Narrator: Michael Lesley
Length: 1o hours, 24 minutes
After hearing Michael Lesley’s amazing narration in T.J. Klune’s Lightning-Struck Heart, I immediately searched out more of his audiobooks. Honestly, that book was one of the best narrations I have ever heard, so I was eager to give more of Lesley’s work a try. When I saw he also narrated Klune’s Tell Me It’s Real, I decided to check in out in audio format, since I really enjoyed the book in written form and was just about to start reading the sequel, The Queen and the Homo Jock King (which is OMG amazing).
One of the hallmarks of much of Klune’s writing is the hysterically funny awkward craziness that is combined with real warmth and romance. That is definitely the case with Tell Me It’s Real, as it features the slightly awkward, anxious Paul Auster who can’t quite believe that the gorgeous Vince Taylor actually likes him, and that isn’t all some dramatic Freddie Prinze, Jr-like plot to fool the poor dorky guy into thinking the hot one really likes him. This book so wonderfully combines the humor and silliness with sweetness and love as Paul comes to finally believe that things are real between them, and Vince needs Paul as much as Paul needs him.
I reread my original review of the ebook and for the most part my feelings are still pretty much the same after listening to it in audio. Paul’s constant babbling and endless tangents didn’t really bother me this time, while the first time around I found them a bit much at times. I am not sure if I am just more used to Klune’s writing style now, or if the audio format changed my perception of this as it is easier to listen to than to read. I still think there are a few too many female disparaging comments (vaginas are oh so gross and people are often behaving “like a girl”), but overall I think the story felt smoother than my first reading and didn’t feel quite as long through the middle. And I continue to absolutely adore Sandy and his relationship with Paul.
Lesley’s narration is once again very good here, though not quite up to the level of Lightning-Struck Heart. Paul and Vince have clear distinct voices and Lesley does an excellent job with the nuances of Sandy/Helena, making it clear through his narration which side of the character is speaking. At times Paul’s mom and Vince sound quite a lot alike, so much so that when they were speaking in conversation I couldn’t tell who was who. There were also places where the Lesley speaks really fast. Not just for Paul’s kind of crazy tangents, but just generally at a quick pace, to the point that I checked several times to make sure I wasn’t listening at 1.5x speed. But overall I think Lesley does a really nice job with the narration and the tone of the story. My only other issue is that the pauses between chapters, and even between the section breaks, are super long. Like LONG long. So much so that a few times I thought the book had stopped or there was some technical problem. I’m talking awkwardly long. I did learn to expect it, but still I found it jarring.
If you are a fan of Klune’s writing, or a fan of Lesley’s narration, I don’t think you can miss with this story. It is funny and romantic and warm and often side splittingly funny. Lesley does an excellent job capturing the characters and bringing the story to life. I loved this book in both formats and would definitely recommend Tell Me It’s Real.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.