reveals a lot more about the characters of Calvin, Beth, and Conrad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marlaina | 2/3/2014

    " I had to watch the movie in Psych at the movies.. but it was a wonderful movie and it had a deep meaning. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dave | 1/29/2014

    " Oh, upper-middle-class suburban nuclear family woe. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 J.t. Krul | 1/27/2014

    " I always wanted to read this book. I absolutely loved the film by Robert Redford. It is the very definition of people leading lives of quiet desperation. There is a timelessness to the book as a lot of it focuses on the need to present a confident/happy/content front to the world around us. There's a great quote from someone (not from this book) about happiness coming with not comparing our rough drafts with other people's highlight reel. In all honesty, we shouldn't compare ourselves to others at all, in my opinion. They say that life is a marathon and it is, but not one is which we race against each other. In fact, most people who run, run for themselves. They strive to do better than they did in the past. That's what the mantra of the book amounts to - letting go of the pain and mistakes of the past and forging a new path forward. Ordinary People gives voice to the sounds in our heads that plague our mind - all the uncertainty, confusion, and doubt. The insecurities of the human condition itself on display for all to see. I can almost promise that you'll hear your own voice somewhere in this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jane Mcneil | 1/25/2014

    " I loved this novel. Many universal themes touched on along with a deep and rich woven plot of family dysfunction. These characters are likable enough. but in the end you will definitely know people like them. No one is ordinary and Guest is a gifted storyteller who won't leave you dissatisfied. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth Magann | 1/19/2014

    " This is one of my mom's favorite books, I loved the story about a dysfunctional family and how they get through hard times. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne | 1/8/2014

    " Excellent. The movie is very true to the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Louise | 12/19/2013

    " One of my favourite books of all time. So beautifully written. Heartbreaking story. And the movie is so close..so well done, trust Robert Redford to make a good one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Margie | 12/10/2013

    " fabulously insightful about how building "successful images" can't completely mask emotion within. brilliant characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Crazy4more | 12/6/2013

    " We never fail to put blames on the ones who survived. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe Johnston | 12/2/2013

    " Read this in high school. Enjoyable. Sort of a Catcher in the Rye lite, in terms of theme and, to some extent, subject matter. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pam | 10/8/2013

    " Really great book that I totally recommend "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 7/21/2013

    " Great book involving a fascinating therapeutic relationship. Good one to pick apart and analyze. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martha | 7/14/2013

    " Best value ever - since I purchased this book for a quarter at a used book store while on summer vacation! The characters had depth and you could feel their pain and angst without it striking you as self-pitying. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Duncan Whitehead | 3/31/2013

    " An Ordinary book sadly. Nothing extraordinary at all, just ordinary - a cover, pages, words etc. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt Murphy | 7/16/2012

    " I haven't read this in a long time, but it remains one of the most vivid books I read during my high school years. Unbelievably relatable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rafael | 4/4/2012

    " Simply put, this books is not ordinary. It discribes a family that seems off and then why. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Danielle | 3/23/2012

    " This book about coming back from the nadir of depression is such a gift. If I'm feeling down, this book always makes me feel better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alan | 12/5/2011

    " Brilliant characters. Wonderfully emotional scenes. I enjoyed every page. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Reevesjenny | 9/12/2011

    " loved this book and the movie is also really good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Naveen | 5/28/2011

    " This remains to me one of the most heartbreaking books I've ever read (far more compelling insight on male adolescence than Catcher in the Rye I think) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jamie | 5/24/2011

    " My first experience with present tense narrative, which took some adjusting to, this book had a tremendous impact on me, inspiring me to write the first (somewhat derivative) short story I ever entered into a competition. This is a powerful story with very memorable characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin | 4/9/2011

    " I read it in high school and found it very interesting. I don't know why I liked this book so much but was not able to connect with "Catcher in the Rye". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Valerie | 3/26/2011

    " Compelling story of a traumatized teenager who journeys through depression to realize that although his old life is gone for good he can find peace as he lives his new life. Insightful look at both the son and his parents as they all handle grief in their own way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Delia | 3/6/2011

    " What a great book! One of the best! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessie | 3/4/2011

    " somehow I missed reading this in highschool "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Terri | 3/4/2011

    " Difficult and moving. A must read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Auralee | 1/5/2011

    " I thought it described depression really well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elitynski | 1/5/2011

    " This book was an 11th grade treasure. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ted | 12/28/2010

    " I read this book because I saw the movie and then I wanted to read the book. This book is really sad, but it is a good book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy | 12/14/2010

    " I really enjoyed reading this one again. It has such great insight on the complexity of being human, and how we cope with it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deborah | 12/13/2010

    " Ordinary People is an extraordinary novel that gives the reader a first hand look at a family that is unravelling. A must read and then a must see (the movie - that is.) The movie is perfect but read the book first. "

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About the Author

Judith Guest is the author of the novels Errands, Killing Time in St. Cloud (with Rebecca Hill), Second Heaven, and Ordinary People, which was adapted for film and won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1980.