Audiobook review: Roar by Cecelia Ahern

Cecelia Ahern


I’m not sure how to review a book like this. It’s a collection of thirty feminist fables, with titles that all begin with “The Woman Who…” The author addresses many of the challenges women of many ages face, mostly dealing with identity and self-worth. Some of them are coping with not being “seen” or taken seriously, or being treated as possessions. Some are mothers in crisis, who rush around with their young children. Others are young professionals, feeling suppressed by their male colleagues.

I listened to the audiobook version, which was narrated by three women. I would not call this a relaxing experience. The stories are combative and aggressive and I felt as if the message for most had a very “us against them” approach. The exceptions were some I did enjoy, including “The Woman Who Thought Her Mirror Was Broken,” “The Woman Who Forgot Her Name,” and “The Woman Who Walked in Her Husband’s Shoes.” I liked these because there was better resolution and understanding between the men and women in the stories. Although Ahern uses exaggerated metaphors to make her points (women disappearing, unraveling, being eaten up by guilt), these three fables were more relatable.

Many of the stories, at least in the audio version, have such an angry and staccato tone to them that I grew tired of the message, despite its worth. I think this collection, 289 pages in print and an eight-and-a-half-hour listen, would have been better if it was shorter.

Perhaps these stories were just not for me. There seems to be an equal measure of critical and positive talk online. I’m sharing several bloggers’ positive opinions here so you can decide for yourself:

Bookshelf Fantasies
Emma R

Have you read Roar? What did you think?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

16 thoughts on “Audiobook review: Roar by Cecelia Ahern

  1. I’m just reading this now! Whilst I appreciate the concept and the vast array of mini stories, I don’t have that feeling of being desperate to pick up the book. The jury is out I suppose! Hope you’re well Book Club Mom xx

    1. What a coincidence! I’d be interested in your opinion when you finish. Maybe it’s more for a younger woman, who’s in the midst of job and relationship decisions. I don’t know. Some of the stories resonated with me (or my memories) but I think the audio format took away from my enjoyment. Thanks for reading and commenting – hope you’re making your way through grading all those papers and tests! 🙂

      1. I will absolutely let you know. Maybe you’re right but I’m sure there’s other reasons for it. I’m only about a third of the way through so what do I know at this stage. Hope you’re well x

  2. I never read audio books, though my husband “reads” them exclusively. Like you, I think I would have trouble with a strident tone, both in content and in delivery of words.

    1. Hi Marian – I try to listen to books every now and then because one of my new responsibilities at my library job is to purchase audiobooks for our collection. So I like to know what’s out there. But I almost always listen while I’m walking, where my aim is to relax. This one was too fired-up for that! Oh well. Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

  3. I try to listen to a sample of an audiobook before downloading … just in case. Are you getting your books through Audible? The narrator can definitely make a good book sound bad, but she can also make a bad book sound good. That’s the tricky thing about audiobooks. I’ve been listening to audiobooks since 2001 and over the years I’ve learned that, for me, some books are simply not meant to be read out loud. The way you describe the narration of Roar makes it sound like one of those books. I’ve had to grit my teeth to get through some audiobooks just so I could say I finished. Roar sounds like an interesting collection of short stories but one that I might prefer to read quietly to myself. That would be one way to temper the strident tone of some of the stories.

    1. Hi Marie – I checked it out from the library, and the audio was presented by Hachette. I think Roar would be better in print. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Personally, I prefer books that are character driven, and have the message just subtly woven throughout the story. Otherwise, the books can feel too angry, too false, and/or too much like a lecture. Even though I’m certainly a feminist, I don’t think I would enjoy this book either.

    1. I feel the same way, Ann. I mean, who can argue with being recognized and understood? I didn’t relate to many, though I thought others made valid points, but the audio presentation made it tough for me. I guess I’m at a point where I don’t need a lecture – that’s the good part about getting older! Thanks for the visit, Ann 🙂

  5. Interesting take! I wonder how I’d have felt if I’d listened to the audiobook rather than reading the print version. I have a feeling I wouldn’t have liked it as much — the tone and narration have such a strong impact. Thanks for the mention! While I enjoyed the book quite a bit, I can see how listening might be a bit much.

    1. Hi Lisa – yes, I wonder. I don’t know if you read Roar all at once or if you spaced it out. I think regardless of print or audio, these stories are better a few at a time. I listened to several stories each time. I thought some were good, but by the end, I felt like the narrators were yelling at me and so it detracted from the stories. It was a very loud narration! Thanks for stopping by – on to the next book!

      1. I did read Roar all in a rush, but I agree that I probably would have been better off reading them in smaller helpings. (I’m terrible at sticking with short stories, so I tend to rush through them all for fear that I’ll lose interest and never finish the book otherwise.)

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