Chelsea Mellon | 2/8/2014
" Such a powerful, renewing, spiritually enlightening read!! Not as moving as Refuge, but lyrical and memorable nonetheless. A wonderful tribute to all women. "
Claire McAlpine | 2/6/2014
" My review now up on Word by Word. "
Lee | 1/20/2014
" I found this book fascinating and really enjoyed reading it. I gave it three stars because of the unevenness or the writing. The writing is very good but it veers back and forth between being lyrical, reflective, and straight expository. The topics veer from one subject to another, as well and from time period to time period. These shifts occur within chapters and from sentence to sentence in some cases. Sometimes the shifts were so rapid that they were disorienting. Nevertheless, I am glad that I read it. It is especially thought provoking about environmental issues, relationships and confronts stereotypes about Mormons. "
Meghann | 1/19/2014
" Sometimes things that are supposed to sound deep just don't make sense. "
Melissa Manville | 1/7/2014
" A thought provoking read....contemplative. "
Laura Smith | 12/25/2013
" Meditative, challenging, inspiring. "
Cindy | 12/17/2013
" The only thing better than reading this book, is listening to Terry Tempest Williams read it. I listened to the audible version and enjoyed every minute of the authors' heartfelt words and compassionate insight. A treasure that I'm sure I'll play again and again. "
Dinahorwedel | 12/14/2013
" TTW has an unwavering voice, and this book is no exception. Though I still think Refuge was her finest work. "
Jennifer | 12/3/2013
" Fabulous. A quick read but beautifully written. She's another amazing woman. "
Renee | 10/24/2013
" found this to be so beautiful I had to buy it! "
Charlene | 10/16/2013
" Loved it! Amazing writing and insights. "
Colleen Lahey | 9/26/2013
" This book will not appeal to everyone but it is deeping moving and a brilliant ode to the author's mother. There were times when I felt that the author lost me and others when she made perfect sense. Not an easy book to read but definitely worthwhile. "
Mai | 5/18/2013
" Amazing lesson in finding, having and sharing your voice. It was a testament to the strength of women and the bonds we can share. Beautiful prose and rare honesty "
Judy Pirtle | 4/9/2013
" I can't say that I loved this book, but some of the truths resonated with me and caused me to examine my own life. It is a book that will linger and not be quickly replaced with another read. "
Marlies | 12/7/2012
" Some good words in here... "
Patricia | 10/9/2012
" Wow read - did a whole review on Patricias Wisdom and have read the book 8 times now - inspiring "
Alyssa | 9/19/2012
" Homesick for my mother and hungry for comfort, this book was perfect company. I read it in one sitting, gulping down the sweet nostalgia and meditation on voice the author generously shares with her audience. "
Heather | 8/1/2012
" A little too disjointed for me. "
Em | 7/3/2012
" This book is amazing, and even better when read in the author's own voice. From the opening chapter, which introduces the haunting image of the dozens of blank journals the author's mother left to her after her death, to the final chapter as Williams finally comes to terms with this act, the book is a tour de force which leaves the listener breathless. Williams delves into her life with a kind of courage few people possess. From her family's proud Mormon pioneer history, to her own bird watching childhood, from the early days of her marriage to her later years as an environmental activist, Williams reveals powerful scenes from her life, seamlessly laced with her own musings, which all add up to a portrait of a remarkable woman.
Though the book is intensely personal, it is not a memoir; the title, Fifty-four Variations on Voice, is very appropriate. What binds its fifty-four chapters together is the issue of voice: What does it mean to have a voice? What does it mean to lack a voice? How does someone find their voice? How do women find their voice? How does one speak for the people or places or things which cannot speak for themselves? Every anecdote, every fact, every philosophical reflection eventually relates back to these problems. With her mother's blank journals as a focal point, Williams dives into this issue of voice with an openness and passion.
Given this emphasis on voice, it is highly appropriate that this book become an audiobook. The considerations of voice become all the more meaningful when one hears them read in the author's own voice.
What's more, Williams's voice as she reads is positively mesmerizing. Commanding yet soft-spoken, at times she sounds like Scheherazade, spinning a forbidden tale; other times she is the voice of a wise elder sharing deep secrets; at some moments she even takes on the role of an activist raising a call to arms. Yet throughout the book she maintains a tranquility, a thoughtfulness, that invites the reader to join her in the private meditations of her soul. Her calm, measured voice makes it seem as though she is weighing each word again before she speaks it aloud, and this gives each word a weight and a magical quality that makes the whole book come alive. In this way, her rendition becomes a towering example of what can happen when a person sets out to find a voice, and the audiobook becomes evidence of the success of her own quest.
As Williams says in Chapter 9 about her experiences in speech therapy as a child, "My task was to honor the power of each word by delivering it as beautifully as I could." Listeners to this audiobook will find she has more than succeeded.
Jennifer | 5/20/2012
" Beautifully written. Beautifully (appropriately) designed. I could write down quotes from almost every page as something I want to remember. A blank page is never a blank page just as silence is never a loss of words. "