Customer Reviews for

She

Average Rating 3.5
( 25 )
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(8)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2001

    Well-Acted and Produced Abridged Audio Cassette Version

    Let me make it clear that I am reviewing the abridged audio cassette version of She that was recorded by the Caedmon Players and in which Kathleen Turner plays the role of She. I usually try to avoid abridged audio cassette versions of novels. Having read the original and found it to be slow going, it occurred to me that this might be an improvement with She. And that was a correct assumption. Victorian adventure novels often got bogged down in descriptive detail that made them serve a secondary purpose as travelogues. She fits into that model rather nicely with great amounts of detail about the imaginary African tribe of the Amahaggers. Pared down, the Amahaggers enhance the main story in this version. The book opens as Horace Holly's dying friend begs Horace to take on the task of raising the friend's five-year-old son and preparing him for a challenge when he becomes twenty-five. Since Horace is an honest, hard-working sort and the position pays well, it is an easy decision. Horace and the boy, Leo, quickly become close, and Leo treats him like a favorite uncle. On Leo's twenty-fifth birthday, they open a mysterious chest that Leo's father has left in Horace's care. Eventually, this reveals an ancient story from Leo's family written on a potshard. On the potshard, there seems to be information about the potential for discovering the secret of eternal life. This requires a trek to Africa. Along the way, Leo falls gravely ill but they are rescued by the Amahaggers who have ordered by She-who-is-to-be-obeyed not to hurt them. The rest of the story unweaves the fantasy tale of how the 2,000 year old Ayesha, She-who-is-to-be-obeyed, became connected to Leo's family. Ayesha is a little out of date in her preferences, still being an Egyptian-style autocrat with a taste for the macabre. I wouldn't have gone out with her on a second date myself, no matter how beautiful she was. The Gloria Swanson role in Sunset Boulevard is evoked in She. The recording made me feel young again. I remember listening to radio stories like this one as a child (yes, I'm a pre-television-aged person). The sound effects and music are terrific, and add greatly to the performance. Ms. Turner is very electric as She. She has the same alluring vocal quality that made her irresistible in Body Heat. The only jarring note was that I had not expected the Egyptian temptress, Ayesha, to have a distinctly Southern accent. But I soon got over that. The story is an interesting one, because it builds around the potential of having a world in which women rule by right. That theme was most appropriate for Queen Victoria's time, and the novel considers the Amahaggers, She, and Queen Victoria as alternative models of female leadership. Because of our current enthusiasm for equal opportunity for the sexes, the book is more contemporary in its social commentary than you might think. I saw a parallel in She's overwhelming impact on men to the tragedies that often befall female movie stars who have similar appeals, such as Marilyn Monroe. Clearly, the message that emerges is that a balance between women and men is better than either the male or the female dominated society. A good thing to think about a

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted February 15, 2011

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    Posted February 17, 2011

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