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Audiobook Review

A Calling for Charlie Barnes

Joshua Ferris
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average rating is 4 out of 5
average rating is 3 out of 5

Excellent, Unforgettable, Best of the nest

Very good, thoroughly enjoyed, 

Good, Solid, Enjoyed many aspects


Combine a bit of Shameless, some Modern Family and a touch of The Royal Tenenbaums with a soupçon of sadness.


💛 Tongue-in-cheek with shades of subtly dark humour, the tone of this book was well within my wheelhouse. Likewise, the themes of family and belonging and that little matter of the meaning of life, all fascinating.
💙 There was so much brilliant about this, but I couldn’t connect with the characters – not even Charlie - and I struggled with the conclusions reached, particularly as regards second chances and wiping out mistakes.
💚 In conclusion, it’s not you, Mr Ferris. It’s me.

Big thanks to Hachette Audio, Little, Brown & Company and NetGalley for providing me with an ALC in return for an honest review.


🎧 Nick Offerman was a fantastic guide to the life of Charlie Barnes. The fun, the irony, the absurdity and the sadness, it all came through loud and clear.

🎧 A quick note on chapters. This is an 11.5 hour-listen, split into nine parts (other than the intro/outro). As someone who like to relisten to parts, I found this too few to allow for quick navigation.


No spoilers for this one. Maybe next time!
Click For Spoilers

A Calling for Charlie Barnes


Someone is telling the story of the life of Charlie Barnes, and it doesn't appear to be going well. Too often divorced, discontent with life's compromises and in a house he hates, this lifelong schemer and eternal romantic would like out of his present circumstances and into the American dream. But when the twin calamities of the Great Recession and a cancer scare come along to compound his troubles, his dreams dwindle further, and an infinite past full of forking paths quickly tapers to a black dot.

Then, against all odds, something goes right for a change: Charlie is granted a second act. With help from his storyteller son, he surveys the facts of his life and finds his true calling where he least expects it—in a sacrifice that redounds with selflessness and love—at last becoming the man his son always knew he could be.

The new book by the acclaimed author Joshua Ferris, narrated by the beloved actor Nick Offerman, is a profound and tender portrait of a man whose desperate need to be loved is his downfall, and a brutally funny account of how that love is ultimately earned.
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