- Fizzy Thoughts: A Long Stone's Throw

A Long Stone's Throw

Friday, April 24, 2009


A Long Stone's Throw
Alphie McCourt
first published November 2008
10 hours, 57 minutes (audio book)

First there was Frank (you know, the dude who wrote Angela's Ashes). Then there was Malachy (who I haven't read, and therefore can't name a book off-hand, although I know he's written a few). Now, there's Alphie, the baby of the McCourt family, who felt compelled to add his two cents to the family lore.

Thing is, Alphie can write. He can also narrate (I listened to the audio book), although he does sound a wee bit like Elmer Fudd on occasion. That proved to be a bit of a distraction at times, as it made me giggle, especially when he said fewocious.

Alphie starts his story in the middle, after he immigrates to the US from Ireland. The first third of his story focuses on his struggles to find work, gain a green card, and figure out what he wants to do with his life. Then, he flips back to the beginning, telling of his childhood spent mostly in poverty in Ireland. Finally, he moves back to the US and his adult years and his ongoing search for a career and stability. This last third dragged at times, especially since Alphie's life turned pretty mundane. The story also came to an abrupt halt, although honestly, it could have ended a few hours prior.

I can understand his need to tell his story, since his brother's have received much acclaim. Thing is, I'm not sure his story needed to be told. As I said before, he does have a way with words, and that (and the few songs he sings in the audio version) made this reasonably entertaining.

Also, thanks again to Kathy for the contest in which I won my copy of this audio book. I'm still new to the world of audio books, and I'm having fun trying out different books. I'm finding I do much better with non-fiction...for some reason it's easier for me to concentrate and follow. My current audio book choice is A Mercy, and I'm failing miserably at staying focused and understanding the story. In fact, Toni's about to be tossed aside for Bill Bryson.

12 comment(s):

bermudaonion said...

Great review. This wasn't my favorite audio book, but I did enjoy it.

claire said...

Ha ha. Elmer Fudd. I haven't tried an audio book, and I could see why you're struggling with A Mercy. Toni Morrison's sentences sometimes need to be reread and reread. But hope you get through it.. I've read Angela's Ashes but don't feel compelled to read Malachy's and Alphie's. One recount of their story might be enough for me. Thanks for the review!

Heather J. said...

Bill Bryson is hysterical - which one are you going to listen to?!

J.S. Peyton said...

I do better with nonfiction audio books too. My mind also tends to wander if it's fiction. I know you'll like the Bill Bryson. I don't know which one you're reading, but it's really hard to go wrong there. :)

P.S. Happy Belated Birthday!!!!

J.S. Peyton said...

I do better with nonfiction audio books too. My mind also tends to wander if it's fiction. I know you'll like the Bill Bryson. I don't know which one you're reading, but it's really hard to go wrong there. :)

P.S. Happy Belated Birthday!!!!

Dar said...

I would definitely rather listen to this one than read it. I struggle with audio books only in that I really need to see the words for them to register for some reason. Usually I pick light and funny things to listen to that I don't need to concentrate too hard on.

Ladytink_534 said...

Duly noted. If I do pick this up, I'll avoid the audio b/c I believe "fewocious" would crack me up!

Kristi said...

I won this audio book somewhere also and just recently tried to listen to it. His accent was a little distracting - and I might try it again. I was trying to listen to it while driving and it just wasn't working - I think this needs to be one I try at home!

Melanie said...

I can only listen to nonfiction audiobooks -- I've tried a few different novels but I can not concentrate on them. Good nonfiction to listen to is the only thing that keeps me exercising...

softdrink said...

Kathy - I know what you mean. Entertaining, but not OMG, that's the best thing ever!

Claire - A Mercy went back to the library today. I'll try it in book form someday.

Heather and JS - it's A Short History of Nearly Everything...I've read his travel memoirs, so this will be different.

Dar - I think that's why the non-fic works better for me...it's more like being back in school and listening to a lecture. Which makes it sound bad, but I can't think of another comparison.

Tink - I think there was a feawsome in there too. So wrong.

Kristi - Just listen for the Elmer Fudd moments! :-D

Melanie - oh good, I was thinking non-fiction audio books only sounded a bit weird, so I'm glad I'm not alone.

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books said...

I started listening to audio books a few months ago. I loved Outliers (nonfiction) and Beat the Reaper (fiction), but not so much Sundays at Tiffanys (another fiction). We'll see what comes next ...

Were there any wascally wabbits in Alphie's story?

Joanne said...

I kinda wondered how much of a story he would have to tell also. Might be worth listening to on car rides for the elmer fudd and singing though.

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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