Mini Review: Made for Love by Alissa Nutting

About mini reviews:

Maybe you’re not an audio book person, or maybe you are. I provide mini reviews of audio books and give a recommendation on the format. Was this book improved by a voice actor? Would a physical copy have been better? Perhaps they complement each other? Read on. . .

In Alissa Nutting’s speculative fiction novel Made for Love, Hazel is a woman who looked for love in all the wrong places, including Byron Gogle, creator of Gogle Industries (a play on Google). A weird, wealthy tech guy, Byron wants to sync Hazel’s brain with his own so he knows everything about her. Hazel flees to her father’s house to discover he’s bought a life-like sex doll named Diane, whom he insists Hazel acknowledge as a person. The B plot is about Jasper, a Lothario who tricks women into giving him money. After he’s assaulted by a dolphin, he can’t experience sexual pleasure with women — just dolphins. This is a wild work of speculative fiction that explores what we’ll do for love, to avoid loneliness, and efforts to use technology to remove the flaws of being human.

The voice narrator, Suzanne Elise Freeman, only had two reading voices: her own and one for male characters that sounded like old man + stoner hippy that I didn’t enjoy. Jasper’s plot seems extraneous, like it could have been a companion novella, but I do love Nutting’s ability to let her character’s mind wander into tangents, and her skill for writing a simile is always spot on and unique. Example: “She often pictured her sadness as an IV cart she had to wheel everywhere she went, its bag dripping a heavy fluid that was keeping her sick instead of making her better.” Recommended, but in book format.

Interested in Nutting’s writing but not speculative fiction? Check out Tampa.

15 comments

    • You’re so welcome! I thought just Hazel’s story was more than enough to keep me interested, so I’m not sure what the point of Jasper’s story was. They two threads come together at the end, but not very strongly. If bizzaro fiction is your thing, Made for Love will be a winner.

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  1. The reader makes or breaks an audio book, don’t they. My husband will take a chance on a book if he knows he likes the narrator. That does sound a bizarre read and probably a quick one on paper.

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    • I have some voice narrators I love and those I can’t handle. Imogen Church? Love, love. Bernadette Dunn, whose entire career is audio books? I can’t handle! I feel like her voice is fine, but she’s always paired up with characters who don’t match her voice. She sounds like an elderly woman (nothing wrong with that!) and will read a book starring a twenty-year-old college student.

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  2. This book sounds very strange and I’m not sure I would have picked it up either way. I wonder how one applies for and gets selected for certain audiobooks. I do enjoy audio and always sample the narration before I decide to check it out from the library. (I use e-audibooks that I download to my phone or tablet and can play in the car when I’m driving)

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    • I used library downloadable audio books, too, so I’ve been getting in lots of listening on my commute. The plot totally sounds bizarre, but I picked it up because I absolutely loved Nutting’s first collection, Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls. Tampa, her first novel, was completely different and based on a true story. She’s got talent and her choice of subject varies, which is interesting.

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  3. That sounds like a fun plot, or plots. My own experience of readers is that the reader gives me the words – well or badly – and my immersion in the story allows me to imagine the characters, irrespective of odd voicing, and other distractions like ‘he said’, ‘she whispered’. My pet hate is readers coughing when the text says ‘he cleared his throat’.

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    • Ah, that’s interesting! I think I get so focused on how well people do a voice because my hearing is not good. I’m so focused on how everything sounds because I’m often left out of how most things sound.

      Thankfully, I don’t think I’ve encountered a voice actor who did an action instead of reading it.

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  4. Ha, I enjoy reading out loud (mostly just to myself when the urge strikes, if no one’s around), but I don’t do voices- I’m afraid if I tried, it would come out sounding like “old man + stoner hippy” or something equally ridiculous! I’m glad you liked this one though, even though the audio wasn’t so great!

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