One Great Listen: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

book coverMy review of the audiobook Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

I was thoroughly engrossed by this story about a teenager–Andi–who fights her own personal demons while vividly encountering the world of the French Revolution.

Andi is, in short, a mess. Her younger brother Truman’s death has reduced her to popping anti-depressant pills just to make it through her days at the elite private school that she attends in Brooklyn. All her mother wants to do is paint pictures of her dead brother, and her father has long been absent from the picture. Only her music holds any interest for her. Then her father suddenly shows up, puts her mother into a mental hospital, and takes Andi to France with him where he wants her to finalize her proposal for her senior paper (so she can get into a good school). Andi is able to research Amade Malherbeau, the French composer she is writing her paper on, but she becomes more intrigued by an old diary that she discovers. It tells the story of Alexandre Paradis, who lived in France during the time of the revolution and became a companion to Louis Charles, the son of Marie Antoinette who was doomed to die alone, locked in a tower, after his mother was beheaded. Alex’s story comes alive for Andi in a most unusual way–a way that helps her find her way out of her depression and back to those that love her.

This is a stunner of a story which weaves together pieces from history with the problems of modern day life. I found it extremely vivid and even though it was a stretch to believe what was going on at times the poignancy of the story kept me riveted as I listened. The audiobook is extremely well done, with the differing voices I had no trouble following the switches from present to past. I haven’t been to France, but the French accents sure sounded authentic and lent a lot to the story. I truly felt transported into the world of this story. I highly recommend it, especially if you like a good coming of age story, stories where people overcome adversity, learning about history, or just plain good fiction.

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