The Dragons, the Giant, the Women by Wayétu Moore [in Booklist]
Wayétu Moore is the first to speak, although only briefly, to share her initial excitement over the possibility of narrating her elegant memoir. That opportunity, alas, became another “casualty of COVID-19,” preventing her from safe studio time, but she adds a personal thanks to narrator Tovah Ott. Interestingly, Ott might seem like an audiobook newbie with limited credits, but she’s commanded hundreds of titles over the last five years under alternate names.
Ott’s extensive experience certainly explains her agile character transitions, as she ciphers Moore’s affecting memories as a 5-year-old war survivor in her native Liberia with her father and sisters; the miraculous reunion with her beloved Mam, who was a Fulbright scholar at Columbia when the war forced the family to flee; the cultural adjustments as an immigrant in Texas; and her adulthood in Brooklyn, when she begins to examine and confront her past. From disoriented young children to harried adults, rebel fighters to refugees, and an anxious mother and searching daughter, Ott shifts readily, creating diverse personas.
Minor production glitches – a repeated sentence, obvious insertions – are noticeable, but Ott’s performance overall proves deserving of Moore’s gratitude.
Readers: Young Adult, Adult