5 stars for Mendel by Damone Bester #audiobookreview #audiobook #comingofage #yalit #bookreview
Author: Damone Bester
Narrator: Damone Bester
Genre: Coming of Age, Young Adult, Fiction
Imagine the mid 1980's, last day of school, summer break. A teen rushes to meet his mother, who is being released from the hospital after cancer surgery. When the teen arrives, he finds out his mother is dead, but his ex-gangbanging dad, who's been in jail the last eight years is at the hospital ready to take the teen home.
Mendel is a coming-of-age story about a high school senior who must learn how to forgive as he navigates life without his mother. Things come to a head when the teen accidentally finds his mom's diary. In the journal, he discovers his mother's dreams of becoming a collegiate track star were derailed due to getting pregnant with him. To honor his mother, he joins Mendel's track team, but before he could cash in on any scholarship offers, his father's thuggish past catches up with them when a gun-toting nemesis comes seeking revenge. The teen must decide between saving his own life or sacrificing it all to save his estranged father.
2022 BookFest Award winner.
A young man finds purpose and identity by joining the track team, but will he lose it all to save his father’s life? Our hero is a senior in high school but after losing his mother to cancer and being forced to live with his estranged father, he feels lost and alone. He discovers his late mother’s diary and reads about her dreams of being a college track star. He decides to honor his mother and become a track star himself. It’s his way to being close to her. He struggles with relating to his father, though. His father has a troubled past and has served time. As he excels in track and gets scholarship offers, his father gets a visit from an enemy who wants revenge. Will he forgive his father and risk losing his life or will he walk away?
Narrator’s overall voice –
The author is the narrator and I must admit, I wasn’t sure if this was the right fit at first. But the author is a gifted voice actor, and he brought the right balance of emotion, tension, and drama. His voice is in the lower range which adds to the overall enjoyment of the story.
Does the narrator fit the characters?
Yes, he fits the characters perfectly. Since he’s also the author, I found he brought added depth to the characters. His inflection is so well done, I sat back and just soaked it all in.
Narrator’s reading style –
Damone’s reading style is methodical and rich in timbre. I could close my eyes and let the story come alive in my mind.
Narrator’s impact on reading experience –
This is my first listen where the author is the one who also narrates. I think it has a higher impact because this is the author’s own vision and it comes across so well while listening.
Narrator’s pacing –
The pacing is good and allows the reader to escape into the story.
Audiobook flow –
The flow is without flaw and pristine. The listener is able to shift from scene to scene without effort. Brilliant!
What makes this audiobook unique –
The simple fact that the author is narrating and makes it come alive for the listener is what makes this audiobook unique. Another reason is the themes layered throughout the story. Heavy topics are presented but in a way that is approachable.
Would I recommend this audiobook –
Yes! If you love coming-of-age novels, you’ll want to read/listen to Mendel.
My Rating: 5 stars
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Damone Bester was born and raised on Chicago’s Southside. He is an author, poet, aspiring screenwriter, and voiceover artist. He has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Illinois State University. Damone currently lives in the Twin Cities area.
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N