Manmade Constellations

Blackstone Audio. Aug. 2022. 8:24 hrs. ISBN 9798200689217. $16.95. F
Narrator Tavia Gilbert’s skills are showcased in a contemporary fiction novel. Wisconsinite freegan Lo Gunderson dreams of leaving her small town and finding like-minded environmentally conscious people. Answering an ad for a free car, Lo meets Blanche, a terminally ill woman who hopes to reconnect with her estranged son, Jason, before she dies. To get the car running, Blanche directs Lo to a nearby garage. There she meets the attractive mechanic, John Blank. The two soon leave on a road trip from Wisconsin to California and back again in hopes of finding Jason, where, along the way, Lo faces startling self-revelations. Gilbert’s expert performance pulls the listener into the tale. With her knack for accents and unique voices, she breathes some life into the frequently flat characters, encouraging interest in their internal journeys and attempting to connect listeners with their stories on a deeper level. Her narration provides a much-needed spark to Lo’s otherwise sanctimoniously pedestrian personality. Imbuing her performance with the emotions described on the pages, Gilbert urges listeners to continue the journey.
VERDICT A nonessential acquisition in print, but Gilbert’s stellar narration makes the audio a recommended purchase.
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