Sunday, February 6, 2011
I have come to understand that a narrator can make or break a book. And there's nothing that breaks a book more than a middle grade novel being told in first person, with a MIDDLE-AGED audiobook narrator. I mean, this is a total and complete fail on the part of the producers of the audiobook.
I just started listening to Ann M. Martin's A Corner of the Universe which is the story of Hattie Owens' and the summer she turns twelve, when her mentally disabled uncle shows up on their doorstep. Hattie is the book's first-person narrator and therefore should have a young audiobook narrator, or at the very least an adult with a child-like voice. Instead, the producers chose Judith Ivey, who not only has a very mature voice, but she sounds like a pack a day smoker.
Audiobook producers, please, do readers a favor: choose age-appropriate narrators! If A Corner of the Universe had been a novel told in third-person, then I would have no qualms about choosing Judith Ivey as a narrator. A third-person narrator is not inside the story and therefore does not need to sound like a particular character. In fact, it's probably better that they don't since a third-person narrator tends to be a neutral voice. But when you have someone telling a story who is twelve-years-old and the audio narrator sounds fifty, this undermines the authenticity of the story. Not only that, but it turns your audience off since they ARE twelve-years-old and they want to hear someone who sounds like them if the person telling the story is their age.
What audiobooks have you listened to where the producers got the narrator completely wrong?