cover image With Friends Like These

With Friends Like These

Sally Koslow, read by Amanda Ronconi, Brilliance Audio, unabridged, nine CDs, 10 hrs., $29.99 ISBN 978-1-4233-8548-6

Koslow's novel—a pleasant if unremarkable story of four friends navigating marriage, careers, and friendship—is elevated by Amanda Ronconi's witty and engaging performance. Ronconi differentiates all the characters, including husbands, children, and relatives; it's always immediately obvious who is speaking, and her highly entertaining narration alone is worth the price of admission. Best of all is her take on sarcastic Staten Islander Jules, whose sharp dialogue combined with Ronconi's perfect timing and delivery is worthy of a standup comedy routine. Also memorable is the voicing of Talia's mother: she's described in the text as having a "Zsa Zsa Gabor accent," and Ronconi delivers. This is a perfect example of how a sparkling audiobook performance can enhance humdrum material. A Ballantine hardcover (Reviews, May 24). (Aug.)