Book forty-two in 2012 – “The Next Right Thing” – Dan Barden

It was bad timing and bad narration that kind of ruined this book for me I think. I began reading it after I finished “Defending Jacob” and I said in that post that nothing should have to follow that book. I think I said that because when I wrote it I was already about a quarter of the way through “The Next Right Thing” and was having a really difficult time getting into it.

The book is about a guy in AA who can’t let go of why is friend relapsed on heroine and died. The ex cop begins doing everything in his power to discover who was at fault instead of just telling himself that his friend was an addict and no matter how long someone is sober, we’re all in danger of relapsing if we’re not careful. Obviously this book appealed to me because of its subject matter. When I read the title in a tweet, I knew it would be about the fellowship that saved my life.

As with any audio book the narration can make or break it and I think in this case, the narration broke the book. I’m not familiar with this author but apparently he writes mysteries and thrillers and perhaps the narrator decided he needed to be dramatic. In any case, the comedic parts of the novel tended to be lost in the narration and the pronunciation of the coffee shop with a French name made me cringe every time.

Here in Arizona we have a lot of street names and dry river beds and such with Spanish names and when you get a Spanish speaking reporter on TV, it’s hilarious when they come across these names as their accents suddenly become quite apparent. This is what happened with this coffee shop in this novel. It was like nails on a chalkboard for me!

There were parts of the book that were endearing and I related to a lot of it, having gotten sober in this program myself and then pretty much completely withdrawing from it. It was good to hear some of the things I heard all the time back when I was an active member. I still talk with people who are also sober but it’s different from sitting in the rooms and hearing the sayings on a regular basis. This book also outlines the darker side, yes there is a darker side, how could you put a bunch of alcoholics and addicts in one room and expect everything to be perfect all the time?

I’ve never included a link to anything about the other books on my list but I’m including this Washington Post review of the book because I really do think I read it with bad timing and I might have been more positive about it had I not just finished reading what I’m considering to be my number one book of the year.

Oh, before I’m done I specifically remembered a description that was used about a flower bed that I wanted to put in the post when I wrote about this book. It was something like, the flower bed “was a gang fight of color”. I probably didn’t hear the next few sentences over the noise of the crickets in my head. It was lines like that that made me wish the narrator had done this book as a campy novel. It had a campy feel to me and I think maybe then it would have been better. A good mix of campiness and drama makes for a good novel, in my opinion.

2012 Audio Book List (all unabridged):

1. “IT” – Stephen King – Began end of 2011, finished 1/4/12

2. “The Concrete Blonde” – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/9/12

3. “Under the Dome” – Stephen King – Finished 1/22/12

4. “The Black Echo” (Harry Bosch #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/24/12

5. “The Black Ice” (Harry Bosch #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/27/12

6.* “The Concrete Blonde” (Harry Bosch #3) – Michael Connelly – Finished 2/2/12

7. “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” – Rob Lowe – Finished 2/6/12

8.** “So Yesterday” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/10/12

9.** “Peeps” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/15/12

10. “1Q84” – Haruki Murakami – Finished 3/12/12

11. “The Stand” – Stephen King – Finished 4/2/12

12.** “Uglies” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/9/12

13.** “Pretties” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/15/12

14. “The Last Coyote” (Harry Bosch #4) – Michael Connelly – Finished 4/20/12

15. “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – Seth Grahame-Smith – Finished 4/25/12

16. “Zero Day” – David Baldacci – Finished 5/1/12

17** “Specials” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/7/12

18.** “Extras” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/13/12

19. “77 Shadow Street” – Dean Koontz – Finished 5/21/12

20. “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” – Jenny Lawson – Finished 5/25/12

21. “Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars” – Paul Ingrassia Finished 6/1/12

22. “The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It” – Lawrence Ritter – Finished 6/3/12

23. “The Given Day – Dennis Lehane – Finished 6/17/12

24. “Trunk Music” (Harry Bosch #5) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/22/12

25. “The Lincoln Lawyer” (Mickey Haller #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/29/12

26. “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” – Norman Doidge – Finished 7/6/12

27. “A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans” – W. Bruce Cameron – Finished 7/11/12

28. “The Potato Factory” (The Australian Trilogy Part One) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 7/25/12

29. “Tommo and Hawk” (The Australian Trilogy Part Two) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/8/12

30.* “Fifty Shades of Grey” – E. L. James – Finished 8/11/12

31. “Fifty Shades Darker” – E. L. James – Finished 8/16=12

32. “Solomon’s Song” (The Australian Trilogy Part Three) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/22/12

33. “Fifty Shades Freed” – E.L. James – Finished 8/25/12

34. “The Poet” (Jack McEvoy #1) – Michael Connelly Finished – 829/12

35. “13 Things That Don’t Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time” – Michael Brooks – Finished 9/4/12

36. “Angels Flight” (Harry Bosch #6) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/8/12

37. “The Scarecrow” (Jack McEvoy #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/13/12

38. “Blood Work” (Terry McCaleb #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/20/12

39. “A Darkness More Than Night” (Terry McCaleb #2, Harry Bosch #7) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/25/12

40. “City of Bones” (Harry Bosch #8) – Michael Connelly – Finished 101/12

41. “Defending Jacob” – William Landay – Finished 10/7/12

42. “The Next Right Thing” – Dan Barden – Finished 10/13/12

*Audio book previously listened to.

** Audio book previously listened to multiple times.

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