October 19, 2013#

Reviews can make an author’s day


Even though we’ve published over 40 books now, we’ve only had three released as audio books and all three were books that Hayley and I co-authored. The first was “Over It” and we had the option of being the narrators but we passed due to scheduling conflicts. When I heard the recording, I grimaced because they only used one narrator because chunks of the book are written by me in the first-person and while the narrator sounded very professional, she didn’t sound like us. And our tone in books is casual and conversational, not formal. It just didn’t work.

So the next time we were asked to record one of our books, we made time to do the narration. The funny thing is I used to work in radio and Hayley used to do voiceovers for commercials, so this type of work comes naturally to us. That second book was “True Purity.” And just this past summer, we recorded the audio book for “Own It: Leaving Behind a Borrowed Faith.” Hayley and I came away from the two-day recording session deepening our love of that book and the circumstances surrounding us getting the opportunity to write it (the book appears in the movie, “Grace Unplugged.”

So when this review of the audio version of “Own It” popped up on Amazon this week by Dr. Nicholson from the Desert Bible Institute, we were overjoyed. Please indulge me by allowing me to post it here:

In my reviews, I generally say very little about the narrators of an audiobook, and I have never started a review by talking about one: Own It by Michael and Hayley DiMarco is an exception to this rule however. I found myself wondering, in the first few chapters, which male reader had such an animated, basso voice and which female narrator has such an energetic while professional tone. I knew right away that I hadn’t heard either of them before or it would have stood out in my memory. Imagine my surprise when I found out it was the authors. I occasionally (okay perhaps more than occasionally) complain about how narrators don’t get the tone or nuance of the writer correct, but I understand since so many authors have such deplorable speaking voices. I was especially pleased with Hayley since too many female readers take on a sing-song quality that irritates me. I have to admit to a penchant towards avoiding female narrators when at all possible. Both authors did an outstanding job however.

The DeMarcos’ book was as refreshing as their reading of it. The format of this book is unlike anything I have come across before. The first half of the book is written in a largely persuasive format. The authors seem to presume resistance from their audience. They regularly acknowledge their audience’s logic, trials, and counter-arguments in a way that is both engaging and entertaining. This quality alone makes this a book you would likely want to share with someone who is either considering entering the Christian faith or who is starting to have doubts about their faith. My one fear was that the author would be so excessively compromising and understanding that their book would lack the meat and conviction so many people need to hear. My worries were quickly set aside.

The DeMarcos focus in on their theme of “saving faith verses imitation faith” early on. While they have a patient and respectful tone towards new or non-believers, they still pack their book with rich, valuable information. One of the most striking examples of this is how they seamlessly work scripture into the narrative. I caught myself, more than a few times, saying, “Hey that’s a Bible verse!” Rather than bombarding listeners with every proof-text imaginable, they regularly just work the biblical text into what they’re saying. They do this so well that I found myself really enjoying this technique, which surprised an old stickler like me.

Towards the middle of the book, the authors accelerate like an Italian sports-car from persuasive writing into informative writing. I didn’t even notice the transition until the last third of the book and had to go back and listen for where it changed. The assumption seems to be, if you’re still listening to the book after a hundred pages that you either already agree with their position or that you are being persuaded. This was such a refreshing approach, since so many writers are able to only pursue one of these styles of writing. Own It was a revitalizing book that was over too quickly. I look forward to being asked to review another of the DeMarcos books in the future.

Dr. Nicholson reviews academic, Christian living, and fiction books for a variety of publishers in an array of formats. He is never paid for any of his reviews. He writes these strictly as a courtesy to his students at Desert Bible Institute and for any other readers that might find his insights valuable. For more reviews or information, visit Dr. Nicholson’s blog at drtnicholson.wordpress.com.

A copy of the book was generously offered to Dr. Nicholson by christianaudio.com in exchange for this unbiased review.

Wow. Thanks Dr. Nicholson for making our day! Have you read a book that impacted you or you were impressed by? Go to Amazon and write a review. It will make the author’s day.

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