Download That’s Not a Feeling Audiobook

That’s Not a Feeling Audiobook, by Dan Josefson Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Dan Josefson Narrator: Charles Carroll Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2012 ISBN: 9781620644379
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (260 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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Benjamin arrives with his parents for a tour of Roaring Orchards, a therapeutic boarding school tucked away in upstate New York. Suddenly, his parents are gone and Benjamin learns that he is there to stay. Sixteen-years-old and with two failed suicides to his name, Benjamin must navigate his way through a new world of “popped privileges,” “candor meetings,” “morning meds,” and “cartoon brunches”—all run by adults who have yet to really come of age themselves. The only person who comprehends the school’s many rules and rituals is Aubrey, the founder and headmaster. Fragile, brilliant, and prone to rage, he is as likely to use his authority to reward students as to punish them. But when Aubrey falls ill, life at the school begins to unravel. 

Benjamin has no one to rely on but the other students, especially Tidbit, an intriguing but untrustworthy girl with a “self-afflicting personality.” More and more, Benjamin thinks about running away from Roaring Orchards—but he feels an equal need to know just what it is he would be leaving behind.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A bold, funny, mordant, and deeply intelligent debut.”

    David Foster Wallace, author of Infinite Jest

  • “[A] mordant, cockeyed first novel…Boarding-school novels are invariably allegorical, and That’s Not a Feeling is no different; the absurdity of Roaring Orchards is the absurdity of life, compressed onto several rural acres.”

    The New York Times Book Review

  • “Funny at times, and more than a little sad, the book’s form perfectly mirrors Benjamin’s profound sense of dislocation and uncertainty. This is a powerful, haunting look at the alternate universe of an unusual therapeutic community.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “The prose is matter-of-fact, even placid, and studded with perfectly phrased gems, a cool surface to a work that is rich in feeling. A wonderful and noteworthy debut.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Josefson writes vigorously and is well attuned to the upheavals experienced by adolescents.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A 2012 New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A 2012 Booklist Editors’ Choice

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Genevieve | 2/20/2014

    " This is a sort of antithetical boarding school novel with the institutional feel of Cuckoo's Nest. The fact that I was all over the story and its premise of acute dysfunction is ... vaguely unnerving. On the other hand, there's a nagging and far from enjoyable sense that Benjamin's narrative could take a Lord of the Flies turn, which I suppose it does a bit in the end. That's not a criticism, really. Just an observation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joshua | 1/9/2014

    " Unpredictable and engaging. Great believable characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon | 1/1/2014

    " Dark and funny, very deserving of its David Foster Wallace blurb. The Enfield Tennis Academy of Infinite Jest meets Hogwarts if Voldemort had prevailed in the end. Also a shade of Brideshead - that tone of looking back at something that was overwhelming at the time, at once reliving it and re-evaluating it. Bonus: loved the appendix explaining how Soho Press found it in a slush pile four years after it was written. Ah publishing! Ah serendipity! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kit | 12/23/2013

    " Loved it. Sweet, quirky story of a funky boarding school w. captive kids and bizarre teaching methods. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 C | 12/15/2013

    " We meet Benjamin smashing his feet into the cracked windshield of his parents Oldsmobile. And he isn't even put into the violent kids group at The Roaring Orchards School for Troubled Teens. Benjamin has been suicidal in the past, but it seems like any kid can be thrown into this jigsaw puzzle of a mansion, just as long as someone pays tuition. Benjamin is writing his story fifteen years after getting out of the school, when he visits the decaying and molding mansion, left abandoned. Aubrey started Roaring Orchards when he was fired from his other school: for not agreeing with disciplining children for bad behavior by kicking them out of the school. He thought that didn't teach them anything. So Aubrey started his own school in upstate New York, both for kids with mental illnesses and violent prone students. The kids can do anything and not get kicked out for it: violence that adults would be in prison for. The school has questionable, shady practices: one example is "ghosting", treating a student like they do not exist -- no talking to them, no looking at them. It seems to me like that would alienate a student already having a tough time. When Aubrey's health starts to fail, so does the school. The cover of the book does the best at describing the personality of the book: The humor is quiet yet desperately sad in tough situations, much like the comic book panel pictures that feature haunting and sad images on the cover. One example from the cover is Burn Victim, the silent witness, a teddy so well-loved that it is wrapped in white felt. Really, no other cover could have worked better. This book reminded me of Lauren Groff's 'Arcadia' for many reasons: mainly for involving communities that mean well but ultimately become abusive. Aubrey wants to help these kids, but sometimes too much is too much. Aubrey says to the faculty members: "I hear the way you laugh at these kids, the way you laugh and belittle them, make them the butts of your stories and jokes. ... You get nervous and you laugh; you get angry so you make fun and laugh. ... Yet see how sober the students are. They're so funny but so rarely laugh." (page 279) Many of the faculty are having similar problems as the students they should be role models for. Benjamin sees the way faculty treats students in a different way: "Seeing us as objects of fun let the faculty imagine we were somehow protected, I think, as comic figures are able to survive all kinds of harm." (page 116) I thought this was interesting, because it seemed the same way that Josefson was treating the book and the students within it, and seems like the moral of the story, the point of the book. Dan Josefson says in the after word that he worked for a while in a school. This is Josefson's first novel, and if it is any indication how long it took to get this published, there is a blurb from David Foster Wallace who passed away in 2008. In an interview in the back of the book, it is mentioned that this may be the last book David Foster Wallace gave a blurb for, or even the last book he may have read before his death. Which gets kind of eerie, considering the plot of 'That's Not A Feeling'. It's pretty dang sad and disappointing that none of the bigger publishers would pick this book up, but thankfully there are indie publishers like Soho who do. It kind of makes you wonder how many bookish gems are out there, not getting a chance to be discovered. I really don't want to miss books like this one. I liked this desperately funny, yet hauntingly sad book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joe | 12/7/2013

    " Interesting, though not mind blowing. It's an indie novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christopher | 12/2/2013

    " An alright book made better if you have ever worked in the therapeutic boarding school or wilderness therapy industry. You will appreciate a lot of the dialogue and jargon. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Regina | 9/24/2013

    " The book was pretty entertaining although it did stretch on a bit too much. The characters were fun to read about, and the overall concept of the school was really interesting. I struggled to finish it towards the end when I realized that nothing exceptional was going to happen. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Candace | 9/20/2013

    " I did not actually finish this book because I wasn't connecting with it--and that's not a feeling, just a blatant truth. Perhaps I am just less interested in juvenile detention camp stories than I thought I was... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 8/30/2013

    " This is simultaneously both a very smart and very human book. The characters are great and the academy itself is wild, though probably not as fantastical as one might hope. I got into it and didn't want to put it down until it was done. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Katrina | 6/6/2013

    " I gave this two chapters and just couldn't get into it. I was confused about who was narrating. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kate | 4/11/2013

    " It was entertaining enough as it went along, but overall it didn't do much for me. Not much character development, not much of a plot. It just seemed like an account of some period of time at this school. Not sure what the main point was. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jane | 10/27/2012

    " The book is humorous, sure, and also quite interesting, there was good voice, intriguing characters, etc. but there was so much information dumping (much of which was unnecessary), a bad ending, shaky subplots, etc. It's average. "

About the Author

Dan Josefson has received a Fulbright research grant and a Schaeffer Award from the International Institute of Modern Letters. He has an MFA from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and lives in Brooklyn.

About the Narrator

Charles Carroll is an actor and voice-over artist residing in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. He is an avid film buff and stays active in the local film community.