Narrator: Michael Stellman
Length: 7 hours, 55 minutes
The Mating of Michael was one of my favorite books from 2014 and one I have turned back to over again since I first read it. So I was really excited to see that it was out in audio book, especially with a narrator I haven’t before tried. I’m not going to repeat my whole summary and book review from the first time around since it wasn’t that long ago. If you want all the details about the story and my thoughts, you can check out my original review here. I’ll just say that I continue to love this story of the sweet nurse who spends so much time caring for others, yet never is able to find love of his own, paired with the lonely writer who has hidden himself away from the world, self conscious about his disability. I loved watching James slowly open his heart to Michael, to accept that Michael’s feelings for him were real, and to see him find love when he never expected it was possible. And I totally adore Michael and everything about him. Michael is one of those almost perfect characters that could have been too annoying and over the top under the hands of a lesser author. But Easton manages to make him a fabulous person, but also relatable with faults and his own issues, all of which just highlight what a great guy he is.
This story worked really well for me in audio format. This is not a flashy story and Stellman’s pacing and tone fit just perfectly. He has a raspy voice that was great with both the narration and the characters. The women of the story, Marnie in particular, are quite well done. Marnie is such a fun character and narrating an elderly former burlesque dancer is not an easy task, but Stellman made her believable. The breaks between section are clearly defined, though maybe a touch long. And the overall vibe just fits the book so well. It’s hard to explain, but this story just seemed really well suited to the audio format.
I had only a couple of small issues with the narration. First, there is basically no differentiation between Michael and James’ voices. Given the physical size difference between them, you would expect them not to sound alike. Most of the time I had no trouble telling who was talking, but there were exchanges were it was unclear because they sound just alike. I also think there were times the story described the way someone was speaking a certain way (sadly, angrily, etc) and that didn’t carry fully into the tone Stellman used in the audio. Despite these small issues, however, I found Stellman’s narration really enjoyable. I wouldn’t hesitate to listen to more of his work, and would certainly seek him out again in the future.
So I continue to love this story and would highly recommend it. If you haven’t read this one, I’d definitely encourage you to pick it up in audio or book format.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.