Review: Ramona the Brave (audiobook)

This is the first audiobook I’ve ever listened to, with the exception of random excerpts played in English classes and a few blurbs shared by friends. I have nostalgic memories of Ramona, so I was excited to introduce my own daughter to her and see how the books held up over time.

Cleary did a wonderful job of capturing the trials and tribulations of a six-year-old. Ramona faces common childhood problems like having grown-ups not believe her, finding out something she thought was helpful was really just annoying, and dealing with embarrassment when reprimanded in front of her classmates. We’ve all been there. Even my five-year-old could relate to Ramona’s problems, and was quick to point out her own opinions on the issues. That kind of easy engagement makes me think these books will continue to be relevant for generations to come, and if I was rating this book on the story alone it would have been a 5-star review.

However, I was listening to the audiobook, and that added some unexpected factors. Since I listened to this on a road trip, I had many hours of uninterrupted listening time. I think that worked in the book’s favor. The reader did a good job of altering her voice for the different characters and read at a steady, even pace that made it easy to follow along. The only thing that really bothered me, and the reason this book lost a star, was the erratic sound quality. The volume would rise and fall without warning, as though the reeader was moving closer to and then away from the microphone. There were some passages I missed entirely when it fell to a whisper. Then, a moment later, it would blare so loud my ears hurt. And that was without ever touching the volume knob.

So, the story gets 5 stars, but this audiobook edition only gets 4.

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