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Audiobook Review: Undress Me In the Temple of Heaven

by Kim on December 9, 2009 · 27 comments

undress me in the templeTitle: Undress Me In the Temple of Heaven
Author: Susan Jane Gilman
Genre/Format: Memoir/Audiobook
Year: 2009
Acquired: Won in an online giveaway
Rating: ★★★★½

Summary: After their graduation from college, friends Susan and Claire decide they are going to go on a year-long backpacking trip around the world. Their first stop: China, a country just opening up to the west that’s practically uncharted territory.

Things start out fine enough, but then Claire starts to act odd — suspicious of strangers, constantly writing in her diary, and losing her temper with Susan in stressful situations. Susan blames the trip, but soon learns Claire’s strange behavior is much more serious than she imagined and she’s going to have to deal with the consequences without anyone else to help.

Book Review: This book was awesome! Gilman has always been a favorite author, so I was so excited to get another memoir to read. And let me tell you — this book was impossible to stop listening to and probably would have been impossible to set down. There were times that I was listening to this book in my car when I just had to yell, “Are you kidding? That did not just happen!” (Apparently, that’s a theme when I listen to engrossing and awesome audio books). Claire’s downward spiral is so unexpected and terrifying, you can’t help but get sucked into this story.

Audio Review: Gilman does a truly great job narrating this audio book. Her writing is very funny, but I got a clearer idea of her sense of humor through her reading. It’s almost as if she was able to channel her twentysomething self in the narration, capturing her sense of wonder and panic as their trip started to spiral out of control. It was totally gripping.

Unfortunately, the audio book version I had turned out to be an abridged edition. I didn’t know that until after I was finished, but when I discovered it I was really disappointed! I think that’s why I only gave it a 4.5 out of 5. I’ll probably buy a copy of the book sometime in the future so I can catch up with the things I missed. Also, this is the book I’ll be discussing in the Twenty Minute Book Club when I’m interviewed by Nicole for That’s How I Blog! So read this book then we can chat about it :)

Other Reviews: Bermudaonion’s Weblog; S. Krishna’s Books; She Is Too Fond of Books; A Novel Menagerie;

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane December 9, 2009 at 11:16 am

I’m glad this audio book worked for you. I listened to it and thought it was awful.

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Kim December 13, 2009 at 11:43 am

Diane: That’s to bad — what about it didn’t work for you?

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Kristin December 9, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Who does abridged books? That is… stupid. Speaking of audio books, though, your reviews have inspired me to start borrowing them from the library for all the driving I’m doing lately (mostly to Milwaukee and Appleton, so not terribly far, but I can get through at least one CD per drive).

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Kim December 13, 2009 at 11:44 am

Kristin: I know, right? Abridged is ridiculous! Yay for audio books — any favorites so far?

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Jeanne December 9, 2009 at 3:20 pm

I’ll look for this one, but beware the abridged audiobook!

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Kim December 13, 2009 at 11:44 am

Jeanne: Yes, do beware. Who does that?

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Care December 9, 2009 at 3:30 pm

“Are you kidding? That did not just happen!”
Yes, I see a theme. You DID use that on another review, didn’t you?
:P

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Kim December 13, 2009 at 11:45 am

Care: Almost exactly the same thing. But it’s true — I’m such a dork when I’m by myself!

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Sassy Brit (Alternative-Read.com) December 9, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Hi, I just found you via a friend mentioning the Blog Improvement Project. I do hope you do another one next year! (Since I am a little late with this year’s!)

This review is great the book sounds awesome! I’m definitely checking it out. Thanks!

Sassy
:)

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Kim December 13, 2009 at 11:46 am

Sassy Brit: Thanks for stopping by! I’m not sure that’ll be doing the entire BIP next year, but I am planning to do some of the individual topics as monthly challenges of some sort. But all of the old posts are archived on the site, so you can go visit them to try as you feel like it.

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Kathy December 9, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Thanks for linking to my review. I really enjoyed this book and passed it on to my mom and she loved it too. We found so much to talk about after reading it.

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Kim December 13, 2009 at 11:46 am

Kathy: I’m glad you both loved it. There would be a ton of things to talk about with this book and Claire and everything that happened.

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Nicole December 9, 2009 at 5:18 pm

I have only read this one book of hers and I already think of her as a favorite. I can’t wait to talk about this. I might listen to the abridged audio as a refresher.

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Kim December 13, 2009 at 11:47 am

Nicole: Me too, she’s definitely a favorite. I can’t wait to talk about it too — I’m going to buy the paperback when it comes out and tr to re-read before the 20 Minute Book Club.

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A Bookshelf Monstrosity December 9, 2009 at 10:34 pm

This book sounds awesome; perhaps I should read it instead of listening to it. A friend actually told me recently that he thinks I shouldn’t do audiobooks anymore since I get so into them I practically drive off the road, I’m paying so little attention to anything else. Oops…

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Kim December 13, 2009 at 11:48 am

A Bookshelf Monstrosity: Driving off the road was one thing I worried about a little bit, but since I was listening on a highway it seemed to be ok. I’m not as good with them when I’m in a city or something. This one is awesome, I’m sure it would be great read too.

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Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books December 13, 2009 at 7:33 pm

thanks for linking to my review, Kim. I loved this audio, too, and, like you, was disappointed to realize that it was abridged. I say that I’d like to go back and read in hardcopy what I missed in the audio (when I have time – ha!). I listened to it while on the treadmill, a bit less hazardous than when driving :)

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Kim December 16, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Dawn: Yeah, time’s always the thing isn’t it! Luckily this is my 20 Minute Book Club Book so hopefully that will be motivation enough to revisit it. I tried audio books on the elliptical, but that didn’t seem to work for me… I think that’s weird!

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Rebecca Reid December 16, 2009 at 8:12 pm

I’m very curious as to what happens…

I keep unintentionally getting abridged audiobooks. drives me nuts. Seriously didn’t know until the entire thing was over and the narrator said, “This has been an abridged recording of….” I was so mad!

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Kim December 18, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Rebecca: I was curious too! Unabridged bugs me to. I have no idea why anyone would do that. I didn’t realize until the end of this one and I was very annoyed even though I think it clearly says it on the front!

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Rebecca December 19, 2009 at 12:35 am

Oh my gosh. I totally forgot I had this audio book hiding on my bookshelf behind a treasured picture frame! I need to put this in the car pronto!

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Kim December 20, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Rebecca: Awesome, do that. I really, really loved this one.

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