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This is a harsh look at an agricultural Midwestern University amuzingly named “Moo. ” The dull, sad lives of the people who populate the campus are caricatures of people some of us have known in our own experiences going to college in the Midwest. There are too many characters to get to really know them, allowing them all to come off as silly rather than amusing. The plot skips around from one to the other, and given Jane Smiley’s long protracted sentences, the whole story is an effort to follow. The experiment with the captive Landrace boar named “Earl Butz” (whose point of view we also see) is the only misfortune that earned my sympathy. Check it out!
Unabridged audiobook on 14 Compact Discs. Running time 16 hours, 15 minutes.
Moo Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged by Jane Smiley (Author) Review
Because I grew up on an agricultural college campus where my father was a department head deeply involved in campus and state government, I loved reading "MOO". I knew people to match every single character, including Earl Butz, the pig. The satire was so true to life — and explained so many things I only half understood as someone in grade school and junior and senior high school — that I’m surprised someone in Ames didn’t sue Jane Smiley for libel. My husband, on the other hand, couldn’t understand what I was laughing about, even when I read sections aloud to him. I guess this requires a special reading audience to truly appreciate the competition, levels of power, and irony so I took off a star from my previous rating. I kept a list of many of her metaphors and am using them a poem and short stories. They are priceless. Finally, I must thank the reviewer who only gave this one star and explained why the disjointed vignettes, multiple characters, and no real story line disturbed him. All those characteristics were common at my family’s supper table and were exactly why I picked up the book from a used bookstore. -Read Reviews-
I was actually angry when I finished it–both because the story progressed like a stone falling to ground (utterly, completely, painfully predictable) and because every character made every decision not out of internal logic but because the "plot" demanded they do so. Every character introduced is a single note, no one grows, learns, or changes, and you can tell what’s going to happen in the first few chapters. I absolutely hated everything about this book. Well, that’s not fair–I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. Everything else, though, was garbage.