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Download What I Was Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample What I Was Audiobook, by Meg Rosoff Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,843 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Meg Rosoff Narrator: Ralph Cosham Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2008 ISBN: 9781455189045
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What I Was is a beautifully crafted and heartbreakingly poignant coming-of-age tale that is set mainly in a hut on an isolated strip of land in East Anglia. The narrator is an older man who recounts the story of his most significant friendship—that with the nearly feral and completely parentless Finn, who lives alone in a hut by the sea. He idolizes Finn and spends as much time with him at the beachside hut as possible, hoping to become self-reliant and free instead of burdened by the boarding school dress code and curfew. But the contrast between their lives becomes ever more painful, until one day the tables turn and everything our hero believes to be true explodes—with dire consequences.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Riveting…Readers will emerge much shaken, a little wiser, and with perhaps a greater sense of humanity.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “[What I Was] makes us fall in love not only with Finn but also with the Suffolk coast, the land, the sky and the sea passionately described in airy and crystalline prose. It’s already a classic.”

    Sunday Times

  • “[A] remarkable friendship story…What a shocking ending!…Cosham’s husky, mature voice fits well with the older man’s reminiscence.”

    Kliatt

  • “The poignant reminiscences of an old man about the life-changing experiences of his sixteenth year are recounted with spellbinding immediacy and evocative language.”

    School Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy | 2/17/2014

    " Never would have guessed the ending. Loved that about it. Odd book "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vashtaylamiria | 2/15/2014

    " Described boarding school well! The book has what one would describe as a "surprise" endin but I figured it out right away! Perhaps because I had Comarative Literature as a major? At any rate clues abound! See if you can figure it out! From what I have heard from friends who have been in them, she captured the feeling of boredom and cruelty of English boarding schools well! The ending was very disappinting to me on so many levels! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lauralie | 2/12/2014

    " Another book that I read because I was familiar with the author. How I Live Now, I read a couple of years ago and thought it was exceptional. I was dissapointed with What I Was' 'twist', and felt this book paled in comparison. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel VB | 1/31/2014

    " Beautiful.Beautiful. The most beautiful novel I've read in a very, very, very long time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Casandria | 1/27/2014

    " The main character of What I Was is a 16-year-old student at a boy's school in England. He has already been kicked out of 2 schools, for bad behavior and grades. But even this is due to a blandness about him. He narrates the story beginning the year at a new place, St. Oswald's school, where he eventually meets an enigmatic orphan named Finn who lives alone in a house by the sea. Finn is everything the narrator wishes he could be: independent, straightforward, quiet, and extremely competent. Although Finn never seems happy to see him, the boy sneaks out of school as often as possible to come to his house. Eventually, everything falls apart, and a twist is revealed that made me literally go back and read the whole story again. I can't say that I loved this book, but I was dying to know what would happen next. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff | 1/18/2014

    " This is a wonderful little book -- beautifully written with wry, insightful, and suprising touches. It peters out a little at the end, but the journey is so enjoyable that it really doesn't matter. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Taylar | 1/13/2014

    " I read this because another Volunteer recommended it. It was okay. So so. Unremarkable. I felt like it was written by a Master's student in creative writing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kaite Stover | 12/12/2013

    " Loved her Printz Award winning title, How I Live Now . "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kris Irvin | 12/7/2013

    " This book was so lame. I figured out the big mystery about 30 seconds after the mysterious character was introduced. I'm bummed - Rosoff's other books were enjoyable but this was just a total bomb for me. Bleh. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Liz | 8/24/2012

    " I love Meg Rosoff. I also love thinking about the distinction between YA and adult books, though it frustrates me! I do think that this one was rightly published as adult because it has a perspective of looking back, and that perspective seemed necessary to the particular story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alarra | 5/29/2012

    " I found this confusing, and I just didn't believe in the narration. I know it's a play on gender roles, but the twist still irked me. And then it just didn't go anywhere solid, and emotionally I felt very distant from the characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dora Traynor | 11/28/2011

    " Great story of friendship! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Phoebz4 | 5/10/2011

    " An interesting read. The ending left me wanting a little bit more, wishing it went a little differently. A couple things were a bit predictable. But otherwise, a solid book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Acraft | 4/15/2011

    " This book was not even close to how great "How I Live Now" is. It was a little disappointing. I was expecting an amazing book like the other one. Probably not a fair judgement. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jose | 4/14/2011

    " wttfff???? hated the ending!!! one person dies, and the other one turned to be a girl!! Meg Rosoff I used to enjoy your books "

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

    " Enjoyed the author's writing style & use of language and totally did NOT see the twist in this short story coming. Leaves a lot unanswered though (& therefore feeling implausible). Overall an entertaining read though, just not great. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 2/12/2011

    " It was written beautifully and i loved the idea of the story, but i just didn't like how the author came about telling iit. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Prudence | 11/29/2010

    " Really different, but I liked it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathy | 11/9/2010

    " I enjoyed this book very much. The narrator did a great job. The story isn't super exciting but the writing was great and I enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Roz | 9/16/2010

    " This is one of those novels that is slow to get going, but once it hits the half-way point there's enough momentum going to keep you bubbling until the end. I saw the twist coming a mile away, but younger readers may not. It's well done and an absorbing read - once it gets up to speed. "

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About the Author
Author Meg Rosoff

Meg Rosoff’s first novel, How I Live Now, won the Michael L. Printz Award, the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, and the Branford Boase Award for a First Novel. Her second novel, Just in Case, won the Carnegie Medal and is short listed for the Costa Award (formerly Whitbread). Born in Boston, she moved in 1989 to London, where she lives with her husband and daughter.

About the Narrator

Ralph Cosham (1936–2014), a.k.a. Geoffrey Howard, was a British journalist who changed careers to become a narrator and screen and stage actor. He performed in more than one hundred professional theatrical roles, and several of his narrations were named “Audio Best of the Year” by Publishers Weekly. He won seven AudioFile Earphones Awards, and in 2013 he won the coveted Audie Award for Best Mystery Narration for his reading of Louise Penny’s The Beautiful Mystery.