Notes To Boys is a memoir of the awkward (occasionally cringe worthy) letters that best-selling author and screen writer Pam Ribon wrote to boys when she was growing up…. some sent (she had a tendency to always make a copy), some not sent… and some she hopes she didn’t send but has a weird feeling that she probably did.
Growing up in a small town in Texas and the internet and cell phones still a long way off, Pam spent time writing letters, LONG deep, and teen angst letters that now – years later she share. Pam laughs at herself, filling in the gaps behind the letters, and adds laugh out loud commentary as she questions this younger version of herself’s motives.
Now married with a child, Pam finds “Young Pam” to be at times a little sad, but mostly a strong boy crazy gal struggling to find who she is and who she will be.
To give my thoughts on this particular audio book I think I need to break it down.
Why I listened to this audiobook: I enjoy memoirs that are read by the author. While I admit I had not heard of Pam Ribon (remember at times I do feel like I live under a rock), I thought the synopsis of this one sounded interesting. After listening to the audible sample, I enjoyed Pam’s fast talking fun way of narrating and her occasional cracking herself up.
What I liked: Pam is a fast talking funny gal. Impressively so… how she doesn’t stumble on her words sometimes is a wonder. Her stories in most cases are pretty funny. Tiny warning: occasionally a bit raunchy. I enjoyed that to “protect the innocent” each of the boys she wrote about had an alias such as “Holly Hunter Boy” (the boy she watched Broadcast News with) and “Super Mario Brothers Boy.” She has a quick wit and I liked how she would rabbit trail while reading but never to the point that I was lost.
What I didn’t like: While there are a couple of moments in the book/audio where Pam shares some deeply personal and painful past happenings, it almost doesn’t fit with this style of book. Her funny moments are so over the top funny that when she switches gears to share something serious it is like a record scratching. In most cases this works in memoirs and would have if the letters were not so funny and her narration is so over the top fun that the sad parts were a bit “oh… OH… she is serious here.” I also have to mention the volume of her narration. At times Pam becomes very loud even shouting and for me, at one point I was listening in the living room after Hubby had gone to bed and I had to keep adjusting the volume lower for when she became loud and turn it up when she spoke softly. The same thing happened when I was mowing the lawn and had ear buds in – the volume had to be adjusted so I didn’t hurt my ears when she shouted (and she really shouts!)
Overall: Pam does do a great job at narration and most of the letters are quite funny. I had to imagine what kind of girl writes long letters to boys and makes copies? Then I reminded myself that I am the girl who wrote poetry about EVERYTHING (boys included and one about socks too..and placed my poems in photo albums. (Remember old school photo albums with that sticky top layer? Yes – those.) I recommend giving the audio sample a listen. I think in book format this would come off well, however if this sounds like your kind of listen, even with the volume adjustments, this is a unique listen that reminded me a bit of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson.