Wedding Day

Wedding Day
Enjoy EVERY moment in your wedding gown. You can't stay in it forever...SO UNFAIR!!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Undress me in the Temple of Heaven - Audio Book Review

First of all, I would like to say thank you again to Carey from The Tome Traveller's Weblog who held a contest for the audio book of Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven. I won one of the copies, and was, of course, absolutely THRILLED! I love audio books. They really help the day go by when you are cleaning, driving through traffic, working out, or doing just about any chore. I love the mind escape. :)

ABOUT THE BOOK (from the publisher, Hachette Book Group, website):

In 1986, Susie and her friend Chloe, fresh-faced graduates from Brown University, were inspired by a placemat entitled "Pancakes of Many Nations" to depart on an epic trip around the world, starting with Hong Kong and the People's Republic of China, then only recently opened to the rest of the world. As the two ventured into what turned out to be a strange and alien land, they encountered places far different from anything they had ever experienced, from the horrors of an open-ditch toilet in the back of a weird hybrid tenement hotel, to a magical boat ride through a fantastic landscape of wind-carved mountains. At every turn, they stumbled upon unforgettable people, including an earnest local who called himself George and loved everything American from hamburgers to Stevie Wonder, a heroic German exchange student named Eckehardt Grimm, and a young waitress named Lisa in an unlikely restaurant in the middle of rural China that specialized in food for weary travelers, such as pancakes and pizza, "just like their mama make."

Armed only with Nietzsche's greatest works and a copy of Linda Goodman's Love Signs, Susie and Chloe were utterly unprepared for their expedition, and their experience alternated between culture shock and exotic adventure, until a near-tragedy turned the trip into a true-life international thriller. Recounted in Susan Jane Gilman's inspired and unmistakable voice, this adventure is an unforgettable voyage into a peculiarly modern heart of darkness.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (From publisher's website):

Susan Jane Gilman has written commentary for the New York Times, Ms., US, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. Winner of several literary awards for her fiction and essays, she is a native New Yorker who currently lives in "rent exile" in Washington, D.C.

For more on Susan Jane Gilman, check out her website Susan Jane Gilman.


I won Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven long before I finally popped it into my car's CD player. For the longest time, I just kept putting it off. I really wanted it when I won it, but again, when deciding what audio book to play, this one didn't speak to me as it did when I first read the description and drooled over the possibilities. For some reason, I got this whole Sex in the City vibe from the title and cover. Not that the cover even remotely has that vibe. I am just apparently given to getting weird vibes. I suppose the "Undress Me" part is really responsible. Sorry about the yammering...on to the review.

Initially, I was mildly not interested when I heard the author's voice, and this I assume is just because I have grown accustomed to actors reading audio books. I would say that roughly ten minutes into the book, this became a non-issue.

I was taken in fairly quickly by the possibilities that this story gave me. Two young women embarking a year-long journey into the world. What could be more exciting than a year of adventure in many different countries. Oooooh, my jealousy and interest were equally piqued. It was something that I would have loved to do when I was younger.

The journey that Susan and her college friend go on, is a journey that most people do not envision when planning a year of back packing their way across the globe. Adventure does not equal comfort or ease. There are times when the girls are at eachother's throats. They have strict guidelines to follow when embarking on their first leg of their journey through China.

My favorite part of the story was the characters that the women met. I am reminded of the comradery that you develop with fellow travelers. Susan also doesn't shy away from showing the girls as they were. Which means their good sides as well as their flawed sides. I appreciated the honesty of their portrayal. As far as their journey goes, there are times that seem definitely dangerous, but it seems someone is on the girl's side. I truly felt things could have ended up a lot worse. I believe in God, and I think that people were definitely in the right place and the right time for these women. It is an adventure story and a cautionary tale.

I would give the audio book version of Undress me in the Temple of Heaven 3.5 stars. I enjoyed Susan's work, and look forward to reading some more of it. :)

1 comment:

ANovelMenagerie said...

I'm having a contest for this book (and a grand prize of all of Susan Jane Gilman's books) in February at A Novel Menagerie. I really like this author.