Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Rene Gutteridge's Listen ~ Reviewed

By Rene Gutteridge
Published by: Tyndale
ISBN# 978-1-74143-2433-3
432 Pages

Back Cover:

Nothing ever happens in the small town of Marlo . . . until the residents begin seeing their private conversations posted online for everyone to read. Then its neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend, as paranoia and violence escalate. The police scramble to identify the person responsible for the posts and pull the plug on the Website before it destroys the town. But what responsibility do the people of the town have for the words they say when they think no one is listening? Life and death are in the power of the tongue.


One of Rene’s characters says, “Do the words we speak have any power over us...or someone else?”

In the book of James, found in the bible it states--(words) “the tongue is but a tiny spark that can set a great forest on fire.” Do words really have that much power? Read Listen, for your answer. The city of Marlo was the ideal place to live. It was a place where “society and family joined in marriage. It was safe enough for kids to play in the front yard, clean enough, you could get top dollar for your real estate.” Words changed this little town forever in the most interesting and scary way!

Rene Gutteridge has penned a modern day story depicting the ramifications of words! Reading the effect is staggering! Words spoken in private become public. How? Through a website called The town is coming undone from the inside out as private conversations are made public each day.

Renee made me really ponder the effect of words. How they affect everyone we meet. I think about words flying out of my mouth differently since I’ve read this book. Words I’ve spoken to my children, husband, co-workers...even people I don’t know.

I loved reading about, and was a little horrified to discover, the latest computer gadgets and what they can do. Trust is a huge factor when using the internet and interacting with others. How do we keep each other accountable? Renee touches on this subject too.

Words can be like a worm-virus—eating away at people and the very heart of this once calm, peaceful, loving town! Can anything be done to save it and the families that live there? Not only is the message of this book powerful, Rene, weaves quite the suspenseful, page turning story you’ll stay up late reading to find out who done it? Why? Listen is a keeper! Never underestimate the power of words. This book is a must read. I am received a review copy.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
ACFW Book Club Coordinator

Bonus Review:

I've previously read books by Rene Gutteridge and they have been lighthearted and fun. Listen is darker in tone and more thought-provoking over entertaining.

The story starts out with a character preparing to hang herself for something she overheard. And it ends with a forever changed cast of characters.

Marlo is a typical smallish town where everyone has strong opinions and most folks know each other including the skeletons in the closet. Suddenly, a blog pops up that shares verbatim and anonymous conversations. Just the words as said without identification of the speaker, people know though, or guess based on the words spoken. Paranoia flips the town upside-down and inside-out.

I found myself horrified at the turn of events and convicted about the words I say. And I found myself unable to put the book down. Horror of a different kind, no ghosts, no monsters and the resolution didn't turn out to be a bad guy wearing a sheet.

Recommended for those who don't mind being disturbed by their fiction.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

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